Southeast Florida is growing

by 1,000 residents per week. As it is today, our transportation system is imbalanced and bursting at the seams.

Our economy is losing BILLIONS of dollars annually due to congestion.

The lack of well-connected transportation options impacts residents’ access to jobs, visitors’ access to local attractions and ultimately deters businesses locating to South Florida.

In these unparalleled times of pandemics and climate-fueled disasters, we must have a sense of urgency to transition our future to be more economically and environmentally resilient.

Other regions have responded to similar challenges, and in return, have experienced significant economic growth and a better quality of life simultaneously. We deserve the same.

This is our call to action to connect our transportation and land-use planning and to create higher returns on investments for our economy and society.

There is a solution to this puzzle, but it isn’t wider roads. It’s a different system.

Stronger Mobility for an Exceptional and Equitable Economy

The Southeast Florida Regional Transportation Plan includes a regionally connected, high-capacity transit system (such as rail transit or Bus Rapid Transit) that appropriately serves the needs identified in the adopted 2045 Metropolitan and Long Range Transportation Plan for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. It is comprised of 625 miles of high-capacity transit service and 1,170 miles of express bus service with nearly 1,160 stations, increasing access to jobs by five-fold. This new potential future will transform our region's economic competitiveness, and our quality of life and freedom of upward mobility.

Mobility Access = Upward Mobility


Creating modern mobility policies will lay the foundation needed to improve access and equity and move people freely throughout Southeast Florida. The following priorities were identified for new or improved policies.

Regional transit is key to support anticipated growth and long-term mobility

Passengers loading Regional Tri-Rail Train
Outdoor Scene Patrons at Restaurant

In 2018, drivers in the Miami urban area lost up to 105 hours in traffic annually1 which cost our region $4 billion with an annual cost to drivers of $1,470. This will only worsen as Southeast Florida is projected to grow by over 50,000 people per year resulting in a 30% increase in population by 2045. Currently, the most prominent way to travel is by individual automobiles which significantly limits the number of people we can move. We must expand and improve first/last mile connections and high-capacity public transportation to move people and to provide increased access to 21st century jobs and critical destinations for all.

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Investing in a regionally connected, high-capacity transit system will more than double the amount of access our residents have to places and destinations. Our youth, commuters, seniors, visitors, and businesses need the choices and upward mobility potential that this future system would bring. Taking public transportation instead of owning a second vehicle can save (on average) more than $9,823 a year, and for those who ride instead of driving the primary vehicle, can save individuals a significant amount of money each month in avoided gas, maintenance, parking, and other expenses2. To put this in perspective, forgoing one vehicle in a household affords a family approximately an additional $75,000 in mortgage capacity.

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A regionally connected, high-capacity transit system is needed to change Southeast Florida’s economic and mobility future and move the number of people we are anticipating. Demand for auto travel will continue to increase with limited opportunities for roadway expansion. Implementing a high-capacity transit system will provide Southeast Floridians with more reliable and lower cost transportation options. Safe, complete, and well-connected first/last mile choices are needed to support the high-capacity transit system.

Passengers Loading Metrorail Train
Clean Energy Man on a Bike

Land use drives many of our transportation outcomes

Moving people not only means getting them to and from their destinations, it can also equate to reducing the distance between destinations. To move more people within the same amount of space requires complementary land use, adjacent businesses and services, and first/last mile connections to maximize its value. Transit-Oriented Development not only generates ridership to reduce congestion but eliminates the need for many trips and shows large economic benefits. For example, since 2005, more than 300 development projects along the Phoenix Valley Metro light rail line have attracted a total of $10.1 billion of public (25%) and private (75%) investment to the area, 15% job growth, and 20% personal income per-capita growth3 plus environmental and social benefits.

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planning at table

We have predominantly developed and designed our region around moving and storing cars. This mid-20th century suburban approach to land use and transportation is not sustainable in a twenty-first century economy. By not developing our land with a higher density, smart-growth4 approach we lose the opportunity to save 38% on upfront infrastructure costs; reduce the cost of ongoing services like water, electric, and essential emergency services by a minimum of 10%; and to generate 10 times more tax revenue per acre5.

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Land use that complements transportation investment is essential for sustainability. A regionally connected, high-capacity transit system will not be successful without coordinated, adjacent land use. A majority of new development and redevelopment should occur around existing and future high-capacity transit routes. Complementary land uses also make short walk/bike trips possible and further reduce the need for motorized transportation. This also reduces the need for structured parking, resulting in fewer car trips, less congestion and pollution, and lower costs for developers, businesses and residents.

We need to invest in a system with options, and then measure our success regularly

Measuring Plans at Table

Restricted Funding

In the adopted 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, transit made up 100% of the region’s highest priority unfunded transportation projects. In terms of what was funded, only 31% of transit needs were funded, whereas 83% of roadway needs were funded. This trend of funding roadway needs more so than transit needs also occurred in the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan. This imbalance is related to restrictions on uses of our current revenue for highway capacity projects. Although the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan shifts more funding to transit, it is still not the balance needed to meet Southeast Florida’s anticipated growth. We need more flexibility to use our revenues for a regionally connected, high capacity transit system consistent with Southeast Florida’s urban context. This shift in our current business model is critical to implement our citizens' and businesses' priorities.

Lady walking dog down sidewalk daytime

Funding Shortfall

The cost to build, maintain and operate the regionally connected, high-capacity transit system needed to move 7.5 million people, exceeds the current funding available by $10 billion. Existing sources alone cannot fulfill the transportation system our urbanized area’s economy and environment needs to be prosperous and resilient in a time of rapidly changing demographics and need.

Shifting Existing Resources to Transit

In 2016, US state and local governments spent $175 billion on highways and roads, making it the 6th largest source of direct general spending6. Adjusting current spending practices in Southeast Florida would create a $9 billion investment opportunity for transit. This shift would provide decision makers more flexibility in building higher capacity transit systems within the same public space, while choosing projects with significantly higher returns on investment when looking at a standard 30-year lifecycle.

New Revenue Sources

To build our 21st century transportation system, we all need to invest in it (Federal, State and local levels). In Phoenix, Arizona, an initial $2.9 billion public-capital light rail investment (including a local tax voted on by citizens) generated $8.1 billion of private capital investments. High-capacity transit and Transit-Oriented Development will attract business and local financial support. Public-private partnerships and innovative financing must be part of the solution.

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fist in a circle

Creating Flexibility within how our Existing Revenue Resources are Spent is Vital

The current state funding programs are too restrictive and do not allow transit system investments to appropriately serve our rapidly growing urbanized area. Greater flexibility with existing state transportation programs is needed to fund a regionally connected, high-capacity transit system and supporting infrastructure. Each dollar spent on transit will have a greater impact on moving people than each dollar spent on highways. At the same time, operations and maintenance of our highway system must also continue.

New Revenue Sources are Necessary

Our projected funding will not cover the cost of building, operating, and maintaining the desired and needed regionally connected, high-capacity transit system. We will need to seek additional funding sources at all levels (Federal, State, county and local levels) to make our region competitive, connected and successful.

People Walking across the street

It’s time to change our mobility future together.

report covers Southeast Regional Transportation Plan

Final Report Summary

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