Guide To Trashing Taxpayers: The Port Tunnel

This week, Miami New Times published a guide to the eight of the worst public works projects in Miami-Dade, where bureaucrats and elected officials take pride in wasting millions in taxpayer dollars on crap residents have little-to-no use for. As we reveal each one of these boondoggles on Riptide, we're asking readers to send us their suggestions of the most asinine things local government has built in your neighborhoods. We've also been posting each boondoggle on Riptide and asking readers to submit their own suggestions for the biggest wastes of taxpayer money. On Monday, we'll announce our winner, who will get a seven-day pass to ride Miami-Dade Transit.

Today, we venture out to Miami's version of the Big Dig in Boston.

Port Tunnel
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.

Harriet-in-Miami.jpg
The premise behind the project doesn't hold water. Since the '80s, city, county, and state leaders have touted the tunnel as the best way to remove big-rig trucks entering the Port of Miami from the streets of downtown Miami. Despite warnings from skeptical politicians such as county Commissioner Joe Martinez that the tunnel could become Miami's version of the Big Dig, the Boston tunnel project that cost five times the original price, it is moving at full-bore.

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
Metrorail M-Path<
Miami Gardens Drive Park & Ride Lot

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6 comments
M Ee
M Ee

 The City of Miami is losing $12,240,0000 MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BY NOT ENFORCING THE SOLID WASTE FRANCHISE of the CITY OF MIAMI, specifically with the PORT OF MIAMI TUNNEL PROJECT.

Sec. 22-46. - Engaging in business of solid waste collection and disposal; issuance of franchise agreement to private solid waste collectors.

(a) No person, firm or corporation shall remove or transport any solid waste material over the streets or public rights-of-way of the city or its real property for hire or salvage without first applying for and receiving a franchise from the department to carry on such a business.

Sec. 22-56. - Franchise fee requirement; monthly franchise fee payment; approval by city commission as a prerequisite to issuance; financial statements, list of accounts; account permit fees; roll-off permit fees.b) Effective October 8, 2009, all city-franchised commercial solid waste haulers will be required to pay to the city a franchise fee of twenty four *24%) percent of the franchisee's monthly total gross receipts.

Port of Miami Tunnel ProjectEstimated Tonnage Removed from Port of Miami Tunnel Project - Trucked in DUMP TRUCKS from City of Miami property (Watson Island & Dodge Island) to City of Miami property (Virginia Key)

600,000 tons divided by 20 tons per truck equals 300,000 truck loads.  Currently hauled by a NON FRANCHISED HAULERS, running 60 to 100 trucks, at $170 per load equals $51,000,000 in hauling.

FRANCHISE FEE NOT COLLECTED$51,000,000 with 24% franchisee fee collected $12,240,000

CITY OF MIAMI IS IGNORING $12,240,000 in Franchise Fees, ask why?

$500 mil being disappeared
$500 mil being disappeared

How about the $500 Mil the taxpayers will lose on the proposed Miami Art Museum? MAM is broke and it gets no visitors. $500 mil being wasted.

Another scam
Another scam

The City of Miami elected officials and administrators are running an ongoing criminal enterprise. The City loses $1 mil per week.

The Tunnel was never needed. It was just pushed to line the pockets of a few connected insiders.

What about the $3+ BILLION cost of the Marlins Stadium? That's another scam.

Vic
Vic

Just goes to show how far OUT of control Miami residents are of their own wholly corrupt political administrations - liars, cheats, and thieves - one and all.

Miaman
Miaman

The new Miami Marlins Stadium?

Talk about providing money for your pollitial backers to embezzle!

Chris
Chris

Get a life, Francisco. It's going to be great and you're just bored. Write about something positive as opposed to infecting your readers with your negatively poisoned words.

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