Why should my municipality support the Fast Start Plan for Tri-Rail Coastal Service?
How does the Fast Start Plan differ from the South Florida East Coast Corridor (SFECC) Study?
When would an Agreement between SFRTA and each Municipality need to be executed?
How much is a municipality expected to provide in local funding?
How much service is being proposed and when would service start?
Will station areas from the SFECC Study be used? Is there flexibility in station location areas? How will station
areas be selected if multiple station areas were proposed per municipality?
What amenities and features would be included in a station?
Will any steps be taken to alleviate train noise?
Will any streets or grade crossings have to be closed?
Will SFRTA assist in providing information on potential local funding/value capture methods?
Will the FEC Railway allow Tri-Rail Coastal Service to be implemented on its corridor with existing freight service?
Is there sufficient right-of-way in the FEC Railway to implement the Fast Start Plan or will property acquisition be required?
What are the next steps to move the Fast Start Plan forward?
What can my municipality do to help?
1. Why should my municipality support the Fast Start Plan for Tri-Rail Coastal Service?
2. How does the Fast Start Plan differ from the South Florida East Coast Corridor (SFECC) Study?
- Expands and accelerates economic opportunities and development
- Creates new employment opportunities – short-term construction jobs and long-term employment
- Furthers economic sustainability
- Increases municipal tax base
- Implements long-awaited passenger rail service on the FEC Railway
- Increases mobility choices for employees, residents and visitors
- The SFECC Study has been evaluating new transit service in the FEC Railway Corridor since 2005. Many years of further
SFECC Study are proposed, with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recently announcing its intent to pursue
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts Funding to build the project. This approach will result in another
seven or more years before any new FEC passenger rail service would open to the public. The SFECC Study’s proposed
regional rail master plan (completed in 2010) offers great mobility and economic development benefits for the long-term,
with a very high level of passenger rail service. However, the SFECC Study anticipates an estimated capital cost of
$2.5 billion, with projected annual operating costs in the range of $177 – $203 million. No funding sources have been
identified to cover the full operating costs for such a high level of service.
- The SFRTA Fast Start Plan proposes an accelerated approach that leverages decades of investment in the existing
Tri-Rail system and can be implemented in a three to five year timeframe. By using state funds for capital costs, and
local and regional funds for operating costs, the lengthy Federal New Starts process can be skipped and new service can
be implemented quickly. The Fast Start Plan consists of a regional service with a limited number of stations, with total
(one-time) capital costs estimated to be $270 million, and annual operating costs estimated to be $15 million.
Development of additional service and stations on the FEC can and will be pursued after the initial Fast Start Plan is
3. When would an Agreement between SFRTA and each Municipality need to be executed?
- The Fast Start Plan is a collaborative effort that is based on a long-term partnership between each municipality
and SFRTA. In order to implement passenger service on the FEC corridor within three to five years, SFRTA will
seek long-term partnership agreements with each municipality by early 2013.
4. How much is a municipality expected to provide in local funding?
- Under the Fast Start Plan, no capital cost contributions are required from a municipality for the service to begin.
- Each municipality with a proposed station will be expected to contribute an annual station premium towards the operating
cost of the new Tri-Rail Coastal Service.
- The amount of the annual contribution will vary depending on the number of trains
that serve each station. Initial project cost estimates suggest annual costs could range from $350,000 to $550,000 per
station, depending on the amount of service a station receives.
- It is expected that stations receiving 50 or more trains would be assessed the full annual premium, while stations
receiving fewer than 50 trains would have a lower pro-rated share of costs.
- If more than one station is located within a municipality, the municipality may be expected to pay the premium
for each station.
5. How much service is being proposed and when would service start?
6. Will station areas from the SFECC Study be used? Is there flexibility in station location areas? How will station
areas be selected if multiple station areas were proposed per municipality?
- It is anticipated that Tri-Rail Coastal Service will be in operation within three to five years providing four attractive
service options for passengers:
- Blue Line - Mangonia Park to Downtown Miami, combining existing Tri-Rail service in Palm Beach County and northern Broward County with new direct access to major destinations on the FEC. This service is possible via an east-west rail connection in Pompano Beach. The Blue Line would operate 24 trains per weekday.
- Green Line - Downtown Fort Lauderdale and Downtown Miami on the FEC tracks, adding service along an anticipated high ridership segment of the corridor. Green Line service would operate 24 trains per weekday.
- Red Line - Jupiter to Downtown Miami, providing regional access to all three counties along the FEC tracks. Red Line service would operate 6 trains per weekday.
- Orange Line - Mangonia Park to Miami International Airport, following the route of current Tri-Rail service on the South Florida Rail Corridor (a.k.a. CSX or Seaboard). Orange Line service would operate 26 trains per weekday.
- This network of proposed services would operate seven days a week, including major holidays.
- Station area planning efforts previously conducted as part of the SFECC Study will be used to the fullest extent possible. Due to the desire to implement service quickly and balance costs, the number of stations will be more limited than shown in the SFECC’s Study’s master plan.
- SFRTA will work with each municipality to determine the locally preferred station location for inclusion in the Fast Start Plan.
- If multiple station areas per municipality were identified, SFRTA will work with the municipality to determine which station area would generate the most economic development opportunities while meeting SFRTA’s operational requirements.
7. What amenities and features would be included in a station?
8. Will any steps be taken to alleviate train noise?
- Simply designed stations will be constructed as part of the Fast Start Plan approach. Typical station features include concrete platforms (approximately 500 feet in length) with full overhead canopy coverage, an electronic passenger information system, and ticket vending machines.
- In an attempt to limit right-of-way acquisition and accelerate project implementation, the Fast Start Plan does not include plans to construct park-and-ride areas at proposed stations. SFRTA anticipates working closely with municipalities, CRAs, DDAs, adjacent property owners, and developers to provide parking via strategies such as joint/shared parking opportunities or private sector paid parking.
- Details on circulation for pedestrians, vehicles, and shuttles/buses, will be coordinated specifically with each municipality.
- SFRTA would be responsible for station area maintenance and security.
9. Will any streets or grade crossings have to be closed?
- SFRTA has previously worked with numerous municipalities along the South Florida Rail Corridor to implement quiet zones (allowing for no sounding of train horns). The same approach may be pursued for new Tri-Rail Coastal Service along the FEC corridor.
- The Fast Start Plan would include infrastructure upgrades at existing railroad crossings that would facilitate a municipality’s eligibility for a quiet zone.
- No street or grade crossing closures are anticipated as part of the Fast Start Plan.
10. Will SFRTA assist in providing information on potential local funding/value capture methods?
- SFRTA understands the current fiscal challenges facing municipalities. Accordingly, SFRTA will work closely with each municipality to help identify new and expanded economic opportunities surrounding stations, engage private sector partners, and explore various means for municipalities to capture new revenue. Each station area and municipality has its own unique set of opportunities and challenges, so a “one-size fits all” approach is not realistic. Therefore, SFRTA plans to work with each municipality to identify a menu of numerous value capture strategies that could cover the proposed annual municipal station premiums.
11. Will the FEC Railway allow Tri-Rail Coastal Service to be implemented on its corridor with existing freight service?
- Current FEC Railway ownership has expressed a strong desire for passenger rail service to return to its corridor. There is an ongoing dialogue between representatives of the FEC Railway, SFRTA, and the State regarding the details of implementing passenger rail service. A formal agreement with the FEC Railway would be executed prior to the start of Tri-Rail Coastal Service operations.
Freight trains will continue to operate on the FEC Railway, sharing tracks with passenger service. The Fast Start Plan will provide the benefit of additional railroad capacity on the FEC for both passenger rail and freight service.
12. Is there sufficient right-of-way in the FEC Railway to implement the Fast Start Plan or will property acquisition be required?
- The FEC Railway right-of-way is generally 100 feet in width throughout the corridor, which is sufficient to accommodate an additional railroad track where needed as well as station construction. Some “pinch points” where the FEC right-of-way narrows have been identified as part of the ongoing SFECC study effort. Fortunately, these right-of-way pinch points still allow for two tracks to be built.
- The Fast Start Plan proposes construction to provide two tracks on the FEC Railway between Pompano Beach and downtown Miami.
- Minimal right-of-way acquisition is anticipated to upgrade an existing east-west railroad crossover in Pompano Beach. This east-west rail connection in Pompano Beach would allow Tri-Rail trains to operate on both the FEC and South Florida Rail Corridors.
13. What are the next steps to move the Fast Start Plan forward?
- In early 2012, the SFRTA will meet with senior staff of all municipalities that have initially been identified for Tri-Rail Coastal Service stations.
- Subsequently, SFRTA will work with municipalities at their request to identify economic development potential surrounding the station areas.
- By early 2013, the SFRTA anticipates approval of long-term agreements with each municipality that will have a station. Such an agreement is a critical step towards implementing service within three to five years.
14. What can my municipality do to help?
- Continue collaborating with SFRTA and other transportation partners to accelerate the project and help make Tri-Rail Coastal Service a reality.
- Pass a resolution of support for the Fast Start Plan for Tri-Rail Coastal Service.
- Identify a preferred station location for inclusion in the Fast Start Plan.
- Encourage transit-supportive land development and planning around future station areas.
- Stay informed about project development. To request a presentation for your municipality or organization, please contact Joseph Quinty, SFRTA Project Manager at email@example.com or at 954-788-7928.