Commissioner Eileen Higgins drives passage of legislation to improve transportation and mobility in Miami-Dade County
MIAMI-DADE – At the May 19 Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Eileen Higgins, District 5, led the passage of critical and long-awaited legislation that furthers her commitment to improve transportation and mobility across Miami-Dade County for residents, workers, and visitors.
“The County has endless transportation needs including mass transit options, improved transit rider experience, and traffic solutions. Yesterday, the Board stepped up and made critical progress on all three fronts,” said Commissioner Higgins.
First, the County took a critical step forward on the Beach Corridor project – an elevated, rapid-transit line connecting Miami and Miami Beach across the Bay that has been discussed for decades.
Following receipt of an unsolicited proposal in 2019, the County proceeded with a competitive process to solicit other bids. Although the County only received one bid, Commissioner Higgins believes the County must study the proposal and determine whether to award the contract for this much-needed project.
After much discussion, Commissioner Higgins made a motion to proceed with the evaluation and negotiation process, and her colleagues agreed. The administration will now proceed with the proposal’s evaluation and negotiation, and if an agreement is reached, to bring that agreement back to the Board for approval.
Commissioner Higgins said, “As Commissioner I have been consistent on my promise to get people moving. After decades of talking about the Beach Corridor, I am resolute in my belief that now is the time for an elevated transit solution across the Bay. The Beach Corridor is a critical project for our workers, residents, visitors and economy, and it is our duty to study the proposal and determine if it is a good deal for the residents of Miami-Dade.”
Bus Shelter Program
Second, the Board finally approved a contract to provide over 300 new bus shelters across the County – as well as maintaining and keeping the new and old shelters clean.
“One of the biggest complaints about riding transit – and deterrents to increased ridership – is the lack of safe and clean bus shelters. Making residents feel protected from the elements and from cars is crucial to improving our transit system,” said Higgins. “Providing more shelters and improving bus routes county-wide through approval of the Better Bus Project is critical to increasing ridership across the County.”
While this item covers only the unincorporated areas, Commissioner Higgins will continue to work with cities in her district to increase the number of bus shelters.
Advanced Traffic Management System
Lastly, the Board also approved the award of a contract for an Advanced Traffic Management System, an intelligent software and hardware program to coordinate signal timing changes county-wide.
This procurement was caught up for years in special interest battles, and yesterday the Commissioner said enough is enough – she made the motion to award the contract to finally get this project going and start putting residents to work.
This project will dramatically improve travel times, as well as pedestrian and bicycle mobility. The equipment will also sense when bikes and pedestrians are waiting to cross – all using sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence and data-processing technology.
The winning proposal was $86 million cheaper than the next bidder. The project will use local contractors for the installation, creating new local jobs on top of the mobility improvements.