Nonetheless, there are concerns that rising gas prices could stall increases in airport travelers as the airline model can’t handle oil prices above $100 per barrel.
-José Abreu, Miami-Dade aviation director quoted in a recent Miami Today article. For reference West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange reached $105.21 per barrel today.
It is always one step forward and two steps back for transportation in South Florida. The governing board of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority voted last week to close the Tri-Rail Airport Station for several years to allow construction to continue on the Miami Intermodal Center, scheduled to open in 2013 with a new Tri-Rail station.
Project engineers claim that keeping the service running would lead to cost overruns and delays in opening the Miami- Intermodal Center big parking garage next to Miami International Airport. Users coming south from Broward and Palm Beach will have to take a shuttle from Hialeah station to MIA. No big deal to FDOT district secretary Gus Pego, who said users already have to take a shuttle from the existing station to the airport (which is a bit misleading - a 5 minute shuttle cannot be compared to a 20-30 minute bus ride through Hialeah.) As one commenter on the Miami Herald put it, “Another decision about public service made by those who don’t use the service.”
Ironically, the Miami-Dade contingent of SFRTA is made of many of the same anti-transit leaders on the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority Board. How can we expect these folks to advocate for the best transit options, when they are simultaneously planning to undermine Tri-Rail and the US1 busway with an elevated expressway (not to mention their stated opposition to the regional service on the South Florida East Coast Railway Corridor at recent MPO meetings). Yet another instance of the fox guarding the hen-house in Miami.
The transportation planning and governance model in our region must change. Our leaders have established a highway monopoly where they can set the price for the service at whatever level they choose, while giving people a false choice between transportation options. In referendum happy Miami-Dade County - is it time for us to take control of our transportation future? I think so.
- In some zoning trickery Miami-Dade is applying to have horse racing at MIA (but off site) so they install slot machines in the airport? Really? How about we just concentrate on completing the never ending construction before we embark on horse racing and gambling.
- Metrozoo’s waterparks are moving forward… unfortunately. Good bye last remaining pine rocklands in Dade County.
- Miami-Dade Transit gets a boost from investors with A+ rating: “The ‘A+’ rating on the bonds reflects solid coverage of debt service from a voter-approved one-half cent sales tax despite some recent softening, sound historical growth in both sales tax revenues and transit ridership, and Miami-Dade County’s broad, diverse economic base, which is a significant factor in the county’s ‘AA-‘ general obligation bond rating.”
- Congrats Mayor Manny: The Southwest Florida AIA invited Mayor Diaz to give the keynote address at their annual dinner for his Miami 21 efforts.
- A new use for abandoned railways in Dade: “GROW is a nonprofit, urban garden that operates on an abandoned railway track near the Miami International Airport. It is a grass-root, public education initiative. After nearly two years, it finally gets the blessing of the county to operate.”
The Miami-Dade County Commission Agenda for March 3 is out and it is full of fun items…here are some that I found interesting:
- Improvements along Old Cutler based on the Old Cutler Charrette including roundabouts at 87th and 97th avenue, along with pedestrian/bike path upgrades and facilities from Cocoplum Circle to 224 Street.
- Commissioner Jordon wants to tinker with the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust this time to ensure that the Trust reviews and recommends award contracts within 45 days and that it meet with the Commission at least quarterly. Interesting…
- Approving $37 Million in additional FDOT funding for MIA’s people mover, connecting the MIC with the Airport (this is the much needed connection between Metrorail and the Airport.)
- The City of Doral is expanding its free trolley service.
- This is a biggy (and another Barbara Jordon sponsored item): Officially allowing transit surtax dollars to be spent on the system maintenance and operations, while increasing General Fund contributions by 3.5% every year, and dedicating 10% of the surtax yearly to capital expansion. Wasn’t all of the surtax to be used for expansion? Sorry, but these numbers are still off….seems like more should be put aside from the General Fund, and for expansion (7% and 25%?)
- Developing an elderly TOD at the Okeechobee Metrorail site.
- The County is looking to cut 20% of its energy consumption (estimated at 1.17 million-megawatt-hours..wow)
- Awesome: MDT is updating its bus-tracking software to allow for real-time infomation to be sent to wireless devices. MDT is also deploying a real-time bus tracking system on the new Kendall BRT pilot project, scheduled for May 2012. This line will extend from 166 street and Kendall Drive to Dadeland Station, and include 27 stations that will connect with the GPS based tracking system.
- A resolution urging the President to rethink Federal transit funding when Congress looks at the surface transportation spending act later this year - specifically allowing for use of the funds for operations. This would finally move the Orange line forward.
- Implementation strategy for Miami-Dade Parks Masterplan. Also awesome. (Noted in this item is a growing program me and some collegues started called the Native Carbon Cure - a carbon tax that mitigates our business’ carbon footprint through local habitat restoration projects.)
Also, the Iconic MIAMI wall…
- Meanwhile, Aeromexico, one of the South Terminal’s new inhabitants, recently announced it would end its Ft. Lauderdale service…
- Emirates Airlines will be visiting MIA on September 6th…Miami-Dubai Service coming soon?
Update: Alex’s View, though he clearly hasn’t visited the disaster known as Heathrow or walked the infinite corridors throughout Barajas…Not two of the airport’s we’d use to compare ourselves to…
- CBS does a little math for us: Corruption + 11 City Workers = Miami.
- MDT is looking into using hovercraft for the 18 month pilot water taxi program. The two water taxi routes (Haulover-Miami and Matheson Hammock-Miami) would operate the $1.2 Million boats with a maximum capacity of 30-50 passengers. The hovercraft are being considered due to their minimal impact on manatees and the delicate sea grass of Biscayne Bay, but would be limited to a 30 mph operation speed.
- MIA is working on renewing an incentive program to gain new service to more destinations from Miami.
- “Cities the airport would like to begin direct service to include Capetown and Johannesburg, South Africa; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; Casablanca, Morocco; Brussels; Dublin; Helsinki; Moscow; Warsaw; Budapest; Tokyo; Seoul; Hong Kong; Shanghai; and New Delhi or Mumbai, formerly Bombay.”
- “The mayor has insisted the store has to be redone so that it is appealing and more open to the street…”
- MIA is experiencing a sudden surge of International Flights. American Airline’s recent announcement of 14 additional round trip flights to Colombian destinations (Baraquilla, Medellin, and Bogota) and year round, non-stop flights to Montevideo, Uruguay, further solidified the carrier’s position in Miami and Latin American. Meanwhile, South African Airways is also considering adding daily non-stop flights between Miami and Johannesburg and Brazil’s TAM is adding daily non-stop flights to Rio de Janeiro. There are also preliminary talks of Virgin America coming into the market within the next five years. Hopefully the recent surge of interest in MIA will justify the half billion dollars commissioners recently approved to complete the North Terminal project. The North Terminal, as we’ve discussed in the past, is about 1 billion dollars over budget, 393 days behind schedule, and the cause of our humiliating “exercising” train in Japan. I’d like to know how the Parsons/Odebrecht Joint Venture Contractor can justify a Billion dollars of cost overruns and more than a year in delays…Note: Parsons/Odebrecht is currently the contractor managing the MIA South Terminal (Over budget, Behind Schedule), Miami Intermodal Center (Over budget, Behind Schedule), MIA North Terminal (Over budget, Behind Schedule), MIA People Mover (Behind Schedule), and Odebrecht was the contractor in charge of the construction of the Carnival Center (Over budget and behind schedule, to say the least.) Anyone else see a worrisome trend evolving here? There’s a common denominator with Odebrecht: the County. The Question then becomes who’s responsible? The joint venture also placed a bid for the contract to build the Port of Miami Tunnel, however, a Spanish firm was granted that contract (that is unless some crazy idea that the firm should not be granted the job because of it’s own legal ties to Cuba becomes part of someone’s political agenda…)
- In Eco News, Orlando will become the first city in the United States to operate a fleet of Hydrogen powered buses built by Ford. The city will use the 8 hydrogen buses to ferry passengers around the airport and convention center. Meanwhile GE today unveiled the first ever Hybrid Road locomotive…
- Speaking of Buses, an MDTA bus plowed through a little Havana Church before sunrise today…
- Floating Condos? Man, I hope this doesn’t catch on…
- Good news for the California HSR initiative: A senate subcommittee has approved a 45-point, 2 Million Dollar initial budget…
- The Holland Tunnel is facing 30+ minute delays at 5:30 on a Friday evening, how did this guy get through in 5 minutes? Watch the video to see…
- Three Cents off each Gallon of Gas? Oh, you shouldn’t have! No, Really…
Update: Courtesy of Mark, in the Comments Below:
- American Airlines will start daily flights to Valencia, Venezuela pending Venezuelan government approval this fall.
- American Airlines will start four weekly flights each to Recife and Salvador da Bahia, in Brazil, later this year pending Brazilian government approval.
- American Airlines is set to announce in a few weeks the launch of the only non-stop service between South Florida and Austin, Texas this fall.
- American Airlines just launched new non-stops to Fayetteville, Arkansas and in June adds additional service to Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Cozumel, Freeport, Jacksonville, Key West, Nassau, and Rio de Janeiro.
- VARIG will resume service to Miami this December, with daily non-stop service to Rio de Janeiro.
- AeroSur will increase service between Miami and Bolivia in June from 3x to 4x a week.
- El Al just increased service between Miami and Tel Aviv last month, from 2x to 3x a week.
- Aerolineas Argentinas will begin 5x weekly non-stop service between Miami and Sao Paulo on 1 September 2007.
- AirTran will launch the only non-stop service between Miami and Kansas City on 7 November 2007. On the same day, they will launch the only low-fare non-stop service between Miami and Baltimore.
- Ecuador’s AEROGAL has applied with the US DOT to fly to Miami, and is awaiting US approval to begin scheduled service later this year.
- Iberia just increased Miami-Madrid service from daily to 10x weekly.
- Air Plus Comet is planning to start four weekly flights between Miami and Madrid in November.
- German airline LTU more than doubled MIA service last week. They now serve Miami 5x a week, instead of 2x. They have three flights a week from Dusseldorf, Germany and two flights a week from Munich, Germany.
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