FYI Miami: September 11, 2014
FARE-FREE NO MORE?: Metromover, the elevated train that circulates a 4.4-mile route in Miami’s urban core, is free of charge. But an ordinance change making its way through Miami-Dade County might change that. At their meeting last week, county commissioners preliminarily approved the amendment. The change says that the county can no longer use certain surtax proceeds to fund fare-free transportation on the Metromover. The commission approved the item 9-3 without much discussion with Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa and Commissioners Xavier Suarez and Bruno Barreiro voting ‘No.’ Next, a hearing on the change is due at the Oct. 15 Transportation & Aviation Committee meeting.
PUBLIX PROCESS: As far as Coral Gables officials know, Publix still plans to move forward with its proposed larger store and condominium tower on LeJeune Road but, since the first official step toward the development, there’s been no interaction between Publix and city departments this summer. During a Design Review Committee meeting May 30, city department representatives asked for a number of changes to the proposal – including further traffic studies, examining proper ventilation procedures for the 793-space garage and consideration of an entrance on Valencia Avenue – before Publix officials meet with the Board of Architects, the next step to approval. Publix has no scheduled meetings with city boards, according to Maria Higgins Fallon, city public affairs manager. Following a meeting with the Board of Architects, Publix must hold a neighborhood meeting before a hearing with Planning and Zoning.
CHINA CONSULATE: Miami-Dade commissioners gave final approval last week to a resolution that directs staff “to develop a plan” to get a Chinese consulate general to open in Miami. The ultimate purpose is to foster trade and tourism ties between Miami and China. Currently, a Chinese consulate in Houston has jurisdiction over South Florida. Commissioner Juan Zapata sponsored the initiative.
UM MILLER SCHOOL #2: UM’s Miller School of Medicine was ranked the No. 2 medical school in the US for Hispanic students in the Hispanic Business Magazine’s 2014 Diversity Report. The Miller School has been among the top five in the report since 2006. The ranking is based on the number of Hispanic students and faculty at a school as well as the number of programs in place to attract and retain Hispanic students. Other UM graduate schools also placed well in their fields. The School of Law was ranked No. 3 and the School of Business was ranked No. 8.