The Port of Miami Tunnel’s opening on Sunday, August 3, 2014 marked a rousing day for Miami. Not just because police cruiser sirens, motorcyclists and tractor trailers inaugurated new, underwater lanes for thousands of vehicles to soon follow, but because it signaled a great accomplishment in the world of public-private partnerships that will benefit Miami for decades to come.
Though the opening was delayed by a few proverbial speed bumps, the completion of the task and this highly complex project, is what is newsworthy.
- The Port of Miami Tunnel is a 0.75 mile highway tunnel under Biscayne Bay connecting the MacArthur Causeway on Watson Island with the Port of Miami on Dodge Island, now known as State Road 887.
- The Tunnel was built through a public-private partnership that included the design, construction, finance, operation and maintenance of project by a 35-year concession agreement between the Florida Department of Transportation (Owner) and MAT Concessionaire, LLC (Concessionaire).
- The Tunnel will divert the 16,000 vehicles that travel each weekday through downtown Miami, lifting restrictions on the Port’s ability to grow, keeping costs for Port users low and reducing safety hazards on our streets.
The economic benefits to the Port of Miami are what many believe to be the best (and strongest) long term effect this Tunnel will offer Miami. The Port currently provides 176,000 jobs, $6.4 billion in wages, and $17 billion in economic output for our region (Source: 2007 Port of Miami Economic Impact Study). With the expansion of the Panama Canal expected this year, there will be an increase in the amount of Asian cargo on the East Coast, and our Tunnel will now be able to handle this additional traffic and load successfully. This increased trade will also have a great impact on other markets in Miami “such as customs brokers, freight forwarders and logistics firms, all who will need additional warehouse and office space in Miami.” A strong trade industry spurs an even stronger economy, and all of Miami is the beneficiary of the strength of public-private partnerships and their ability to make great projects happen.