American Shipper

Miami Chamber endorses port tunnel

Miami Chamber endorses port tunnel

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Thursday signed a resolution expressing it 'strong support' for the Port of Miami tunnel project and urging the City of Miami to provide $50 million in local funding the project.

   The $1 billion port tunnel project, which would create a direct link between the port and Interstate highway system — bypassing the current port access that requires drayage truckers to haul containers through a series of traffic lights in downtown Miami — has already been approved at the state and county levels.

   The Florida Department of Transportation, the lead government entity for the project, has put up $400 million. That amount has been matched by Miami-Dade County.

   But the City of Miami has yet to allocate its $50 million share for the project. The overall funding plans also calls for the city to provide a $5 million right-of-way from Watson Island to the port.

   The tunnel would extend from I-395, a causeway which runs parallel to the port, to the north side of the port. The Port of Miami is located on conjoined, man-made islands just off of downtown Miami.

   The chamber resolution also urges other local organization to show support for the tunnel project. The chamber said the project is important 'to the economic prosperity of the port and ultimately our community.'

   The FDOT and the county have already selected a contractor for the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2013. But some final details for funding the project have yet to be worked out. Port officials have said there is a very real chance they would rely on an out-bound toll to cover the final portion of the tunnel costs.