Tri-Rail Coastal Link

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the project partners roles and responsibilities?

The roles and responsibilities of the project partners are defined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was adopted in May 2013. The MOU stems from a Southeast Florida Transportation Council (SEFTC) effort that identified the need for an improved process and collaboration to move the project forward. The general framework and content of the MOU was established in November 2012 as part of a grant funded multi-agency transportation workshop in Minneapolis, MN.

Per the MOU, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will oversee the project during its next phase, called Project Development. (The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), will lead the development of a project Finance Plan during this time.) Project Development is anticipated to begin in early 2014 and last for a maximum of two years. After the Project Development phase is completed, SFRTA will be the lead agency responsible for the design, construction, operations and financing of the Tri-Rail Coastal Link.

As part of the MOU, key committees were created to guide the project through implementation. These committees meet regularly, and their meetings are open to the public. They are:

  1. Executive Steering Committee: Initially coordinated by FDOT, the Executive Steering Committee guides and directs the project and serves as a liaison to partner agencies. The Executive Steering Committee meets bi-monthly to discuss project status, issues facing the project and to develop strategies for resolving Project-related challenges. After Project Development is completed, the Executive Steering Committee will be coordinated by SFRTA as the project sponsor. The Sub-Committees report to the Executive Steering Committee.
  2. Financial Sub-Committee: The Financial Sub-Committee, coordinated by the SFRTA, will develop a financial and funding plan for the project, including local contributions.
  3. Technical Sub-Committee: The Technical Sub-Committee, coordinated by the FDOT, will review and discuss the numerous technical operational details of the project.
  4. Public Involvement/Outreach Sub-Committee: The Public Outreach Sub-Committee, coordinated by the Regional Planning Councils (RPCs), will craft and disseminate materials for general public outreach efforts.

South Florida's Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) will play a critical role during all phases of the project. For each new federally funded transportation project, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires that the MPOs approve the type of service and the location of the new service. This is called the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). Additionally, the MPOs decide how each county spends its transportation funds in a document called the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), which they approve every five years. The LPA for the Tri-Rail Coastal Link service will need to be approved by the MPOs. The Tri-Rail Coastal Link service will also need to be included in the LRTP.

Florida East Coast Industries has initiated planning for All Aboard Florida, a proposed intercity passenger rail service along the Florida East Coast tracks stopping in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando. This effort is being led by the private sector, and their team has closely collaborated with the Tri-Rail Coastal Link Project Partners. While complimentary, this project is different from the local passenger commuter rail service that will be provided by the Tri-Rail Coastal Link and has far fewer stops.

What is Tri-Rail Coastal link and how does it differ from existing service? Where will additional stations be located?

The Tri-Rail Coastal Link will be new passenger rail service along 85 miles of the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway that will be fully integrated with the existing Tri-Rail service. The project will result in an expanded Tri-Rail system that will connect the traditional downtowns and redevelopment areas of numerous communities between Miami and Jupiter. Currently, there are up to 28 new Tri-Rail Coastal Link stations being considered, with new or rebuilt rail connections between the FEC and CSX rail corridors proposed in Miami, Pompano Beach, and West Palm Beach. While phasing is being considered, the intent of the project is to provide regional service in all three counties. Projected System Map.

What will the new trains look like?

New cab cars have been arriving at the SFRTA rail yard in Hialeah. The first of the new locomotives arrived there in August, 2013.

How long will it be before Tri-Rail Coastal Link is operational?

A formal development process is being followed, which will allow for the project to be implemented within 5-7 years. In the meantime, the Tri-Rail Coastal Link project team is working with public and private sector partners to find ways to begin service even earlier.

Project Development is the next step in the process. It is anticipated that the request to enter into project development will be submitted to the FTA in early 2014. According to Federal regulations, Project Development is to be completed within two years.

What are the expected benefits to the region?

The anticipated benefits from Tri-Rail Coastal Link service are numerous. A fully integrated service will create 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, and increases mobility choices for employees, residents, and visitors. In a snapshot, the Tri-Rail Coastal Link service will provide:

Economic Benefits:
  • $580 million in new residential development
  • $850 million in new commercial development
  • $18 million in tax revenue from new development
  • 5,000 new construction jobs
  • $250 million in labor income
  • $630 million in overall economic output
  • 28,000 new permanent jobs
Transportation Benefits:
  • $140 million in time savings
  • $12 million in fuel savings
  • $11 million in vehicle operating savings
Environmental Benefits:
  • 2,300 tons of annual CO2 reduction per year
What is currently being done to facilitate the implementation of the Tri-Rail Coastal Link service?

Local communities have taken numerous steps over the years to prepare for future Tri-Rail Coastal Link service. Many communities have adopted supportive land use and redevelopment plans. Some communities with community redevelopment areas (CRAs) and downtown development authorities (DDAs) have already worked with local landowners on a variety of strategies to support both redevelopment and parking in support of future Tri-Rail Coastal Link service.

SFRTA is well prepared for the new Tri-Rail Coastal Link train service.

  • The existing operational and management structure can be used to operate the new service. Existing operating contracts can be expanded as the current service increases.
  • SFRTA's existing trains can be used for the new Tri-Rail Coastal Link service. Additional trains have been ordered and will provide enough capacity to operate the new service.
  • SFRTA's Hialeah Yard has been retrofitted to accommodate more trains.
  • SFRTA has studied the need for a new northern layover facility in the north end of the region, and is actively seeking funding for design and construction of the facility.
  • SFRTA has taken its role in development of the Tri-Rail Coastal Link Finance Plan seriously, and efforts are well underway to develop a comprehensive and realistic financial strategy to operate and construct the new service.
How will you reduce the noise impact created by the new service?

Please visit the quiet zone section of our website for a full discussion of regional efforts to reduce the noise impact created by the new service.