Posted on November 1, 2016 · Posted in Investments, Land

It’s a small sliver of land but there are outsized plans for the half-acre site immediately east of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The Florida East Coast Industries wants to buy or lease from Broward County the 20-by-860 foot strip of grass for a station — in case the Brightline high-speed passenger train and Tri-Rail eventually connect with the airport. But the county says it may need the narrow site between Perimeter Road and the FEC tracks for its own transportation needs that could include pedestrian, light-rail and other links to the airport.

Planners say the land is key and decisions on what to do with it must be made soon —even though change is years away. With Broward’s population expected to top two million within 10 years, they feel more public transportation options are necessary to relieve traffic congestion.

“The more people we can get into a robust public transit system … the less people we will have on the roadways,” said Broward County Commissioner Tim Ryan, who is chairman of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. “Every square foot counts.”

Among the proposed uses for the property:


Adam Furstein, vice-president of land management for FEC Industries, wants to quickly get possesion of the land to preserve the option of using it for a train station someday that would allow Tri-Rail and Brightline trains to stop at the airport.

“We are 65 percent through construction [of the Brightline service, so] the time to lay tracks is now,” he told county commissioners at their Oct. 18th meeting. Still, he stressed the deal was only to preserve the option of using the land someday and “there is no guarantee” it will ever be built.

Tri-Rail Coastal Link

Once Brightline can use the MiamiCentral train station next year, Tri-Rail commuter trains will be able to cross over from the CSX tracks to travel along the FEC tracks between Miami and Jupiter. That would give commuters a travel option through South Florida‘s larger eastern cities.

The Wave

Broward County is considering using the land to extend Fort Lauderdale‘s planned WAVE streetcar line from downtown to the airport and Port Everglades. This would give residents and tourists another travel link between the city, airport and seaport.

People Mover

The Broward County Aviation Department is expected to unveil its expansion Master Plan within six months. It could include a 200-foot long pedestrian bridge or motorized people-mover between the airport and the proposed train station. Ryan said there are obstacles to all the county plans.

“We have some major, major financial issues that we have to overcome,” Ryan explained.

They include securing federal and local funding, fees for track use, buying and operating trains and stations, and building an estimated $40 million railroad flyover drawbridge across the New River.

Commissioners on Nov. 15 will again take up the issue.


Source: SunSentinel

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