Local Officials Hit Pay Dirt On Port Tunnel

The on again off again plan for a tunnel from the port is back on, again

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That rumbling you feel under your feet in downtown Miami today is not from the big rigs coming from the port.

It's Mayor Carlos Alvarez and his buddies jumping up and down after getting the news the state has agreed to move forward with the Port Tunnel deal. 

It took a Tallahassee road trip and a lot of persuasion, but Miami officials have are closer to getting what they want - less traffic downtown and quieter streets.

State Department of Transportation officials recommitted to the project Thursday, backing off a stance earlier in the month that would have sent the underground passage back to square one.

The tunnel is designed to divert traffic from downtown under the Biscayne Bay and connects the Port of Miami to the MacAurthur Causeway.

The $1 billion project was poised to head back to the drawing board after the original contractor, a French group, was having problems coming up with the money.

FDOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos announced she is willing to work with the original winners as long as they come up with a sound financial plan by Oct. 1.

The state wanted to re-open the project to worldwide bidders, which would have probably five years to the completion date of the tunnel.

That's would mean five more years of downtown streets clogged by big rigs and other freight liners coming to and from the port, which was a terrible thought in the mind of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

So he rustled up his buddies from the city council and a couple other people with some state influence and went to Tallahassee.

Sometimes if you make a little noise, and you're not drowned out by the engine of an 18-wheeler, somebody will hear you.

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