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To the editor:

It has just come to light that in March of this year, a group of architects, engineers and their financial partners filed with Miami-Dade County an “unsolicited proposal” for a public/private partnership to redevelop the Rickenbacker Causeway from the entrance to and past Bear Cut, including a new Bear Cut Bridge. The proposal includes the redevelopment of Venetian Causeway. The work is to be financed with higher toll revenues. From what has now surfaced, it is clear that the county has been privately working with the development group for a lengthy period.

The County Commission is adopting a resolution directing staff to prepare a public bidding process for others to compete with the proposal. Bundling the two projects together is concerning, however, as it will limit competition and suggests that one will help finance the other. To say the least, the group with their feet in the door have an enormous advantage.

So what does this mean for Key Biscayne, the parks and the Village? I don’t know and can’t find out. The county has declared the unsolicited proposal confidential, meaning that the public cannot see what has been proposed or how much tolls will increase to pay for it.

There is no question that the Bear Cut Bridge must be replaced. The county’s own engineering report established the likelihood that the 1940’s foundation would not survive a Cat 2 storm. How it is replaced, however, is something that should concern all of us.

Gene Stearns

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