Busway in Miami may give way to cars

For years, motorists in South Miami-Dade have longed to drive on the two-lane bus road on the west side of the chronically congested South Dixie Highway.

Now they might get their wish if county commissioners and other local elected officials approve a proposed plan to convert the Busway into -- among other alternatives -- a four-lane highway with express toll lanes where private vehicles would share the road with buses. The revenue would then be used to fund the cash-strapped county transit agency.

The Dadeland-to-Florida City roadway was built to encourage motorists to take buses that travel more quickly because they benefit from green-light priority at intersections. But the strategy didn't work out well because Miami-Dade Transit was never able to operate many buses on the roadway. Currently, between 10 to 27 buses per hour during rush periods serving some 20,000 passengers per day use the Busway. At times the north-south roadway is practically empty.

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