2020 Candidate Questionnaire

Candidate for Miami-Dade County
District 9

Marlon A. Hill

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How often do you find yourself walking, biking or using public transit?

If you mainly drive, what do you see as the barriers for yourself and our community to move away from car dependency?

Marlon A. Hill

The County lacks a pragmatic mobility solution for District 9 residents and the current policy discussion around maximizing "rapid bus" service rather than realizing what was promised to the voters - more rail - will not motivate District 9 residents, who generally live more than five miles away from a bus stop or Metrorail station, to use public transit. For me, to get to work by walking or biking to a transit station is not feasible nor safe as there are neither dedicated pedestrian nor bike lanes along consistently congested 152 ST, the main road to the County's 152nd ST and US- 1 Park and Ride station. While the buses from the station are generally on-time, upon arrival at the Dadeland South Metrorail station, there is often a wait, or worse, prolonged service disruption, resulting in a tardy arrival to work downtown. This lack of reliable public transit promotes car dependency. I occasionally drive from home to Dadeland South for the rail to Downtown Miami for work.

Traffic congestion is choking South Dade and the region lies in the intersection of mobility and housing issues. The root of this problem is our inability to plan long term in synchronizing our strategic housing plan with our transportation infrastructure. At its core, this lack of long-term planning, sustained population growth, and absence of strong central leadership are the primary barriers for changing this culture.

What would be your top actions to create a better public transit system?
List up to 5.

Marlon A. Hill

1. Create a mobility task force, inclusive of the voices of residents who actually use public transit, to provide solutions for improvement

2. With a comprehensive ridership analysis, complete and execute the redesign of bus routes for greater efficiency and utilization and explore fixing bus stops to provide more protection and dignity to transit users

3. Synchronize transit plans with the strategic plans for housing affordability to promote the ease of walkability

4. Explore a focus on alternative modes of transit such as use of ride-sharing fleet (example Uber and Lyft) for on-demand services; such a service would pick you up from your home and take you to a Park and Ride or Metrorail station

5. Explore the reimagination of the public transit governance through the reduction of bureaucracy, such as the consolidation of the TPO with the County's Department of Transportation and Public Works and the consolidation of innovative financial models

What would be your top actions to create safer streets for walking and biking?
List up to 5.

Marlon A. Hill

1. Have dedicated bike and walk lanes leading to public transit; such lanes should be safe, well lit and lined with greenery.

Two out of three transit riders rely on the bus system.
How would you improve the system we have today and attract new riders?

Marlon A. Hill
  • Must complete the redesign of bus routes to meet the needs of residents in their geographic locations for the short and long term
  • We should also provide greater incentives to transit riders for more utilization
  • Improve on-time bus arrival
  • Use of cleaner burning buses such as electric which are both quieter and environmentally beneficial in the County's quest to reduce criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming
  • Free Wi-Fi on buses
  • More dedicated bus lanes to maximize bus speed

Miami-Dade County has mass transit expansion plans dating back decades. What is your vision to fund and deliver transit infrastructure?

Marlon A. Hill

Our funding mechanisms are tied to our inefficient governance structure for long term planning. We must start there while looking at other creative means with our opportunity zones and CRAs and public/private partnerships where feasible.

In addition, we should also seek federal and state transit related grants such as the VW settlement; such grants can be used to leverage local funds to purchase electric buses and the associated charging infrastructure and to pursue expansion of rail and bus networks.

Multiple administrative and political entities are responsible for the planning, funding and operations of our public transportation. Would you change the transportation governance structure, and if so, how?

Marlon A. Hill

My vision for transforming the governance structure of our public transportation operations will include leading on the following recommendations:

  • Establish a new mobility taskforce focused on innovative and near-term transportation improvements. None of the County’s advisory groups currently focus on innovative mobility solutions.
  • Commit to placing public transit-dependent residents and/or mobility activists to the existing transit-related advisory boards (e.g. CITT, Near Streets, etc.)
  • Work with MDT and IT to make transit-related data more accessible, including CSV versions of the current Ridership Technical Reports (now only in PDF).
  • Increasing the accessibility of public mobility data benefits local planners, mobility advocates, engineering firms, residents, and decision-makers.
  • Work with the County IT department leadership to update the County’s Open Data Hub to include shapefile for SMART Plan expansions, PTP-financed municipal trolley lines, and other missing mobility-related data.
  • Work with MDT, County IT, and Code for Miami, to create engaging, easy to-follow data visualizations that will enable residents to better track mobility data, expenditures, and outcomes (e.g. revenues by source, expenditures by activity, Metrorail mean miles between failures, etc.)
  • Explore needed governance reforms to the CITT, TPO, and the creation of a new independent Transportation Authority. This consolidation of the multiple transit agencies into one body to streamline the planning, procurement, budget and award process for transit-related improvements. This reform must ensure the public and community-based organizations are involved in the planning process.

In your opinion, what has Miami-Dade County done right and gotten wrong with regards to our transportation policies, actions and objectives during the past decade? You may describe your involvement, if applicable.

Marlon A. Hill

Due to our fractured and parochical leadership structure, lack of long term planning and transparency, we are struggling with planting the right seeds for our future mobility. We must abandon these feudal policies and create more policies driven with more transparent data. Likewise, we must connect our transit plans to a reimagined governance structure, housing affordability and equity.

The candidate chose to answer this optional question.

How would you incorporate equity into your transportation agenda?

Marlon A. Hill

I will advocate for more residents who actually use public transit on a daily or frequent basis to be part of a solution driven planning culture for transit. I would also pursue the following equitable mobility solutions:

  • With public and private partners, launch an ideas competition focused on reimagining County bus stops (e.g. incorporating shade elements, better integration with walking and biking). Funding will be provided to the selected winners to implement their ideas. Potential partners: Miami Foundation, Transit Alliance, Miami Riders Alliance, UM/FIU Schools of Architecture, Arts in Public Paces, AIA Miami, APA Gold Coast, etc.)
  • Ensure that the CRAs of the District (Naranja Lakes, West Perrine, Homestead, and Florida City) in District 9 commit TIF resources to creating effective, data led transportation improvements, from protected bike lanes to wider sidewalks.
  • Stimulate economic development by encouraging Opportunity Zone investment within Transportation Infrastructure Improvement District (TIID), which will increase needed density along transit corridors while generating additional TIF revenue for expanding rapid transit projects.
The candidate chose to answer this optional question.

How would you proactively integrate land use policies into your transportation agenda?

Marlon A. Hill

My vision for the intersection of land use and mobility would include the following short
term and long term ideas:

  • Update the County’s Affordable Housing Surtax program to include incentives for building near high-frequency bus or trolley routes. The Surtax program, which provides up to $40 million gap funding for building or preserving multifamily housing affordable to low-income families, currently only includes TOD incentives for
    proximity to Tri-Rail, Metrorail, SMART Plan, and the South Dade Transitway.
  • Push for the County to create a first ever TOD-focused Consolidated Plan for future
    federal housing resources. This would include better aligning public and private
    resources to encourage the development of transit oriented affordable housing.
  • Expand building capacity near transit and explore the co-location of affordable
    housing with other public uses in District 9, including parking garages, fire stations,
    schools, and libraries.
  • Commission a study to explore the viability of retrofitting public parking garages
    across the County to include workforce housing.
The candidate chose to answer this optional question.

How would you address coordination between local municipal transit services and countywide services?

Marlon A. Hill

Given our current public health emergency with COVID-19, we must address the following challenges:

  • Direct the Mayor to provide County transit workers with hazard pay during the pandemic.
  • Ensure that transit workers providing PTP-financed services (e.g. municipal trollies, Freebie) receive needed protective equipment during the pandemic, including PPE, vestibule protectors, and sanitization equipment.
  • Require that MDT communicate service changes with at least 48-hour notice and will deploy shared mobility sharing for essential workers.
  • Commit to build bicycling infrastructure before traffic returns to normal in Homestead and Florida City.
  • Employ a more robust communications plan for awareness of coordinated County services, e.g. A Digital Outreach Team deployed to various communities to bring government closer to residents.
Candidate for Miami-Dade County
District 9

Marlon A. Hill

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