A new budget announced for South Florida’s Tri-Rail could reduce service to 30 trains and threatens to shut down the complete rail system by 2011.

The funding crisis has arisen as South Florida’s 2010 budget, announced at a meeting of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, did not include an additional funding to maintain the Tri-Rail’s 50 trains per day service.

The Federal Transit Administration is threatening to demand the return of $256m Tri-Rail used for adding a second track – if service is cut below 48 trains a day.

In addition, the three counties Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach which help Tri-Rail in funding have also decided to reduce their minimum subsidies to $4.2m per county from $7m in the future due to their financial problems.

The overall budget deficit amounts to $18m as the Florida Department of Transportation has also cut $9m in matching funds. Tri-Rail also failed to secure a dedicated source of funding during the recently ended session of the Florida Legislature.