Miami, county could be hurt by different approaches to project wish list
By Yudislaidy Fernandez and Risa Polansky
Miami's mayor and the chair of the Miami-Dade County Commission plan vastly different approaches to gain hundreds of millions of dollars in federal economic stimulus money.
The different strategies, however, could increase the difficulty of the city and county in giving the new Obama administration a coherent and uniform list of projects that reflect a strong potential for infrastructure upgrades and job creation.
Keep it manageable, said county commission Chairman Dennis Moss in an interview Tuesday. He said he wants a list with "a few top priorities," rather than "pulling together a thousand different projects."
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, on the other hand, intends to use a shotgun approach, seeking money for several hundred projects scattered across an array of infrastructure categories. "These are projects people want and have gone through the public process and can be built right away and will last for a very long time," Mayor Diaz said in an interview Monday, comparing the ambitiousness of his list to a genuine "New Deal" strategy for economic revival.
Since handing its wish list to the US Conference of Mayors for submission to the new presidential administration, the city has cut out more than dozen projects that had been listed twice, thus reducing the funding requests by about $159 million. At the same time, though, it has added $48 million worth of technology projects.
Chairman Moss, meanwhile, is still hoping for a shared strategy with Dade's cities. "I would like to see a unified list including county projects and city projects that are ready to go that will create employment opportunities for this community and bring dollars to the region," he said.