A Test For Democracy: Will City of Coral Gables Start Spending Again?

Seems like there is certain pressure from businesses and a willing disposition of the city manager and some commissioners to start spending big on city projects.  It is said that we can do that because interest rates are low–not a good financial reason.

There is pressure from Chamber of Commerce, Miracle Mile businesses and the IBD to undertake the Miracle Mile and Giralda Streetscape Project.  This is (and I underline) estimated to cost $16 million.  You can bet that the project will cost more after government and businesses get their hands on the “vision” project.  Why is this called the Miracle Mile Streetscape anyway, when it includes Giralda.  Why include Giralda?  Are you sure that this project will “pay for itself?”

One commissioner has already talked about spending money on parks and a senior center and speaks fondly of the free (subsidized) trolley and the Ponce street upgrading.  Good projects, but can we afford more of them now?  I think not.  Why should the taxpayers subsidize the trolley. (By the way, subsidizing the trolley takes business away from the city parking lots, so the real subsidies are much larger than the operating and maintenance costs of the trolley).

Let’s hear from the mayor and commissioners just three goals: we need to fix pensions and hold salaries down for several years, freeze or reduce taxes and fix the Biltmore lease, and freeze and reduce salaries.  Please, no more studies are needed–just decisions and actions by the commissioners.

Failure to do any of these will mean failure for the city’s finances and more taxes for us all in Coral Gables.

I Wonder Where Miami Stands on Traffic Stress

Imagine, New York and Los Angeles are towards the middle of the ranking.  I would think that Miami is in the “Los Angles” range of stress and getting better with the real estate bust and the net outflow of people from Florida.

The daily commute in some of the world’s most economically important international cities is longer and more grueling than before imagined, reflecting the failure of transportation infrastructure to keep pace with economic activity, according to IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) first global Commuter Pain study released today.

IBM surveyed 8,192 motorists in 20 cities on six continents, the majority of whom say that traffic has gotten worse in the past three years. The congestion in many of today’s developing cities is a relatively recent phenomenon, having paralleled the rapid economic growth of those cities during the past decade or two. By contrast, the traffic in places like New York, Los Angeles or London has developed gradually over many decades, giving officials more time and resources to address the problem.

via IBM Press room – 2010-06-30 IBM Global Commuter Pain Study Reveals Traffic Crisis in Key International Cities – United States.

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