Guide To Trashing Taxpayers: The Port Tunnel
Today, we venture out to Miami's version of the Big Dig in Boston.
Year built: Currently under construction
Cost: $1 billion and counting
What's dumb about it: It will wreak havoc on Biscayne Bay and the MacArthur Causeway.
Why it was built: To mitigate container truck traffic.
But consider: The Port of Miami has lost cargo and cruise business to Port Everglades in Broward. Truck traffic at Miami's port has dropped from 32,000 vehicles in 1991 to 19,000 today. Last year, truckers told New Times the problem is not the streets of downtown Miami, but the slow entrance to the port's heavily secured docks.
Alejandro Arrieta, who owns Delta Line International, a shipping line that has been in business for a decade, said delays have more do to with Homeland Security screenings and union labor than traffic. "We all know the Port of Miami is the most inefficient on the East Coast," Arrieta lamented. "That's not going to change with the tunnel."
The tunnel project never would have gotten off the ground if it weren't for President Barack Obama. The commander in chief's economic stimulus package provided the final $100 million to get the tunnel, um, off the ground.
Construction began this past August when the $45 million boring machine nicknamed "Harriet" began digging through the limestone beneath the MacArthur Causeway. The tunnel should really be renamed the Great Make Work Act of 2011. County leaders boast it will create 400 jobs during its construction.
Environmental activist Alan Farago says the project isn't worth the damage it will cause to nearby coral and the Biscayne Aquifer. He notes the dredging company is using unidentified polymers to fortify the crumbly limestone.
"How much polymer is going to be used?" Farago wonders. "What is the effect of unleashing carcinogens into the bay? If there are toxic agents being introduced, who is going to stop the project?"
Nobody is going to stop it, no matter what the cost, dummy! So fire up Harriet and let's rock and roll!
Guide to Trashing Taxpayers:
Marc Sarnoff's Circle
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
Interstate 95 Golden Glades Flyover
Hialeah Okeechobee Road Landmark
Miami Gardens Drive Park & Ride Lot
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