FYI Miami: December 31, 2020
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.
FREE FARES EXTENDED: To continue safeguarding residents from contracting Covid-19 by eliminating contact with fareboxes and unnecessary interactions with operators, the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation will extend suspension of fares through Jan. 31 – one month past the date in the county’s 2020-21 budget. Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement of the suspension, which also extends to parking fees and auto-reloads for monthly passholders, “Our No. 1 priority remains protecting the lives and livelihoods of residents during the pandemic, [and] continuing to waive fares will help keep public transit safe while supporting families through this difficult time as we create the foundation for a strong economic recovery.” The mayor and department will also hold a virtual town hall in January, a county press note said, “to dialogue with the community and receive direct input from the public regarding future decisions about reinstating fares. Department Director Alice Bravo last week said she was resigning to pursue private sector work.
CONSTRUCTION SLIDE CONTINUES: The value of construction starts in South Florida was off 30% in November from the total of November of 2019, Dodge Data & Analytics reported. The value of residential starts was off 38% to just over $611 million, while nonresidential starts fell 22% year to year to $610 million. For the first 11 months of 2020, total construction starts in the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties area fell 27% to just over $12 billion.
CHARTER SCHOOL REBUFFED: An appeals court last week turned down arguments by backers of a proposed charter school that the Miami-Dade County Commission had blocked. Somerset Academy Inc. and The University Baptist Church Inc. sought a county zoning exception to build a charter school and an accompanying religious facility, according to the ruling by three judges of the 3rd District Court of Appeal. The county commission, however, rejected the request, and the charter school backers sought a review in circuit court. But a circuit-court appellate panel denied review, and the 3rd District judges backed that decision. “Because the circuit court afforded procedural due process and applied the correct law, we deny the petition,” the ruling by Judges Ivan Fernandez, Monica Gordo and Fleur Lobree said.
GAS PRICE DIPS: Miami gas prices fell 1.2 cents per gallon in the past week to averaged $2.21, according to GasBuddy’s price tracking service. Gas prices in Miami are 14.4 cents per gallon higher than a month ago but stand 28.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.