More than 250 past and present members of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA)/Tri-Rail’s Governing Board, business and community leaders and elected officials, recently gathered to celebrate Tri-Rail’s 25th anniversary. The commuter rail system was placed into service on January 9, 1989.
The keynote speaker was the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Therese McMillan. The emcee was Jen Herrera, WPLG Local News 10 Anchor. The luncheon turned out to be a bittersweet occasion for many in attendance because it was announced last week that after 15 years with the agency, Executive Director Joseph “Joe” Giulietti was leaving the agency to become the President of Metro North.
The SFRTA luncheon honored a number of visionaries and agencies that brought about the Authority’s success. Among those recognized were funding partners including the FTA, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. The longest Board Member Service Award was presented to Marie Horenburger, who has been a member of the Governing Board since 1994. The Regional Business Leadership Award was given to Ralph Marrinson, one of the key proponents of the formation of the SFRTA. Rick Chesser and Jim Cummings were awarded Tri-Rail’s Segment 5 Completion Recognition Award, acknowledging their efforts to spearhead the Double Track Corridor Improvement Program.
Conceived as a five-year traffic mitigation program while I-95 was undergoing construction, Tri-Rail now serves as the permanent spine of South Florida’s public transportation system. The SFRTA, which operates Tri-Rail, runs 50 trains and day on weekdays and 30 trains a day on weekends and holidays. The system operates 365 days a year.
Since its inception, Tri-Rail has carried more than 70 million passengers and now averages more than 15,000 riders a day. Ridership increased more than seven percent in 2013, a figure well above the national average for commuter rail systems.