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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looks like good news for the Port Tunnel, Miami Marlins Stadium and Museum Park. Now the question is what happened to the light rail line to Midtown?

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami_dade/story/526505.html

Finding that local leaders were not illegally secretive, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Thursday against part of auto magnate Norman Braman's challenge to the government's massive downtown development plan.

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz called it a ``huge victory for both the city and the county.''

But Circuit Judge Pedro Echarte allowed Braman's other claims to move forward toward a July 1 court date.

''It means there will be a trial,'' said Roberto Martinez, a former U.S. attorney and part of Braman's legal team.

The split decision allowed both sides to claim victory in a fight that has often been about swaying public opinion as much as settling a legal dispute.

County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Miami's Diaz have stood firmly behind the plan, which includes a $619 million ballpark complex for the Florida Marlins, a major face-lift for Bicentennial Park and a new funding source for nearly $500 million in construction debt at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

TUNNEL

The deal also includes about 5 percent of the funding for an underwater tunnel to the Port of Miami and an estimated $1.7 billion through 2030 for development in the impoverished Overtown and Omni areas.

The deal was announced in December, just days before both city and county commissioners approved. Braman said Florida's Sunshine-In-Government Act required public notice of the earlier negotiations, an argument Echarte rejected.

''It is evidence that Miami-Dade County has acted responsibly and within the law,'' Alvarez said in a written statement.

Braman's remaining legal arguments center around the deal itself rather than how it was negotiated. Among them:

• The ballpark budget includes $50 million that voters earmarked for renovations at the Orange Bowl. The county commission shifted that money after plans were made to demolish the football stadium.

Braman contends that violated voters' intent and, moreover, shifted money from a public to private project. ''It's like taking money earmarked for Metrozoo and giving it to Animal Kingdom at Disney World,'' Martinez said.

The county has retorted that it followed its own procedures for making changes to that voter-approved bond issue.

• Many of the projects, including the arts center debt, would be funded from Community Redevelopment Agencies -- special funds that require new property-tax money in blighted areas to be used for neighborhood improvements.

VIOLATION?

The bonds used to build the arts center were partially backed by tourist taxes, and Braman said the infusion of CRA money violated the terms of those bonds.

The government has rejected that interpretation, saying the original tourist taxes will still go to the arts center; if they are not needed to pay off construction, they will help subsidize operations.

• The deal said the additional CRA money for the arts center debt was ``necessary to provide for the city and county contributions to the baseball project.''

County Manager George Burgess has repeatedly insisted the ballpark will actually use tourist taxes, not CRA money, but Braman has called that plan a ''shell game'' to move money outside the neighborhood's boundaries.

• Finally, Braman's suit argues the ballpark does not serve ''a paramount public purpose,'' which would make it ineligible for government backing.

The lawsuit is hardly the only roadblock for the downtown plan. The souring economy has brought the big-ticket projects under increasing scrutiny, and critical votes still lie ahead at both city and county hall.

Martinez predicted the case will not end in Echarte's courtroom. ''No matter who wins here,'' he said, ``this is going to be appealed.''

Miami Herald staff writer Michael Vasquez contributed to this report.
 

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The trolley component seemed to be an on again/off again part of the overall plan all along. I have the sense that it's quietly being dropped as costs rise and the megaplan still faces some hurdles politically and financially.

At least this stage went well, even if the trolley may no longer be part of things.
 

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He simply wants to keep his and the surrounding areas dirt cheap so he does not have to pay a fair share of taxes he is in favor of the opposite of gentrification. He wants to maintain the ghettofication of Miami. His rich customers will come from far, buy and then go back to their homes in Coral Gables or Pinecrest.
 

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nah

I see it differently. I think he did not become a multi millionaire by being stupid, I think he wants those properties as valuable as possible but he knows all those funds spent on the tunnel, park, ballpark etc will not be money spent in his hood, ne 2nd ave so he wants the money spent there so his properties will be much more valuable when he divests himself of them.

Just my opinion of course.
 

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I am really not too hot with the idea of a single cent being spent on a stadium which is going to be owned by a privately run team and not much money being given back to the residents in terms of taxes from the stadium. I have heard that the county or city will get some revenue from the team from stuff bought (I believe) at the stadium but only for about the first 5 years or so and only like 10% something laughable like that. (These number are off and they are a guesstimate, but I am certain a deal like this is going to be part of the stadium).

It would sure be so much sweeter if they spent money like this on expanding metrorail, something that will affect the whole county.

One more thing, the street trolley always seemed to me to be overkill. Downtown Miami has the best bus system of the whole county, metro mover and metrorail what do they need a trolley for? Not to mention the area is pretty walkable. If the trolley went to Miami Beach or Little Havana it would make more sense.

Now the Museums I am totally in favor of they would be a great addition to the park. Would be really nice if the trolley went from where the museums are to the children's Museum/parrot jungle and kept going till the beach.
 

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I am really not too hot with the idea of a single cent being spent on a stadium which is going to be owned by a privately run team
The stadium is not going to be owned by the team, it will be owned by Miami-Dade County.


One more thing, the street trolley always seemed to me to be overkill. Downtown Miami has the best bus system of the whole county, metro mover and metrorail what do they need a trolley for? Not to mention the area is pretty walkable. If the trolley went to Miami Beach or Little Havana it would make more sense.
The train will connect downtown with other areas noth and west of it. Areas like overtown, civic center, wynwood and midtown.
 

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Just because the stadium will be owned by the county does not mean the county will get money. Also isn't the Miami Arena owned by the county or city? If it is that certainly did not do much.

And I would still say the trolley seems like to much. There are areas that could have used it more. But whatever atleast it is not as bad as the stadium. The government always seems to bend over backwards for these privately owned teams, it just irks me a bit. They do not seem to do that with civic projects that could help all citizens like public transport.

The should atleast make sure that we (the county/city) receives a continuous tax revenue from the marlins. And I mean a significant amount, not 5% of sales made at the new stadium or whatever the amount is going to be.

If they do receive a significant tax revenue that could pay-off the amount (how ever many years) we paid for them to have a stadium then it is fine with me.
 

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Streetcar named overkill?

I don't think there's an area more ripe for a streetcar than the areas north of the pac. I mean think about all the new development going on in the area, think about all the new residential towers and businesses opening in burgeoning walkable districts such as Wynwood, Design District, Edgewater and Civic Center. Connecting the design district to downtown and everything in between makes a whole lot of sense to me. It's several magnitudes cheaper than any heavy rail extension and it makes more sense to have a functional multi faceted system in the dense urban core than solitary lines extending out to suburbia where it's less cost effective and the public out there is right down hostile to mass transit.

I'll agree with you on the stadium, it's the wrong place for it and it's throwing good money at a bad plan.
 

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But downtown has an unbelievably good bus system. I live out in the suburbs by FIU where fast frequent bus service means a bus every 30 minutes. When I was at Wolfson campus in downtown, busses passes every 15 minutes at most. It probably is less on some other routes.
 

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I don't think there's an area more ripe for a streetcar than the areas north of the pac. I mean think about all the new development going on in the area, think about all the new residential towers and businesses opening in burgeoning walkable districts such as Wynwood, Design District, Edgewater and Civic Center. Connecting the design district to downtown and everything in between makes a whole lot of sense to me. It's several magnitudes cheaper than any heavy rail extension and it makes more sense to have a functional multi faceted system in the dense urban core than solitary lines extending out to suburbia where it's less cost effective and the public out there is right down hostile to mass transit.

I'll agree with you on the stadium, it's the wrong place for it and it's throwing good money at a bad plan.
Agreed the OB site is awful but by the same token losing baseball would have been a real black eye for the region, imo. Tough call on this one for me---but no question they missed an opportunity by not siting it downtown.

With the streetcar I agree it would have made a nice (and relatively cheap) addition to that corridor. You definitely get the sense it's been quietly dropped from the plan, however. Never seemed like a firm part of it from the get-go...maybe rising overall construction costs on the other components doomed it?
 

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But downtown has an unbelievably good bus system. I live out in the suburbs by FIU where fast frequent bus service means a bus every 30 minutes. When I was at Wolfson campus in downtown, busses passes every 15 minutes at most. It probably is less on some other routes.
Buses are not appealing to a lot of people (like me). Streetcars are more marketable to people who would otherwise not take transit.
 

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Buses are not appealing to a lot of people (like me). Streetcars are more marketable to people who would otherwise not take transit.
Definitely true in my experience. A few years back, Philly restored an old trolley line than runs right through my neighborhood---complete with beautifully refurbished classic cars. Since then, I've found excuses to ride it when I never would have taken a bus and it just seems to add an intangible "cool" factor that a bus just can't pull off.

Obviously, though, having pre-existing tracks makes it a lot easier to accomplish but it's a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing alternative to a bus that I'd love to see in Miami.

 

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MegaPlan

For starters, it is great the the Miami Herald has listened to a rather vocal guy and correctly pointed out that the City of Miami is NOT responsible for the full cost of the Port Tunnel. The City will only contribute 5% of the Billion dollar cost. They have reported, and Norman Brahman has susggested that the Billion dollar tunnel is a waste of City money that will likely run over cost like the PAC. Thanks for getting it right this time Herald....the City kicks in $50M and the private company that will build and operate it will be on the hook for cost overruns.

Next. It is very important to understand the the "Megaplan" is concerned about HOW to fund various projects. This is a subtle difference for most, and when sold to the public, or reported in the paper, the lines of distinction get blurred. Appproving the extenstion of the timeframe and boundries of the CRA areas will provide the funding vehicle that will pay for the individual projects. As it should be, each project will be evaluated on their own merits.

In a lunch with Norman Braman, he explained that he was opposed to the extension of the CRA because it is bad for the people and as a businessman with a conscience he could not stand by and watch it happen. He happens to own some of the bonds used to pay for the PAC, and I'm not sure if that is a motivating factor for him. Brahman's property values would increase with this plan in my opinion, and I believe he believes this to be true.
I firmly believe that the guy has good intentions for our city and has well thought out, articlulate arguments for why the plan should not be accepted.

I disagree with him on the funding source issue.

Expansion of the CRA WILL benefit the people that it was implemented to help, if done properly.

I disagree with his postion on the Port Tunnel. It will be an economic boon during construction, facilitate efficiency for cargo even allowing the driver's who now oppose it to make more trips per day, and it will enhance the saftey of the pedestrians in the CBD.

I agree with his position on the Marlin's Stadium. I can't believe that any business man with his own money at stake would build a Stadium under the terms and conditions of that deal and become a Landlord to that kind of tennant. It makes no sense.
I know this is an emotional topic...personally I'd love a downtown stadium and wouldn't mind paying some for it...but getting bent over a barrel is out of the question.

Frankly, I'm not very well versed on the other individual projects....Street car, seems like a nice idea. The park...Why does a sculpture garden cost $90Million....seems like we could put together a better bid.

At any rate, I've personally heard from Mayor Diaz and from Norman Brahman without the filter of a newspaper reporter or edited for Television. They both present some compelling arguments.
The good projects will be built one way or another. The leadership does have the best interest of the City in mind, and this is an unprecedented time to be alive in Miami.
 

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Just because the stadium will be owned by the county does not mean the county will get money. Also isn't the Miami Arena owned by the county or city? If it is that certainly did not do much.
Never said it would, I was just correcting something you incorrectly stated. Also, the city nor the county own the Arena.

And I would still say the trolley seems like to much. There are areas that could have used it more. But whatever atleast it is not as bad as the stadium. The government always seems to bend over backwards for these privately owned teams, it just irks me a bit. They do not seem to do that with civic projects that could help all citizens like public transport.
I just completely disagree with you on the streetcar, an emerging area like downtown will be connected with key neighborhoods that too are emerging.


And Spellbound I dont know if it was the Herald article that didn't mention it but there is no other sign that the streetcar has been canceled or that its even fading. Theres been other more recent articles in Miami Today for example that do mention it.
 

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And Spellbound I dont know if it was the Herald article that didn't mention it but there is no other sign that the streetcar has been canceled or that its even fading. Theres been other more recent articles in Miami Today for example that do mention it.
It was more a case of seeing it sometimes mentioned, sometimes not in statements by those pushing the overall plan....unlike other components like the tunnel and the ballpark. I just get the sense it's not a high priority and has only lukewarm support politically...but obviously hope that's not the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Chamber of Commerce supports Miami megaplan (Miami Herald)

http://www.miamiherald.com/top_stories/story/543902.html

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce this week officially put its support behind the biggest public works project in Miami in decades -- a megaplan that would help build everything from a port tunnel to a baseball stadium.

The chamber, which represents more than 2,500 area businesses, said it agrees with the city and county plan to expand and extend two community redevelopment districts, which would bring in an estimated $2.9 billion.

Some of that money would help pay off a $484 million construction debt at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Other money would go to a streetcar system, a park near two planned museums at Bicentennial Park and a tunnel to the Port of Miami.

The plan also includes a baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins in Little Havana. According to the agreement, the use of the poverty funds to pay off debt at the performing arts center frees up tourist tax dollars to help build the Marlins a ballpark.

The chamber's resolution, dated Wednesday, said the group ''strongly supports'' the so-called Global Agreement between the city and county. Miami and Miami-Dade commissioners had preliminary votes in December supporting the projects, and are expected to vote on them individually by July. The streetcar project likely will be put on hold.

The projects have drawn some criticism, primarily from auto dealer Norman Braman -- who has the plan tied up in court in a lawsuit that, among other issues, alleges poverty funds would improperly benefit private enterprise through the new baseball stadium.

The county maintains it will own the stadium and that no community development money is being used to build it. The Marlins, city and county are contributing to the stadium, set to open in 2011.
 

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Chamber of Commerce supports Miami megaplan (Miami Herald)The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce this week officially put its support behind the biggest public works project in Miami in decades -- a megaplan that would help build everything from a port tunnel to a baseball stadium.
The chamber, which represents more than 2,500 area businesses, said it agrees with the city and county plan to expand and extend two community redevelopment districts, which would bring in an estimated $2.9 billion.
Some of that money would help pay off a $484 million construction debt at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Other money would go to a streetcar system, a park near two planned museums at Bicentennial Park and a tunnel to the Port of Miami.
The plan also includes a baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins in Little Havana. According to the agreement, the use of the poverty funds to pay off debt at the performing arts center frees up tourist tax dollars to help build the Marlins a ballpark.
The chamber's resolution, dated Wednesday, said the group ''strongly supports'' the so-called Global Agreement between the city and county. Miami and Miami-Dade commissioners had preliminary votes in December supporting the projects, and are expected to vote on them individually by July. The streetcar project likely will be put on hold.
The projects have drawn some criticism, primarily from auto dealer Norman Braman -- who has the plan tied up in court in a lawsuit that, among other issues, alleges poverty funds would improperly benefit private enterprise through the new baseball stadium.
The county maintains it will own the stadium and that no community development money is being used to build it. The Marlins, city and county are contributing to the stadium, set to open in 2011.
See what I mean...once this complex idea goes to print the fine line between approval of the SOURCE of funding and WHAT is being funded gets blurred.
The chamber, which represents more than 2,500 area businesses, said it agrees with the city and county plan to expand and extend two community redevelopment districts, which would bring in an estimated $2.9 billion.
We signed on to support the funding source, but have stopped short of giving full support to each individual element that requires that funding.
 

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For starters, it is great the the Miami Herald has listened to a rather vocal guy and correctly pointed out that the City of Miami is NOT responsible for the full cost of the Port Tunnel. The City will only contribute 5% of the Billion dollar cost. They have reported, and Norman Brahman has susggested that the Billion dollar tunnel is a waste of City money that will likely run over cost like the PAC. Thanks for getting it right this time Herald....the City kicks in $50M and the private company that will build and operate it will be on the hook for cost overruns.

Next. It is very important to understand the the "Megaplan" is concerned about HOW to fund various projects. This is a subtle difference for most, and when sold to the public, or reported in the paper, the lines of distinction get blurred. Appproving the extenstion of the timeframe and boundries of the CRA areas will provide the funding vehicle that will pay for the individual projects. As it should be, each project will be evaluated on their own merits.

In a lunch with Norman Brahman, he explained that he was opposed to the extension of the CRA because it is bad for the people and as a businessman with a conscience he could not stand by and watch it happen. He happens to own some of the bonds used to pay for the PAC, and I'm not sure if that is a motivating factor for him. Brahman's property values would increase with this plan in my opinion, and I believe he believes this to be true.
I firmly believe that the guy has good intentions for our city and has well thought out, articlulate arguments for why the plan should not be accepted.

I disagree with him on the funding source issue.

Expansion of the CRA WILL benefit the people that it was implemented to help, if done properly.

I disagree with his postion on the Port Tunnel. It will be an economic boon during construction, facilitate efficiency for cargo even allowing the driver's who now oppose it to make more trips per day, and it will enhance the saftey of the pedestrians in the CBD.

I agree with his position on the Marlin's Stadium. I can't believe that any business man with his own money at stake would build a Stadium under the terms and conditions of that deal and become a Landlord to that kind of tennant. It makes no sense.
I know this is an emotional topic...personally I'd love a downtown stadium and wouldn't mind paying some for it...but getting bent over a barrel is out of the question.

Frankly, I'm not very well versed on the other individual projects....Street car, seems like a nice idea. The park...Why does a sculpture garden cost $90Million....seems like we could put together a better bid.

At any rate, I've personally heard from Mayor Diaz and from Norman Brahman without the filter of a newspaper reporter or edited for Television. They both present some compelling arguments.
The good projects will be built one way or another. The leadership does have the best interest of the City in mind, and this is an unprecedented time to be alive in Miami.
I agree, I saw him (Norman Brahman) on PBS on Issues (or was it Today in South Florida) and he does seem to be truly concerned with making this community better. I also disagree with him on the tunnel but agree with him on other issues.

Honestly you should not hate him for wanting to make this a better place to live, even if you disagree with him. We should be happy that people give up their time for our community. It would be great if more people like him (with different opinions or whatever) existed.
 
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