Miami today is reporting that work on the $1 billion port tunnel has (unofficially) begun. Environmental work is underway and rigs have been set up on MacArthur Causeway’s median to begin taking soil samples. The project officially breaks ground in May and will take approximately 4 years to complete.

Not only will we have a very questionable new port tunnel, but according to Ms. Alice Bravo district director of transportation for FDOT, a new lane of traffic is planned in each direction of the MacArthur Causeway. Do we really need another lane of traffic in each direction? Wouldn’t it be better to instead bring Baylink into the transportation mix?  This would also be a great opportunity for FDOT to include a protected greenway in each direction on the MacArthur Causeway. Expanding the roadway to accommodate more cars is not the solution; providing more transportation options is the answer.

5 Responses to Port Tunnel Work (Unofficially) Begins; MacArthur Causeway to be Expanded

  1. Anon says:

    Baylink would be implemented, except certain Miami Beach elected officials were RACIST and killed Baylink because they didn’t want “those people” (poor blacks from downtown) to have easy access to Miami Beach. Why doesn’t some nappy-headed child of God raise a stink about this? Baylink was recommended by consultants as the highest potential ridership route in the county, overwhelmingly passed a Miami Beach voter referendum, and passed the county referendum of projects to issue bonds for. And now the current mayor opposes it because “the overhead wires would clash with historic architecture.” Miami Beach HAD streetcars in its historic days. What’s the real reason, Mayor Matti “I don’t understand” Bower? You’re on the MPO, why don’t you make it a priority?

    http://www.miamidade.gov/MPO/m11-governingboard.htm

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  2. Mike Moskos says:

    Lets’s hope they have a fixed rate on these tunnel bonds.

    I seem to remember that one of motivators for the port tunnel was the number of trucks moving cargo and clogging the downtown roads. So, here’s my question:

    CSX is a railroad. CSX has a major intermodal operation at the port. How come the cargo doesn’t get loaded on to the existing–but barely used–rail and moved out of the port? It would be interesting to see how much cargo going in and out of the port eventually gets loaded on to rail in other parts of the city.

    By the way, I have an answer for the ugly “… overhead wires would clash with historic architecture.”: swappable batteries powering the street cars or PRT cars.

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  3. kyle says:

    In an ideal world, we would have Baylink, but not everyone in Miami’s political scene has the foresight to plan properly for this city.

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  4. Anon says:

    Mike, I’m sure Matti would appreciate your response to her overhead wires issue, IF IT WERE HER REAL REASON.

    And Flagler (not CSX) would be happy to start running containers from the port on trains, but the port has to fix the drawbridge (currently stuck up) and agree to improvements of the tracks leading to the ships. This arrangement can’t happen soon enough.

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  5. Mike Moskos says:

    Anon,

    OK, so as I understand it, the reason cargo isn’t moving out of the port on rail is some combo of:
    1. A property rights issue. Flagler Railroad (the track owner) needs to improve its rail, but it doesn’t own the land/bridge so it is unwilling to make the investment. And the port, which does own the land/bridge doesn’t want to make the improvements to rail it doesn’t own. Part of this could be, rail traffic requires additional land for staging/train parking, etc. that the port doesn’t want to lease/sell to the railroad (if it has the room at all).
    2. CSX which has a big operation at the port, is not particularly interested in seeing cargo loaded on to its competitor’s (Flagler’s) track and presumably remaining on Flagler’s track ’til delivery.
    3. The city is not particularly interested in the traffic tie-ups which result from cars waiting on long trains, esp. in the downtown area.
    4. Diesel fuel for trucks is still so ridiculously cheap that it doesn’t justify the infrastructure improvements. A gallon of diesel is the equivalent of 150-500 hours of human labor; at $3 a gallon it is ridiculously cheap.

    The mother of all bubbles, worldwide government debt, is just beginning to blow up. When it completely blows up and the dollar is no longer the reserve currency, fuel prices will rise dramatically. Baylink will come–not because we had the foresight to plan ahead–but largely because people won’t be able to afford to drive over to South Beach.

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