Written by Miami Today on July 30, 2009
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DADE-MADE: Miami-Dade County is exploring a program to allow local businesses to brand their goods as grown or made here. The "Made in Miami-Dade" initiative is the brainchild of Commissioner Joe Martinez, who aims to boost local agriculturists and other businesses in a down economy by making locals aware of local products — to "give us a little sense of pride and maybe build up those industries," he said. Commissioners last week agreed to have the administration study a "Made in Miami-Dade" sticker program. A report, due in 90 days, is to include what products could be involved, how to determine eligibility and potential funding sources.
CHOO-CHOO CHA-CHING: South Florida’s Tri-Rail is to receive another $13.5 million federal stimulus after being awarded this month a $2.5 million payout. The latest boost means at least three new locomotives, fully covered by federal funds. The first $2.5 million is to go toward another new locomotive, now also fully funded by the feds. Other funding from the feds, the state and the three counties that support the commuter rail system — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach — is backing more purchases, including 10 new cab cars, which house passengers and the engineer, and four new trailer cars, which carry only passengers. Two of the cab cars are to arrive by year’s end. The news comes after Tri-Rail officials voted to plug an operations deficit with capital improvement funds to avoid service cuts. Proponents are still pushing for state dedicated funding to ensure the system keeps chugging.
CRUNCHING NUMBERS: In June, the Greater Miami hotel industry saw its softest declines in months in room rate, revenue per available room (RevPar) and average daily room rate. Occupancy was down 9.5% from June 2008, the smallest monthly drop since an 8.4% December falloff. RevPar and room rates were down 11.2% and 19.6%, respectively, the smallest monthly decreases since falloffs of 7.7% and 18.1% in January. Demand has almost hit levels from a year ago, only falling off 0.7% from June 2008.
PROGRESS REPORTS: Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones requested at last week’s meeting that commissioners receive regular progress reports on grant-funded projects. That way, the city can monitor whether those funds are being used properly, she said: "It’s important that there’s communication going on."