Miamidade Planners Scramble To Pull Together Quorum Before Funding Deadline
By Shannon Pettypiece
The Metropolitan Planning Organization has been trying to round up enough members for a special meeting today (8/21) on a proposed Metrorail extension to Miami International Airport before a federal review deadline.
Because many commissioners are on vacation, the county’s transportation planning organization on Tuesday was one member shy of the 11-person quorum it needs to vote on the extension, officials said.
The group was to discuss the topic during last month’s meeting but ran out of time.
"This is a follow-up to last month’s meeting, where Commissioner (Betty) Ferguson suggested a special meeting should be held in order for us to meet the Aug. 28 deadline," said Danny Alvarez, executive director of Miami-Dade County’s Office of Public Transportation Management.
For a 2.5-mile link between Earlington Heights Metrorail Station and a proposed $1.3 billion transportation hub to get in the federal funding cycle this year, the county must send final plans to Washington by Aug. 28.
If it doesn’t meet the deadline, the county might not get $400 million in federal funds it is counting on for the project for another year.
Some members have wanted to discuss how a Metrorail extension would interfere with private properties such as Jones Boatyard along the Miami River, County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro said last month. A spokesman for Mr. Barreiro said the commissioner won’t attend today’s meeting at Parrot Jungle Island.
Organization Chairwoman Barbara Carey-Shuler is on vacation and won’t attend, a spokesman said Tuesday.
"We understand the federal government is doing everything it can to knock off projects, and they would love to knock us off," Ms. Carey-Shuler said at last month’s meeting. "But you’ve put us in the position of having to meet a deadline right now."