Leaders strive to fix Miami’s Transportation problems
Written by Catherine Lackner on June 14, 2016
Though Miami’s transportation problems are well known, there’s also no shortage of leaders trying to break the gridlock.
Mitch Bierman, a member of the Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman law firm, nominated Alice Bravo, director of Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works, as among the best solution-finders.
“Alice took over the huge challenge of improving transit as Miami-Dade’s transit director late last year and hit the ground running,” said Mr. Bierman, who chairs the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
“She is overseeing a major technology upgrade that will include state-of-the-art real-time passenger information, the addition of new express routes and the nearly impossible task of managing the burst of energy and huge expectations that now surround every discussion regarding mobility in South Florida.”
He also had high praise for Aileen Boucle, executive director of the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization. “Likewise, she recently took over an agency badly in need of new energy and new direction. The MPO is at the center of all of these discussions as to how our community addresses this most essential need.”
All Aboard Florida President Mike Reininger “is heading what will likely be the most transformative transportation project in South Florida in at least 35 years,” Mr. Bierman said. “AAF will demonstrate the power of transportation to redefine commerce, lifestyles and the entire built environment and they are moving it forward with fearless efficiency.”
“I nominate Alice Bravo!” said Chris Hodgkins, CEO of MAT Concessionaire LLC, which operates the PortMiami tunnel. “She has the education and experience to take on the county’s biggest problem. She knows transportation and knows alternative delivery. I can’t wait to see her innovations turn to policy. Alice is the person to watch as we look at Baylink, east/west rail and creating a cohesive transportation network. Go Alice!” he said.
“I would also like to nominate a quiet giant in transportation, Charles Scurr of the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust,” Mr. Hodgkins said. “He has the difficult responsibility of trying to get folks on the same page. Charles has spent his life dedicated to mobility for people, with lots of knowledge and a passion to solve the difficult public transportation problems in Miami-Dade. If the right solution is found, Charles will be in middle, pushing forward!”
“It is great news that Mayor Carlos Gimenez has named transportation his highest priority in Miami Dade-County,” said Donna Abood, principal and managing director of Avison Young’s Miami operation. “Commissioner Steve Bovo has been a tremendous ‘thought leader’ in addressing our county’s transportation infrastructure needs. This topic has become a No. 1 priority for many business leaders as well.
“Armando Codina has stepped forward as a leader among the private sector,” she said. “The good news is that our economy has grown tremendously over the past several years, so more people are on the roads due to improved employment opportunities, local business expansion and new companies opening offices in Miami,” Ms. Abood said.
“With this growth comes more cars on the road. These leaders, among others, are working hard to put together a plan that will address several different modes of transportation and the hubs to link them together.”
“I am happy to nominate Neal Sklar,” said Carlos A. Carrillo, executive director of the South Florida Chapter of The Associated General Contractors of America. Mr. Sklar, a partner at the Peckar & Abramson law firm, developed last September’s P3 Institute Conference to promote public-private partnerships, many in the transportation arena.
“One of the most difficult parts of the P3 process is simply getting it started,” Mr. Carrillo said. “Matching the right private entity to the right public project is more difficult than one might think. Neal understands that. The P3 Institute Conference he put together was a way to get local government and private industry in the same room and speaking the same language. Neal’s ability to connect people and projects will hopefully accelerate the rate at which we see badly needed transportation projects get off of the ground.”
“Neal is a quick study,” said Tom Sanford, vice president of Doppelmayr USA, a firm that specializes in cable cars, aerial products and ropeways, some of which are used in construction projects. His company’s products aren’t easy to understand, Mr. Sanford said, but “Neal starts looking at the concept, which is not the case with many people. He’s a good guy, and he is very good at exploring a concept and then bringing that knowledge to the community.”