Written by Miami Today on May 28, 2009
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BURN (EVICTION) NOTICE: Miami city commissioners are to vote today (5/28) on a measure that could put off demolition of the Coconut Grove Expo Center, which serves as the studio for Burn Notice, for another year. The Florida Film Production Coalition is lobbying the commissioners to delay the move. Without the expo center, the coalition says Burn Notice will head either for other cities in Florida or such states as California, which recently passed a $500 million incentive program. In July 2008, the commission voted 4-1 for the Sasaki Waterfront Master Plan, which would raze the center, but allowed the popular USA Network show to film through September, completing its third season. Now, commissioners are being asked to extend the agreement through 2010 and Burn Notice’s fourth season. The coalition credits the show with employing 200 people and injecting about $20 million into the local economy. Joe Sanchez, commission chair, is sponsoring the move to delay demolition.
KEY TO KEY BISCAYNE: More modern collection methods on the Rickenbacker Causeway could cut traffic jams headed for Key Biscayne by zipping 1,200 cars an hour past the toll center instead of the present 400, cut costs of collection from 40% of all tolls at present to about 5% to 10%, and possibly collect fees for Crandon Park and Bill Baggs State Park at the tollgate under a resolution being presented to county commissioners June 2 by Carlos Gimenez. His resolution asks the mayor’s staff to prepare by July a report and recommendations on a shift to open road tolling or a similar modernization. The measure also contemplates the Miami Dade Expressway Authority taking over operation of tolling from the county, with new jobs to be found for present toll collectors.
WE’D RIDE: A trolley connecting Brickell and downtown would get 80% of downtowners to ride, a survey of 600 of them says. Further, a third of those who took the 10-question survey to help set a route said they’d pay a small fare, said Javier Betancourt, Downtown Development Authority transportation and urban planning manager. The Miami City Commission today (5/28) is to vote on an agreement with Miami-Dade Transit to ensure a $4.08 million transit grant to buy the rubber-tire trolley buses and signage, bus benches and shelters planned for Downtown, Brickell, the Health District, Allapattah, Overtown and Coral Way.