FYI Miami: December 13, 2018
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
LUXURY TAX VOTE PUT OFF: A resolution urging Florida lawmakers to impose a “luxury tax” on transfers of residential properties valued $1 million or more and a “vacancy tax” on certain unoccupied commercial and residential properties will go to a future vote, as Miami-Dade commissioners on Dec. 4 deferred the item sponsored by Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who was absent. Before voting to postpone a decision, Commissioner Joe Martinez said he thought it was “unfair.” Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said such legislation, though well-intended, could lead to adverse effects. “I don’t want to see children, after parents work all their life to be able to buy a house, suffering and losing because [of a death in the family],” she said. “A property owner should have the right to keep a property vacant if they choose to do so.”
AIRPORT HOLDS GAINS: Total passenger and freight loads both decreased year-over-year at Miami International Airport in October, but both categories remain in plus territory for the first 10 months of 2018. October passenger totals were down 5.39% from October 2017 to 3,517,238, and freight loads were down 6.13% from October 2017 to 207,096 tons. Still, the airport handled 37,102,105 passengers in the year’s first 10 months, up 1.86% from the first 10 months of 2017, and the total of 1,890,160 tons of freight carried was up 3.73% from the same period of 2017. The biggest gain for the year is domestic freight tonnage, up 17.25% from the first 10 months of 2017.
$100 MILLION TO SOUTH DADE: The Florida Department of Transportation has informed the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) it included $100 million of new state transportation funds in its tentative work program for the South Corridor of the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan, according to a release from Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Esteban Bovo Jr. “This is great news for Miami-Dade County and the SMART Plan,” he said in a prepared statement. “These funds will help us deliver on the promise of better transit options and improve quality of life for residents of South Dade.” The TPO in August selected gold standard bus rapid transit as the locally preferred alternative for the South Corridor, approved a financial plan to deliver the roughly $300 million project and requested that two-thirds of the funds come from state and federal matches. Last week, following the selection of elevated transit for the county’s North Corridor, Mr. Bovo commended fellow TPO board members for “[checking] their egos at the door” in agreeing on appropriate transit solutions, adding that their progress this year is “a testament to a lot of the work that we’ve been doing.”