Written by Miami Today on August 13, 2009
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GREEN LIGHT: A bid to allow vehicle traffic along the South Miami-Dade Busway through managed toll lanes is gaining speed. The Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization has just voted to include the project in its long-range transportation plan. The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority is handling and funding development and environmental study. Construction for now is listed in the transportation plan’s "unfunded" section. The study is to flesh out and analyze scenarios to convert right-of-way along the busway into toll roads and use it for both car and bus traffic, allowing drivers to use the bus corridor to bypass area traffic for a fee. Tolls would rise with congestion, like the express toll lanes on northbound I-95. Maximum at peak hours could hit $12.75 in 2030 dollars.
STIMULUS SUCCESS: A Miami-Dade County capital improvements stimulus program has fast-tracked more than $520.3 million in projects, Capital Improvements Director Johnny Martinez says. The stimulus plan, which commissioners initially approved a year ago, allows for expediting planned capital projects. Under the plan, Mayor Carlos Alvarez has the power to advertise for bids and award them. Rather than the lengthy process of OK’ing such measures prior, commissioners later ratify his decisions. Mr. Alvarez can approve change orders so long as they don’t exceed contract amounts and is allowed to expedite procedures related to small business procurement programs. Commissioners recently agreed to extend the program two more years.
ENDOWING UNIVERSITY: Florida International University is seeking to build a $1 billion endowment, new President Mark Rosenberg told the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon meeting last week. After the lunch, he said that the university is embarking on a $750,000 fundraising campaign, now in its silent phase, to among other things help build that endowment. The University of Florida, by comparison, had almost $1.3 billion in its endowment last year. Harvard had 10,800 separate endowments totaling $36.6 billion.
FALSE START: A reported August sale of $50 million in general obligation bonds to help fund a Marlins stadium won’t be this month. The date has yet to be set, though it could be early in fiscal 2010, which begins Oct.1. A Miami-Dade spokesman misspoke in citing the August date. The county last month sold about $410.5 million in tourist-tax-backed bonds to fund the project, now under construction at the old Orange Bowl site in Little Havana.