Some say convincing a majority of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commission that Key Biscayne’s (perceived) wealthy elitists should be given a public cash cow for their private driveway is going to be tough.

Just as difficult is to expect the Commission to be overly empathic to subsidizing low tolls for the same wealthy residents. But in reality, the P3 process is the same -- gifting a revenue-producing public resource to a well-connected group of wealthy investors, with the only universal certainty being that tolls will rise dramatically for everyone.

Taking a larger view, privatization of the Rickenbacker Causeway is an admission of failure by our government, and the resulting private toll is a regressive tax on the thousands of largely service industry workers who depend on the causeway, as well as the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to Key Biscayne for its unique recreational opportunities. Not to mention the core group of daily commuters

The causeway is public infrastructure and carries everyone, rich and poor, on and off the Key -- the same way sewer systems are public infrastructure carrying everyone’s waste. As Commissioner Raquel Regalado likes to point out in her famous sewer-for-all presentations, the public should not have to pay a premium for access to it's infrastructure.

Lastly, the inevitable “development” of the scenic causeway will ruin the very thing that makes it scenic. Is there a public outcry for a bike-tourist-bathroom-information-souvenir shop on Hobie Beach?

Once the vista is gone, it’s gone forever. And even if this generation of politicians manages to hold this generation of Z-developers in check, there is no telling what 80 years holds. Leopards don’t change their spots.

Profit and tax revenue are always a far more powerful force than private stewardship of the public vistas.

Remember: It was only after developers tore down the iconic New Yorker hotel on South Beach that the preservation movement was born. Will it only be after the Rickenbacker is lost to private hands that we realize the Miami-Dade bastardized version of a P3 process sucks?

And don’t get me started on the Parks Department as the oversight board. The only reason they are project managers for this (mess o a project) is they do what they are told and will leverage the public’s good will towards Parks to promote whatever foolishishnees the county comes up with -- like private basketball arenas and baseball stadiums.

This process has turned into a loose cannon.

#killzplan now…

Charles Collins


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