In the third quarter of 2013, Miami-Dade County used about 75% of the half-cent sales tax hike that was originally approved by voters for Metrorail expansion on lots and lots of expenses that it shouldn't be used for, including (most ironically) road construction, according to the most recent quarterly report of the Citizens' Independent Transportation Trust. The CITT, the body tasked with oversight of the implementation of the People's Transportation Plan since 2002, budgeted millions for roadway improvements, a new traffic signal, bus service and scantily-detailed competitive contract awards, in the last quarter alone.
Of about $8 million in spending, about $3.8 million were possibly designated, albeit indirectly, to Metrorail expansion. These included $482,000 for air quality mitigation for the new Orange Line to the airport, $600,000 for "real-time dynamic message signs" at train stations and $2 million "to provide general land and engineering surveying services." The quarterly report says that a new fleet of Metrorail cars is scheduled for delivery in 2019. (They were originally scheduled for 2015) Maybe that's why so little of the transit surtax money seems to be going to trains.
Squandering the surtax on maintenance and overhead isn't new. The promise that the transit tax would go toward better, smarter and (most importantly) more mass transit has not come anywhere near to pass. If it had, a greatly expanded Metrorail system with new lines criss-crossing the county, would be coming to fruition. When voters were presented with the transit tax proposal by ballot in 2002, they were promised 88.9 miles of new Metrorail lines. A dozen years later, only the 2.4 miles connecting the system with Miami International Airport, have been completed, with nothing under construction and practically nothing in the planning stages.
· Citizens Independent Transportation Trust Quarterly Reports [CITT]
· Taken for a ride: how the transit tax went off track [Miami Herald]
· Metrorail coverage [Curbed Miami]