FYI Miami: October 8, 2020
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MEDS ALOFT: Cargo continues to grow at Miami International Airport (MIA), as this month the top economic generator for Miami-Dade welcomed five additional weekly flights from Europe’s leading hub for handling temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products, including vaccines. Europe Air Transport Leipzig, a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Group, will bring up to 325 tons of pharma products weekly, a press note from MIA spokesperson Greg Chin said, adding to the airport’s booming freight business that last year saw MIA handle $3.7 billion in pharma imports and exports. “Air cargo has never been more essential to the wellbeing of our community and our country than during a global crisis,” Aviation Director Lester Sola said. “As the busiest international freight airport in the US, MIA is uniquely positioned to quickly receive and transport life-saving pharma products, vaccines and medical supplies to markets around the world.”
NORTHEAST CORRIDOR PUNTED: Tapping a rule that any item added to a legislative agenda within four days of a scheduled meeting can be kicked to the next one, Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez delayed a vote Tuesday on where to place stops along a proposed Brightline corridor between downtown Miami and Aventura. A nonbinding agreement between the county and Brightline will also wait until next meeting. Scrutiny of the pending deal between the private rail operator and the county to run a public commuter service on what’s known as the Northeast Corridor of the county Smart Plan has grown in recent weeks, including confusion over control of existing rail lines and assertion by the Federal Transit Administration that the corridor needs at least seven stops to be cost-effective. Current plans include only five. Agreeing with Mr. Martinez that the item needs more attention, Commissioner Eileen Higgins said, “This is something that requires intense analysis and workshops.”
FAST FPL DEPOSIT REFUNDS: The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved a plan by Florida Power & Light to speed up refunds of deposits for tens of thousands of customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. FPL announced the plan last month as part of steps that also included providing bill credits of up to $200 to some residential and small-business customers. FPL said in its filing that the move to speed up refunds of deposits would return $9 million to $11 million to 50,000 to 60,000 residential customers. Ordinarily, deposits are refunded after 23 months to customers with good payment records. The plan is a one-time move that will shorten the period to 12 months.