As Congress considers legislation to provide coronavirus relief, support job creation and invest in infrastructure, Congresswoman Wilson is calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and leaders of committees with transportation oversight to invest in infrastructure projects like Miami-Dade County’s Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan.
As the letter cites, congestion costs every Miami commuter more than $1,400 and 100 hours annually and costs the region more than $4 billion in economic output. The SMART Plan, which is in the project development and environmental review stage, addresses mobility needs, mass transit growth and expansion, and provides transportation alternatives for residents and businesses, keeping in mind future economic and population growth. The plan also invests in six rapid transit corridors and express bus services that will link to the county’s existing metro-rail system.
“As Congress considers a reauthorization of the expiring Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act and additional stimulus legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I ask that substantial funding be included for transit projects,” the letter reads. “Moreover, these projects should be made eligible to receive funding, including those in the project design and environmental review stage as opposed to only shovel-ready projects as defined by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Allowing for a broader range of projects in the planning and development stages will create more jobs, accelerate economic growth, and expedite their development toward construction and completion.”
The congresswoman also asked for incentives in legislation to help leverage federal, state, and local funding through public/private partnerships and the authorization of pilot programs within the Federal Transit Authority that offer innovative approaches to securing bids.
“One of the best ways Congress can help the nation safely restart the economy, create jobs, and improve climate resiliency is by making long-overdue infrastructure investments. Projects like Miami-Dade County’s SMART Plan will reduce congestion, generate much-needed employment, and pave our path to economic recovery,” Rep. Wilson adds.
At her invitation, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, who chairs the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization, testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on September 11, 2019. Congresswoman Wilson continues to work with Mayor Gilbert and congressional leaders to highlight Miami-Dade’s infrastructure and resiliency challenges and build support robust federal investment.