Written by Miami Today on May 2, 2013
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VISITOR BONANZA: Boosted by a string of events, Miami-Dade rated top in the nation in March in daily hotel occupancy rate, daily room rate and revenue per available room in figures from Smith Travel Research. The occupancy rate of 89.1% was far ahead of second-ranked Orlando at 84.3% and 4.1% ahead of Miami-Dade’s occupancy in March 2012. The average daily room rate of $238.12 was ahead of number-two New York’s $236.56 and 14.4% ahead of Miami-Dade’s average the prior March. The revenue per available room of $212.20 far surpassed second-ranked New York’s $197.39 and was 19.1% ahead of Miami-Dade’s rating in March 2012. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau cited such events as the Sony Open, the Winter Music Conference and Ultra for driving rates and occupancy higher.
FOR WHOM THE STATE TOLLS: The chairman of Miami-Dade’s legislative delegation, Rep. Eduardo Gonzalez, has asked Ananth Prasad, secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, for a report detailing revenues and expenditures of funds related to I-95 express lanes and other tolls generated in Miami-Dade, including those on Florida’s Turnpike. He asked for a focus on how the funds are being spent. His request followed up on an April request by the Miami-Dade County Commission that state tolls generated within the county be used solely within the county. He asked the state transportation department what the consequences might be were the proposal to be enacted in law.
TURNPIKE WIDENING: Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise will hold an informational meeting on the widening of the Florida Turnpike from Campbell Drive to US 1 to listen to views "concerning the location, conceptual design, social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed improvements,Ó said Thomas G. Percival Jr., manager of the Environmental Management Office of the turnpike enterprise. Notices were sent to owners of property within 300 feet of the proposed project. The open house is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 14 at the Miami Dade College Homestead Campus, 500 College Terrace, Building F, in Homestead. Details: (407) 264-3802.
ICE CAP AID: Dr. Cecilia Bitz, a University of Washington associate professor of atmospheric sciences, has won this year’s Rosenstiel Award from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science on Virginia Key. Last month, Dr. Bitz briefed Congress on Arctic sea ice loss.