Miami Port Tunnel clings to life
Miami Port Tunnel clings to life Oct 2009
Paula Wallis, TunnelTalk
The deadline has come and gone, but the State of Florida is refusing to give up on the $1.3 billion Port Miami Tunnel Project. After a week of ultimatums and accusations the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) reluctantly extended its deadline to give the City of Miami more time to get its funding together for the project.

Undersea tunnel to link Wilson Island and Dodge Island

Miami failed to deliver a $50 million letter of credit (LOC) by the State's September 25 deadline, jeopardizing Federal funding and causing the potential collapse of the entire project. In progressively heated letters, FDOT accused the City of backing away from the agreed terms of the financial deal.
Helena Poleo, spokesperson for Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, said the City is working in good faith to resolve the issue, but at close of business yesterday (Oct 1, 2009) the State still did not have the City's letter of credit in hand. FDOT senior office Kevin Thibault, fired off an email to City Manager Pedro Hernandez pushing for a speedy resolution. "We have not heard from you since Saturday, and would like to know what the City's plan of action is," said Thibaut. "As you know, the Secretary has secured extensions of time from the banks, TIFIA (Federal funding source), and MAT (Miami Access Tunnel concessionaire), to allow the City time to wrap this up. Please advise when we can expect the LOC," said Thibault.
According to reports, the concessionaire, lead by French contractor Bouygues, has lined up a low-interest Federal loan that is contingent on the other funding sources being secured.
Miami officials claim that City Manager Hernandez lacks the authority to issue the letter of credit without a vote of the Commission, and refuses to call an emergency meeting. The earliest the Commission could vote on the issue is at its October 8 meeting.
However, FDOT says that a tri-party Master Agreement between the City, the County and FDOT not only authorizes the City Manager to deliver the promised funding without a Commission vote, but obligates him to do so. The city now has until next Thursday to make good on its promise of funding, but its unclear what will happen if this new deadline is also missed.
Miami Port Tunnel finally a project! - TunnelTalk, Oct 2009
Miami Port Tunnel troubles continue - TunnelTalk, Sep 2009
Miami Port Tunnel on life support - TunnelTalk, Jan 2009
Miami still on hold - TunnelTalk, Aug 2008


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