The Baylink task force, the committee of South Florida government leaders taked with planning the Miami-Miami Beach rail link might not pursue an environmental impact study for now because that study would take four years, and instead want to separately study light rail in each city, with a cross-bay linkage happening in the future. This could speed up the timeline for Baylink, although there are some pretty big caveats. The idea is that the study could "over-think this thing to death", as Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine says, even though that study could potentially lead to the Federal Government picking up half the tab. The lack of a study could also seriously limit the possibility of forming a public-private partnership that might also help pay for it. They'll decide whether or not to do the study in 90 days.
The projected cost of the full Baylink is $532 million, about the same price as the current Miami Beach Convention Center redevelopment, which is something Levine found the money for really easily. It's also about the price of five big condo towers, at about $100 million each. $532 million seems like a lot, but really, it's not, and Baylink will inarguably have a huge economic impact. Perhaps finally they'll just get 'er done.
· Bay Link Group Balks at Study [Miami Herald]
· Baylink coverage [Curbed Miami]