South Florida Intercoastal

Advocacy Report

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Aug 25, 2020 Tue

The comment period for the FEC Bridge ended on August 12th with very few comments submitted. MIASF responded with a few clarifying items but, in general, the operation with predictable openings has provided boaters with defined openings at a minimum, and assured openings they can schedule a trip around.

Speaking of bridge operation, we have completed the scheduled and a few unscheduled closures over August for the installation of new tracks to permit freight to travel at a higher rate of speed over the bridge. They will now be able to cross the bridge at 40mph, which is a significant improvement to the previous 10 mph. The project was not without its challenges and to the credit of the construction team at one point the bridge was not able to open and they called a crane to the site to resolve the opening problem until the repair was accomplished.

Many of you may have seen in the local news that Brightline has severed its relationship with Virgin Trains and has returned to their Brightline brand. This has had no impact on the good working relationship with the train operational staff and MIASF as there has been no change in personnel.

Earlier this month MIASF and its federal lobbyist, Duncan Smith, met with U.S.C.G. to discuss the speed at which NTVRP plans are approved, typically up to 60 days. The impact of this is most apparent at the time of an offshore sale and the inability for the new owner to return to the U.S. without an approved NTRVP. A one-time waiver is a possibility however, it is currently against policy in the Miami sector. The Washington, D.C. U.S.C.G. office is currently coordinating a meeting with District 7 leadership to bring the discussion to the local area.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has presented the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) for the Miami-Dade County Back Bay Study design to control storm surge. The plan includes a floodwall in Biscayne Bay at Brickell that will include a prohibition of boating and mooring within a mile of the structure and surge barriers at the entrance of Miami River that will narrow the navigation area in a critical space. Also include in the TSP is identification of areas for potential non-motorized areas. MIASF has submitted a letter commenting on our areas of concern with the plan as has the Miami-based Marine Council.