Off the Rails: Amtrak station built near MIA with taxpayer dollars goes unused

(WSVN) - Millions of taxpayer dollars were used to build a new Amtrak station near Miami International Airport. Three and a half years later, it appears Amtrak has no intention of using it. 7’s Brian Entin reports how this project has gone “Off the Rails.”

With millions of your tax dollars, the Florida Department of Transportation built the Miami Intermodal Center, often called the MIC, as a transportation hub for travelers.

You see it better from the air. The MIC is just east of Miami International Airport, with the rental car agencies on one side and the Tri-Rail, city buses and Greyhound on the other.

But despite the writing on the wall, what has never been here is Amtrak.

Tatiana Bonfonte, traveler: (reading sign) “‘Amtrak is not servicing this station at this time.’ Wow. Why?”

FDOT spent $5.3 million to build this Amtrak station. Three and a half years later, there has never been a train on the tracks, and no customers have ever stood at the shiny ticket counters.

Christian Snyder, traveler: “Doesn’t make sense to have it if you’re not going to use it. I wouldn’t have built it.”

The MIC’s website says, “Amtrak services were scheduled to start in the fall of 2017.”

But in a statement to 7News, Amtrak said, “We have no plans at this time to leave the Amtrak station in the Hialeah area of Miami.”

Carl Williams, traveler: “As a taxpaying citizen, that’s money wasted.”

FDOT would not speak on camera, but released a statement that read in part, “Amtrak has refused to sign the lease with FDOT because we could not comply with their last request for possible relocation within the MIC.”

7News has repeatedly asked FDOT if Amtrak had committed to using the station before the money was spent to build it. For months we have submitted requests to see any documents pertaining to the station or contracts between FDOT and Amtrak.

To date, all of those requests have gone unanswered.

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