Written by Miami Today on June 10, 2010
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TUNNEL VISION: Construction is usually expensive, but so can be de-construction. Directors of Miami Parking Authority last week approved spending up to $140,000 to demolish part of parking lot 68 on Watson Island to allow for construction of the Port of Miami tunnel. The lot, adjacent to Miami Children’s Museum, was built on parcels owned by the City of Miami and the Florida Department of Transportation. "It was always contemplated that, at a future date, FDOT might require might require that MPA and the City of Miami vacate the parcels," if improvements to Watson Island were made, wrote Arthur Noriega, authority executive director, in a memo to directors. A new, smaller lot will continue to serve that part of the island.
CONE GONE?: Miami-Dade’s "Cone of Silence" could be on the way out. Commissioners with no discussion last week OK’d in an 8-5 vote Barbara Jordan and Natacha Seijas’ legislation that would eliminate the lobbyist-control measure that restricts communication during procurement processes. Bruno Barreiro, who tried to kill the cone in 2008, has jumped in to co-sponsor the latest attempt. The county’s Health, Public Safety & Intergovernmental Committee is to hold a hearing July 15.
TRANSIT PLAN: Miami-Dade commissioners gave unanimous initial approval to Barbara Jordan’s latest move to strengthen the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust that oversees the county’s half-penny sales surtax for transportation. She hopes to see a new five-year implementation plan for transportation projects funded by the surtax, and to allow the trust to make recommendations on contracts ahead of the commission. The commission’s transit committee is to discuss it July 14.
BABY STEPS: IMPARK, which until recently was receiving $130,000 annually from the Public Health Trust to operate a money-losing valet service at Jackson Memorial Hospital, started flying solo June 1. "IMPARK now controls the entire process [so] that there’s no subsidy from Jackson at all," said Miami Parking Authority Chief Executive Officer Arthur Noriega. The authority had been in negotiations to take the company off Jackson’s dime since early May in an effort to help cut costs. The service fell victim to a "living wage" ordinance requiring Miami-Dade County employees at the hospital to be paid at least $13.01 per hour. Privatizing the service exempts the firm’s employees from the ordinance. Valet service is now offered Monday through Saturday at two of the hospital’s entrances. The company is operating under a one-year contract with three one-year renewal options.