Friday, January 27, 2012

The MDX: Driving Miami into the abyss of more sprawl ... by gimleteye

The board of the Miami Dade Expressway Authority, or MDX, is in the midst of approving the extension of the Dolphin Expressway/ SR 836 south into farmland and open space and needs to hear from the public why that is a terrible, horrendous idea. What is at stake is including this project in the MDX 5-year plan. If approved by the MDX board, it will trigger another in a long list of skirmishes at the Urban Development Boundary; this is where the battle to protect the Everglades has been fought over the decades in Miami-Dade County. Unfortunately, the MDX board is poised to do the bidding of land speculators. The board includes land use lobbyists like chairman Felix Lasarte, Gonzolo Sanabria, Al Maloof and Maritza Gutierrez. 

Today is the deadline for public comments. It is worth a moment of time to write to MDX and express your own thoughts about more suburban sprawl next to the Everglades. As if the western edge of Miami-Dade County isn't littered with enough foreclosures and ghost suburbs to last a lifetime. Ask the MDX to withhold approval of this boondoggle from its 5-year plan (the project identifier is #83618). tgarcia@mdxway.com


The MDX is planning to expand the 836 Dolphin Expressway west toward Krome Avenue and then south to Tamiami Airport. In other words, a massive highway project to bail out powerful land speculators whose investments are gathering dust because there is zero demand for the suburban sprawl they helped scatter throughout Miami-Dade County. Ramon Rasco, Sergio Pino, Rodney Baretto, Ed Easton are just some of the shareholders who could extract value from their speculative investments-- made near the top of the real estate bubble-- and fatten profits for land they may or may not even be paying mortgages on. While these issues are beyond the purview of the MDX board, they provide atmospherics of environmental destruction familiar to Southeast Florida: build highways, build sprawl, wreck the Everglades, and make taxpayers foot the bill.


Big highway projects have always served to lubricate the relationship between politics and developers. Given the overdevelopment of Miami-Dade, this kind of project -- and the fraudulent underpinnings of the "extend and pretend" economy-- ought to rejected.


Sierra Club and Tropical Audubon Society write: "We ask the MDX board to remove the 836/Dolphin Expressway Southwest Extension (project 83618) from its 5-year plan. We question the necessity of the this project and am concerned about the impacts to residents, agriculture and America's Everglades. We believe this road is unnecessary and will actually will increase, not alleviate, congestion on SR 836. Commuters currently have the option of taking several highways into downtown Miami. The existing 836, the Florida Turnpike, the 874, the 878 and the 826. Most of these roads have been or are currently being rebuilt to handle greater capacity. Future and existing toll revenues should be used to maintain these roads and provide for public transit alternatives, not to build new roads into environmentally sensitive areas. The project will threaten Everglades National Park and nearby federally-protected wetlands. A new layer of highway extending away from the city will fuel sprawl because of its proximity to the Urban Development Boundary. This highway would attract development of agricultural and wild lands buffering the Everglades and pose a direct threat to the $12 billion federal-state Everglades restoration project."

What this project would also do, is to reinforce exactly the growth pattern that failed Miami-Dade County, wrecked the Everglades, jeopardized thousands of acres of wetlands and farmland, and imposed billions in unfunded infrastructure costs on taxpayers. You don't get out of a ditch by digging the same ditch, deeper. But that is the kind of logic Miami-Dade lobbyists and appointees embraced, in the run-up to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Watch what they do, now.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I truly believe all of the board members need to be removed and eliminate MDX all together and save the tax payers of this county sone mOney and by the way a vote for joe martinez for mayor is a vote for cOmplete environmental disaster in miami dade county

Tony Garcia said...

awesome!!! well said

quote of the day

"What this project would also do, is to reinforce exactly the growth pattern that failed Miami-Dade County, wrecked the Everglades, jeopardized thousands of acres of wetlands and farmland. You don't get out of a ditch by digging the same ditch, deeper. But that is the kind of logic Miami-Dade lobbyists and appointees embraced, in the run-up to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Watch what they do, now."

And agreed with first anon.

Ryan Sharp said...

Yeah well written indeed!

Craig P Chester said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Craig P Chester said...

Sent the below today...

Ms. Garcia,

I ask the MDX board to remove the 836/Dolphin Expressway Southwest Extension (project 83618) from its 5-year plan. I question the necessity of the this project and am concerned about the impacts to residents, agriculture and America’s Everglades.

More importantly, I am wondering what service this project provides other than creating a high-speed tour of America's foreclosure nucleus? These are precisely the kind of projects that exacerbated the housing fiasco we're in the slow process of digging out of. Surely you realize you can't dig out of a hole by digging deeper!

The vile cronyism that is aligning to move this project forward is no secret, despite what your agency may think. While cities across the world are tearing down highway infrastructure, MDX is inexplicably choosing to fly directly into the headwind of reality and expand westward past the UDB and into America's pristine Everglades.

On second thought, it actually is quite explicable - the poisonous political cronyism that knows no bounds is more important to you than acting like a responsible public servant - to the benefit of a select few and at the expense of an entire region and future generations.

I would love for you to present this project to some local elementary school children and explain to them how they'll be faced with the future burden of financing and maintaining this project, the basics of which operate like a Ponzi scheme. Can you look a child in the eye and tell them that a highway is more important for future generations than preserving what's left of our degraded environment?

It's quite sad we are even having this debate in 2012.

I also request you change the following sentence on the MDX website:

"MDX was created by the State of Florida and the Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County to serve as an innovative transportation agency dedicated to the enhancement of mobility in Miami-Dade County. Read our Vision Statement."

There is absolutely nothing "innovative" about highway projects in 2012 that are structurally unnecessary, financially unsustainable and environmentally destructive. It's a shamefully disingenuous message.

Regards,

Craig Chester
Miami, FL

Anonymous said...

Great letter.

Geniusofdespair said...

Good luck with this MDX board:
Felix lasarte
Shelly Smith Fano
Gus Pego
Carlos Fernandez Guzman
Maurice Ferre
Martitza Gutierrez
Jose M. Hevia
Robert Holland
Al Maloof
Louis V. Martinez
Gonzalo Sanabria
Yvonne Soler McKinley

Geniusofdespair said...

oops
and Norman Wartman

Anonymous said...

Come on, Norm, save us. This is crapity, crap, crap, crap.

Anonymous said...

Watch out 104 Street people. Here's your road widening right here. See where that interchange right by the Catholic church. Yup, so that's how they will justify widening 104 Street west of 137th Avenue.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Barry. You finally got what you've been shoveling for years.

Carlos Garcia said...

This project is a prime example of why MDX needs to be abolished and become part of whole transportation agency. We as the residents of Miami-Dade County must demand that all our agencies (MDX, FDOT, MDT, MPO) take on real alternatives and not continue to deal us transportation methadone. It can be done. And it has been done in major cities like Dallas, Seattle, S.F., etc. The mandate and make up of the present MDX board will never get us there. A land developer develops land, land use attorneys lobby for developers and that's what we have here. This project would continue to cause irreparable harm to the already damaged Everglades and promote an unsustainable future for Miami-Dade.

Anonymous said...

Wait, but everyone hates having their elected politicians in charge and want everything to be done by "citizen" groups - like the MDX.

Remember MDX the next time someone pushes for a airport authority or gaming commission or charter task force.

Anonymous said...

Aren't the MDX BOARD appointed by the county commissioners?

Geniusofdespair said...

From MDX website:

Of the 12 volunteers, Florida's Governor appoints five and the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners appoints the remaining seven.

Hardly a makeup of citizens. How about cronies as a better description.

Less is More said...

Check out what MDX has planned for SR 836 MANIFEST DESTINY >WESTWARD HO!

How far? They don't say exactly. Maybe just far enough "to prepare for the future" as their March 19 handout says.

... or is it to create the infrastructure required by exploitative land investors, like Altman Companies in Boca who proudly announced in the Kendall Gazette, Feb.7, 2013: "The Altman Companies to build a 321-unit rental apartment community,being developed at Kendall Square in West Kendall." ... "Lenders for the Development are TD Bank and Behringer Harvard. Bradley Associates and BBX Capital are the equity partners." ... “We are very pleased to be partnering with the Altman Companies on this development, as we continue to build our investment portfolio,” said Seth Wise, president of BBX Capital Asset Management."

And, Lennar's Kendall Square,a "Community Development District." with 1,000 "units" is under construction NOW, on 160 acres previously zoned Agricultural. Cost per unit is over $200,000.00.

I'm sure these favored interest groups would appreciate our toll revenues funding MORE BONDS for MDX WESTWARD EXPANSION.

Do MDX Board Members think we're stupid? (Google MDX Board Members)

"If you build it they will come." Well folks, they're already here, and MDX needs MORE toll money FROM YOU to fund MORE PROJECTS ... and STUDIES for MORE PROJECTS! ... You don't think that after spending $6.5 MILLION Dollars on a "study", they'll accept "No!" for an answer do, ya?

For the record, the Public Record, I'm saying, "NO!" to any westward expansion of 836.

(Google Florida Transportation Commission, the MDX "oversight" agency - somebody's got their eyes closed to what's going on down here)