When it comes to getting one of the Tri-Rail stations state officials have planned along the FEC railway, some have been critical of the city’s efforts so far.
That includes business owner Joe Pallant.
“The city needs to find a way [to get a station],” wrote Pallant in an email to The Gazette. Pallant has repeatedly criticized the city for not doing enough to get a station built.
Now, Commissioner Tom Green wants more done.
At the budget meeting on Aug. 23, Green criticized the reduction of money set aside to help build a station in the city, from $10,000 to $5,000. “It’s going to take local money. I don’t want the cause [of not getting a station] to be [we] didn’t care. We ought to be doing something more specific to remind [the state] we’re here,” Green said.
A proponent of the environment and mass transportation, Green said getting a station would increase property values and the city’s value as a destination.
But Vice Mayor Scott Newton said even $10,000 is still not going to catch anyone’s attention. “Let’s do something that makes a big difference.” He suggested possibly $200,000 from the reserves. The money wouldn’t necessarily come from the reserves but would be a temporary measure. If Wilton Manors were chosen for a station, the city’s share of the money could be taken from another part of the budget.
Sal Torre, president of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors, said the city shouldn’t hold back on trying to get a station.
State officials want to use the existing FEC railway to expand Tri-Rail and offer commuter service in the eastern part of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Twenty-five stations are planned from Miami to Jupiter.
If chosen, the Wilton Manors station would most likely be east of Dixie Highway and south of Five Points. Oakland Park could also be chosen for a station. If Wilton Manors is not chosen in the first round, it could be given a station in the second round.
To help attract a station, city officials have been trying to increase the density of the Dixie Highway area south of Five Points, which runs alongside the railway, as well as designating Dixie as a Transportation Oriented Corridor.
However, officials from the Florida Department of Transportation have said station location choices could come down to ridership potential and not necessarily any money provided. Wilton Manors’ is also between Oakland Park and Fort Lauderdale, two cities that could also receive stations. The city might not get a station if the stations in its two neighbors are too close.