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.
Year built: Currently under
Cost: $1 billion and counting
What's dumb about it: It will wreak
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havoc on Biscayne Bay and the MacArthur
Why it was built: To mitigate
container truck traffic.
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.
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.
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:
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