Written by Miami Today on June 20, 2013
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SEAPORT BONDS: Miami-Dade commissioners will hold a hearing July 16 on the plan to issue up to $885 million in bonds and use proceeds for Port Miami projects, including parallel tunnels to the port from Watson Island now being completed and dredging of channels to handle larger cargo ships expected to come through the Panama Canal starting in 2015. Commissioners voted 12-0 Tuesday to sail the proposal ahead. According to Deputy Mayor Edward Marquez, $165.7 million from the bond sales will be used for channel dredging, $209.5 million for the tunnels, and $289.1 million to improve five terminals for cruise ships, rehabilitate rail facilities to resume former rail cargo service, buy four larger gantry cranes to serve the larger cargo ships anticipated, and port-wide facility upgrades. Port revenues and interest on funds held for repayment are to pay off the bonds.
EDUCATION’S IMPACT: Without discussion, Miami-Dade’s Finance Committee sent to the full county commission last week a proposal to order a study within 90 days of the economic impact of the larger colleges and universities in the county. If the full commission approves, the mayor will be asked to study the total economic impact of higher educational institutions with 2,000 or more students, report the individual economic impacts of their major sub-units, report on the global engagement of each school and explain how that engagement might lead to foreign investment and trade. The resolution by Commissioner Lynda Bell cites as the reason for the study that the economic impact of the schools has not been measured.
PRICE? IT’S YOUR GAS: Gas prices in South Florida averages $3.60 in May, down 19.3 cents a gallon from May 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. GasBuddy, a gasoline price website, reported the average price in Miami at $3.58 this week, up 3.7 cents from last week and 15.3 cents higher a gallon than the same week a year ago. The American Automobile Association said gas in Florida averages $3.519 a gallon Sunday, inching up after President Obama authorized support for Syrian rebels. An AAA spokeswoman said she expected prices to rise this week "as tensions in the Mideast increase."
NO BRIDGES TO FALL DOWN: Miami is looking to aid repairs of crumbling bridges on the Rickenbacker Causeway by giving Miami-Dade County revocable access to 75,000 square feet on the causeway to do the work. The use agreement is for 13 months, for which the county is to pay the city a use fee of $2,000 per month, plus any state use tax. The city commission is to act on the deal June 27.