There is an item before the County Commission, tomorrow, September 1, 2011 to award a contract for $56 million to prepare more than a mile of bulkhead at the Port of Miami for the 50 foot deep harbor dredging. This is just the first stage of approximately $300 million in construction for the dredging project (with associated bulkhead adjustments). We have heard bits and pieces here and there how this is necessary to accommodate the larger cargo ships that will travel through a widened Panama Canal, when that is completed in 2014.
Our concern is that the broader question of real demand for a larger cargo handling capacity at the Port of Miami justifies what will be a terrible impact for the adjacent Federally designated marine sanctuary where this will take place. Recent doubts about demand for more cargo traffic at the Port of Miami have been expressed in the local press, (Miami New Times this week) citing industry experts.
Furthermore, it is uncertain that all elements will be in place for more cargo capability at the Port, which has only limited acreage for cargo functions, in spite of over $1.5 BILLION being spent. We have been unable to find a comprehensive plan for how the dredging, tunnel, FEC rail improvements with limited cargo acreage at the port meets future shipping demand and fits with tenant port terminal operator plans. In fact we have found there to be certain troubling conflicts.
It is understood that the Port is a great economic generator for the County, but one must not lose sight that the greatest resource of the County is the environment which attracts people and tourists to the region in the first place.
Show up at the public hearing tomorrow Sept 1 in the commission chambers to voice your concerns.
Sincerely,Citizens for Responsible Development