Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How to Turn MIA into a Multi-Billion Dollar Turkey Vulture Landing Strip

Spend money. Lots of it. $6.2 billion worth of it. Spend so much with no end in sight that you get Moody's Investors Service to downgrade MIA bonds. Spend so much a consultant recommends an independent review of the airport's building plans because of a $1 billion overrun. Spend so much airlines are driven away to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport where the cost of doing business is cheaper.

Right now, MIA is one of the most expensive airports in the US with per passenger charges to airlines more than double the average. When Moody's heard that another $1 billion was going to be requested from the county commission, they opined that if more money is thrown into the money pit, "airline costs will rise significantly enough to potentially erode future traffic and revenue."

Talk about irony. This is the same kind of thing predicted for the $1.2 billion Port of Miami tunnel should it get built. Shippers and truckers will be hit with fees that will drive them to Port Everglades in Broward county. This kind of talk would make most sober individuals pause-- unless, of course, you were the mastermind behind the port tunnel. Before becoming Miami-Dade Aviation Director, Jose Abreu was Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation. His response to cost overruns at MIA is to "move forward...on the North Terminal. We're still working on the 'Can we afford it?' part."

And you wonder why our cost of living keeps going up? It's because of bureaucrats and technocrats who don't see dollar signs, only numbers, who aren't held accountable with fines or imprisonment when they lose control of the reins. Instead, the worst that might happen to them is that they would get fired with a "golden parachute" to protect their incompetent asses.

This foreseen exodus to Broward is already happening with your average Dade resident. Many have been driving northward to Ft. Lauderdale for years to fly in and out of south Florida because of significantly cheaper flights.

In the end, after spending billions and billions of dollars, Dade may find it no longer has any commercial air or seaport user problems not because of its bank breaking building programs but because it doesn't have any users-- they've all moved their base of operations to Broward. I'm sure those county commisisoners are sitting back watching this county dig itself into a hole that it can't climb out of, knowing if they remain patient long enough, increased commerce will naturally find its way to less expensive Broward with little effort on their part.

MVB urges the Miami-Dade County commission to put an end to the madness when they are asked to vote on the requested extra billion MIA dollars next year. Enough is enough. Let Abreu and his crew find other ways to "make ends meet," a phrase we're sure he has never heard up until now. According to the Miami Herald, he's been forced to explore cost cutting alternatives that range from no longer watering the plants at the airport to rock mining at the decommissioned Opa-Locka West airport. According to the "experts," selling our rocks should bring in between $200 million to $400 million over ten years.

We are reminded of the words of Sir Manny Mojito, King of Little H, that "Miami is such a silly place," where the solution to digging us out of a hole in the ground is to dig yet another. And where the only thing our new state-of-the-art airport may be able to attract after spending billions and billions of dollars are those big, ugly turkey vultures from Hinkley, Ohio that have come south for the winter looking for empty skies unhindered with air traffic so they can circle lazily, waiting patiently like the Broward county commissioners, for MIA to die before swooping down to dine on obscenely expensive citizen-fed carrion.

UpDate (5/15/08): Today the Miami Dade County Commision will vote on whether or not to increase funding the North Terminal by another $64.3 million in order to finish the baggage handling system ($43.5 million) and the automated people mover ($20.8 million). How can they say no? And so it goes.


frank abignale, jr. said...

TIME MAGAZINE: There's Trouble--Lots Of It--in Paradise

Restless locals call Miami a corrupt, exorbitant mess, and many are leaving . . .


click my name to check it out . . .

Verticus said...

Ouch! Thanks for the link, Frank.