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New Ordinance Proposed to Facilitate Mass Transit in South Florida

Regional mass-transit systems are often plagued by the permitting challenges associated with construction in multiple cities, each with its own priorities, regulations, and permitting processes.  For example, the cost of the first leg of the Los Angeles light rail system skyrocketed due to the design changes demanded by each of the several municipalities the system was required to traverse.  Because the recently proposed expansion of Miami-Dade County’s transit system (the SMART Plan) will similarly traverse multiple jurisdictions, the project would benefit greatly from consolidated permitting and decision making at the regional level.

When constructing the original Metrorail mass-transit system, Miami-Dade County addressed the problem of multiple permitting jurisdictions by adopted the “Rapid Transit Zone” (RTZ), which consolidated zoning and permitting jurisdiction for the entire system within the County.  Bilzin Sumberg’s Stanley Price drafted the original RTZ Ordinance, and recently, Bilzin Sumberg developed and proposed a value recapture concept to assist with funding community assets such as transit projects. Now this week, the Chairman’s Policy Council, a subcommittee of the Board of County Commissioners, will consider a new ordinance  that would ensure that regulatory jurisdiction over the SMART Plan corridors remains with Miami-Dade County, even for areas that are in the future incorporated into new or existing cities.  This new ordinance, which follows the recent implementation of a new value recapture transit financing mechanism for the SMART Plan, is another important step towards the expansion of the Miami-Dade County mass-transit system.

© 2019 Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP


About this Author

Albert Dotson, Bilzin Sumberg Law Firm, Real Estate and Land Development Attorney

Nationally recognized for his work on public-private partnerships (P3), Al's experience includes rail and transit facilities, airports, marinas, sports stadiums, convention centers, healthcare/life sciences facilities, educational institutions, water and sewer facilities, and parking structures.

Al is recognized throughout Florida for his work representing local, national, and international clients in responding to government contract solicitations and defending against, or prosecuting quasi-judicial and judicial bid protests.


Eric Singer is an Associate in the Government Relations & Land Development Group. His practice focuses on government procurement contracts and the development approval process, including planning and zoning applications, government approvals and permits. Eric also represents clients in quasi-judicial matters and has handled land use cases in state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels.