The April 5th edition of the respected Miami Today weekly marks the first time in print by any publication we have seen that lists the estimated cost of the proposed Port of Miami tunnel at $1.3 billion. That's a $100 million increase without a spade of dirt being turned. Pass the mojitos, please.
UpDate (5/3): The following consortium won the right to build the $1.3 billion tunnel: Bouygues Publics Travaux (French), Babcock and Brown (Australian), Jacobs Engineering (U.S.), and Transfield Services (Australian). The 35-year concession agreement still needs to be negotiated and the state is still waiting for firm commitments from the county and the city for $450 million for their half of the construction costs.
UpDate (5/11): The Miami Herald discovers that Bouygues Pulbics Travaux has ties to Cuba, having built 11 high-end resorts with the Cuban military since 1999. Considering the flavor of local politics, this could be a deal breaker.
UpDate (6/21): A resolution pledging $50 million from an unnamed source was removed from last week's city of Miami commission agenda and deferred to July 10th. The administration is targeting community redevelopment funds. Commissioner Tomás Regalado has promised to move to deny the funds.
UpDate (7/24): 9 County commissioners pledge $402.5 million towards the tunnel. Only 3 vote against it on political reasons (Cuba): Javier Souto, a Bay of Pigs veteran, Natacha Seijas, and Rebeca Sosa. Joe Martinez was absent. Now its up to the City of Miami to pledge their share: $55 million. That vote is not expected to take place before September. Commissioners, nervous about paying their share, suggest tolling the tunnel and the existing bridge to the Port. Tolls for trucks would be as high as $7.00 per outgoing truck. Cruise lines are against tolling as it would affect employees and increase surcharges to cruise line passengers.
UpDate (12/13/08): Christmas comes early with the announcement that the tunnel project succumbs to a well-deserved death when the state and Bouygues Travaux Publics can't agree on terms. Hurray!