"You have everyone with skin in the game,'' said Johnson.
The first two phases of the rail project will include rehabilitating the old bascule bridge and reconstructing a port rail link that would allow cargo to move by train from the port on tracks on the north side of Bayside Marketplace and across Biscayne Boulevard before curving north to just beyond NE 71st Street where it would veer west to the FEC yard near Miami International Airport or continue on to northern destinations. The renovated track would allow trains to move at 25 mph rather than the current 5 mph, said the FEC's Cumber.
After the port tunnel is completed in 2014, work is expected to begin on the new port rail yard, said Cumber, and on needed modifications at the Hialeah rail yard.
Eventually, about 25 percent of container traffic will move off the port by rail, said Lynskey, but the bulk of cargo -- especially that destined for Florida markets -- will move through the new four-lane tunnel.