I attended today’s county commission meeting to voice my support for many of the projects, particularly the port of Miami Tunnel and the Streetcar. I sat through all 10 hours of testimony and discussion, at times observing our commissioners running around in circles. Hours of discourse could have likely been saved had all the elected members realized from the very beginning that today’s resolution did not guarantee any of these projects but merely paved a path for all of them to return to the commission for approval at a later point in time. The only time sensitive resolution fully moving forward after today’s vote was the Port of Miami Tunnel, already previously approved by the County. Below is a copy of the speech I presented to the commission:
My name is Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal; I am a transportation engineer, urban planning student, and local sustainable planning advocate from transitmiami.com. I am here today to voice my unconditional support for the plan sitting before you; a plan that will revolutionize the city of Miami and will make urban life a real possibility for more county residents.

Miami Streetcar
The Miami streetcar will serve a vital role in the future development of our city. It will serve as an economic catalyst for the entire county by guaranteeing mobility where it is needed most; our downtown core. Contrary to the suburban sprawl most of this commission voted in favor of a few weeks prior, the streetcar will allow the county and city to continue growing in an ecologically and financially sustainable manner for years to come. I cannot begin to quantify the economic benefits our entire community will experience through this measure. Most importantly, the streetcar provides the means with which to construct some truly affordable housing, located within easy reach and facilitating life not governed by the economic constraint of owning a vehicle for personal independence.

Port Tunnel
The benefits the port of Miami tunnel will provide are twofold: providing direct easy access to and from our second largest economic engine and perhaps more importantly, ridding our newly emerging downtown urban center of the traffic, smog, and noise pollution produced by these vehicles daily. The reduction of these nuisances in our city center will foster a hospitable urban environment.

An unprecedented resolution sits before you today aimed at simultaneously solving some of the transit, infrastructure, and societal needs of this community. As is the case with most plans of this size, it isn’t without its share of flaws; however, the economic and intangible benefits these upgrades will produce should be enough to outweigh any of your reservations. I ask that the commission take the necessary steps today to propel Miami into a new, sustainable future.

5 Responses to A Giant Leap in the Right Direction

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great! Thank you for getting your voice out. Congratulations!


  2. Steven says:

    I am somewhat concerned over the commissions override of the mayors veto of the projects outside the UDB. That override is really overshadowing any good that may come from the passing of these major projects in my mind.


  3. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    Anon- Thanks!

    Steven- So am I. I did my best to convey that feeling to the commissioners…The State will reject them, though it shouldn’t have to come to that…


  4. charck says:

    You’re definitely dedicated! Thank you for sitting through everything and getting your excellent points heard.

    I liked the dig about the sprawl-related stuff that “the commission voted in favor of a few weeks prior.”

    Too bad it takes so long for projects like these to come to fruition (if they even do). By that time Greenland may have melted and we’ll all have to move.


  5. FrenchyMiami says:

    Thks Gabriel,

    Can you give me your view on the % chance of the streetcar being built in the next 3 years?

    All the best,


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