Miami tries value capture to fund transit improvements


A new Metrorail train in Miami-Dade County. New cars began rolling out in late 2017. (Photo: screenshot from video by C.M. Guerrero)

Historically, transit operators depended on funding from property proceeds to continue running lines and funding expansion. From Boston’s street railways to the transcontinental railroad, property has long been a key part of the transportation story.

Lately though transportation funding hasn’t been connected to land values as much and transportation projects are often funding with money from a variety of disparate sources. With funding issues becoming more and more prevalent across the country there is a growing interest in reconnecting the funding for transportation to the value it creates in properties around it, bringing us full circle.

In Miami-Dade County, a newly created tax increment financing (TIF) zone is projected to raise $1.8 billion over 30 years for potential transit expansion projects. The area covered by the zone includes a third of the county’s real estate and will collect a portion of the tax increment that would usually accrue to schools and other core city services.

If successful, the new taxing district could allow Miami to expand its metro lines faster or fund other transit improvements. That could then promote more property development and value along transit corridors and thus create additional funding. TIF is one of many methods for recouping property values along a corridor that transit creates. There are multiple resources on financing strategies in the library’s Value Capture and Financing section, including multiple resources dealing with TIF: Capturing the Value of Transit, a Value Capture and Transit webinar, Tools for Mixed-Income TOD, and TOD 201: Mixed-Income Housing Near Transit.

Recent TOD news

Here are a few things that have been happening this week with TOD projects across the country.

  • Denver approves bonus density near transit for affordable housing (Denver Post)
  • Opportunities and obstacles for TOD in San Diego (Voice of San Diego)
  • Is TOD an internationally transferable concept? (Regional Studies)
  • Infrastructure plan includes provision that would require value capture, but only for transit (Slate; T4America)