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Front Page » Top Stories » Winton To Ask Miami Commissioners To Oppose Tax For Tunnel

Winton To Ask Miami Commissioners To Oppose Tax For Tunnel

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Written by on May 11, 2006

By Deserae del Campo
Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton plans to ask fellow commissioners today (5/11) to oppose the taxation of Miami residents to help finance a tunnel at the Port of Miami.

The tunnel would run from Watson Island to the port, linking the port to MacArthur Causeway and allowing traffic to flow onto Interstate 395 and bypass downtown Miami. Downtown truck traffic from the port has been a recurrent city issue.

"The mere fact this went from a $1 billion project to a billion-and-a-half-dollar project and they are looking to us to help finance," said Commissioner Winton – "are you kidding me?

"Hopefully, homeowner associations and business groups get on this big time and oppose it," he said, "and I also hope Miami-Dade County officials representing Miami residents focus on their constitutes, not their government."

Assistant County Manager Carlos Bonzon, who is overseeing the county’s efforts to create the tunnel, couldn’t be reached for comment. He was quoted last week as saying that the city eventually would be asked to help pay the bill for the tunnel, but "we would need to sit down with them and discuss it."

The Florida Department of Transportation has half of the financing secured, but the county needs to provide the rest.

"Luckily, the Metropolitan Planning Organization is conducting a feasibility study on the possibility of a freight train moving cargo from the Port of Miami into West Miami-Dade," said Mr. Winton, "to see if it is economically feasible."

An operational rail link, some feel, would make it unnecessary to tunnel to the port.

Three developmental teams have been deemed qualified to bid on the tunnel project. The Florida Department of Transportation says it will request proposals from the three consortia as soon as the state and the county agree on how to finance the project.