South Florida Intercoastal

Advocacy Report

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Jul 27, 2021 Tue

The U.S. Coast Guard Change of Command at District 7 happened this month. Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson assumed responsibility for Coast Guard activities throughout the 1.7 million square mile area including Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina as well as 34 foreign nations and territories. His 30+ year career, including his most recent assignment serving as military advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, has prepared him for D7. He has also served on previous assignments in Miami so drug smuggling, search and rescue, and hurricanes are expected challenges he is ready for. His first week in command he faces the humanitarian flotilla efforts to Cuba, proving this command will be anything but dull. Many other USCG officers have changed duty stations this year and we are in the process of organizing, with the help of Water Taxi, an educational tour up the New River for those new department heads whose responsibilities are closely related to marine industries operation.
Fort Lauderdale is looking to the future for traffic solutions. Investigating the option to solve the traffic access to the beach through an unsolicited bid from the Boring Company for a tunnel is exciting. Investment in innovation and infrastructure will be necessary to keep Fort Lauderdale a live work and play community as our population continues to grow and land to expand roadways becomes scarce. Another company bringing innovation to our community is Lilium with an electric jet service and a proposed network of 14 vertiports connecting Central Florida and South Florida. Getting us out of our cars is the future.
Other future traffic solutions also include the plan for the addition to commuter service on the east coast rail line. We are currently in the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study phase of the project. The navigation study which identifies the amount of traffic and the air draft clearance on the New River needs more information to assure the preferred bridge height will accommodate and not impede the vessel traffic destiny for our shipyards. Each business on the New River has received a short vessel survey asking to identify the percentage of your customers that would require an opening of a bridge with a 21’ clearance. We believe an additional 21’ bridge would be an impediment to navigation, and we need your statistics to verify that. All the other options suggested tunnel, 56’ bascule or 80’ fixed would solve the navigation issue on the river, which option is chosen is up to city leaders, FDOT and input from the community. Look for the public meetings to start in September.
Each year the MIASF participates in Broward Days and more specifically, the marine industry impact team. We meet several times leading up to the start of the Florida legislative session to create a white paper identifying and prioritizing our issues including Port Everglades dredging, additional slip availability in the manatee plan, funding and fast tracking the commuter rail project, just to name a few. Then we will go to Tallahassee to educate the legislature about our issues on January 18th and 19th. We will begin this process in the mid- August time frame. If you would like to participate in the marine industry impact team, send an email to requesting to be added to the Broward Days meeting notice.