A History of the Half Penny

The People’s Transportation Plan was approved in 2002. Since then it has collected almost $3 Billion, with very little to show for it.

On November 5th, 2002, county voters chose to implement a 1/2 Cent Charter County Sales surtax called the People’s Transportation Plan (PTP). This plan lists improvements including expanding the bus fleet, subsidies to municipalities for “circulators” which will later be known as trolleys, and 5 Rapid Transit Corridors (i.e. The Smart Plan). The plan also created the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) to administer the plan, made up of a citizen board.

Since its inception in Jan 2003, the PTP has collected almost $3 billion (~$200 million / year over 15 years). The most impactful projects that they have funded include:

$375 Million for New MetroRail Cars

$480 Million for the Orange Line MetroRail Connection to MIA

$79 Million for New MetroMover Cars

Creation of the Golden Passport Program, giving free transit to Senior, differently abled and veteran residents.

Traffic calming, smart traffic lights, and general roadway improvement.

Trolley Systems subsidized in 27 municipalities including Miami, Hialeah, and Miami Beach.

A designated 20% of the funds collected are designated to the municipalities based on population which have gone to the trolley systems or for traffic calming measures (traffic circles, signs, etc). Around 10% have gone to roadway improvement projects, and the remaining 70% should be working to expand our transit service.

While the ballot language begins with “Plans to Build Rapid Transit lines to West Dade, Kendall, Florida City, Miami Beach, and North Dade,” not one of those lines has been built. In fact, today we feel further from that goal than ever before, and are told that in order to expand the SMART plan federal dollars must be solicited, while in reality, the true impediment is a lack of leadership.

County commission continues to use PTP dollars to support routine maintenance and fleet replacement, instead of the bold projects its supporters voted in favor of. On the PTP website, its “active projects” list includes a Park and Ride Center in South Dade, and a Multi-Modal center in Golden Glades. It’s “inactive projects” list includes the entire SMART Plan.

Citizens Independent Transportation Trust Meeting

The CITT that manages the funds has taken a stance to support no new roadway projects, however the proposals from the Department of Public Works and Transportation simply are not in line with the original vision for the PTP. 17 years ago, voters asked for an expanded rapid transit system, and they have not received it after spending $3 billion.

Last month, the CITT approved $76 million for Virgin Trains to build Aventura Station, while calling the service cost “out of reach for most commuters.” As long as the proposals, the funding, and the planning are all separately administered, real action, long term planning, and improvement will never come to Miami Dade County.


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Sources:

Municipalities doing great things with half-penny transportation tax

https://www.miamidade.gov/citt/financial-reports.asp

https://www.miamidade.gov/citt/library/15-years-of-progress-book.pdf

http://www.miamidadetpo.org/smartplan.asp