December 8-10, 2014
SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee Delegation
Multimodal Transportation Strategies
A delegation of Southern state legislative leaders recently traveled to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for high-level briefings on the state’s multimodal transportation strategies. The agenda was designed to provide first-hand information to legislators from states belonging to The Council of State Governments’ (CSG) Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), about Florida’s efforts to enhance its multimodal capacities as a mechanism to promote international and domestic trade. Representative Yonts remarked that this SLC-sponsored visit reinforced the “need for continued investments in Kentucky’s airports, ports, rail and highways to ensure that Kentucky remains competitive in the global economy.”
The technical tour and briefings, which the SLC’s Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee organized with the assistance of the Florida Department of Transportation, reflected this SLC Committee’s focus in recent years: the importance for Southern states to continuing developing strong multimodal platforms. Given that Florida has one of the most comprehensive, robust multimodal strategies in the country, legislators from other SLC states were eager to learn more about financing and operating critical multimodal assets with an eye toward possibly enacting similar projects in their own states.
Briefings included presentations by Dr. Emilio González, director, Miami-Dade Aviation Department at Miami International Airport (MIA), the top-ranking U.S. airport for international freight; and a tour of the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC), a complex that included the airport’s car rental center, MIA connecting people-mover, MetroRail, Tri-Rail, Amtrak, bus transit, and road connections to the regional expressway system. The delegation also visited the LAN Air Cargo Facility, a facility that receives nearly 80 percent of the cut flowers imported into the United States. The delegation than travelled to PortMiami for briefings by officials, including Mr. Kevin Lynskey, deputy director, PortMiami, on the Port’s cruise terminals and cargo handling facilities. Briefings and a visit to the docks for details on the port’s preparations for the expansion of the Panama Canal, including the acquisition of post-Panamax Cranes and the construction, through a public private partnership, of the $1.2 billion PortMiami tunnel was included.
Additional site visits and briefings followed in Fort Lauderdale and a drive-through the I-595 Express Managed Lanes, the three tolled, reversible express lanes that opened in March 2014. Officials indicated that the lanes had eased congestion in the area considerably. The delegation then traveled to the Port Everglades Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, the 42.5-acre, near-dock intermodal container transfer facility that moves international and domestic containers between ship (Port Everglades) and rail (Florida East Coast Railway), for a briefing and a tour led by Mr. William Greenough, project manager, Florida East Coast Railway. Representative George Moraitis, Florida, accompanied the SLC delegation on this segment of the visit. The tour and briefings continued with Mr. Steve Cernak, director and Mr. Glenn Wiltshire, deputy director at Port Everglades providing details on Port Everglade’s cargo, cruise and petroleum operations. The final destination on the agenda was the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for a briefing by Mr. Steve Wiesner, assistant director for Airport Development and a drive to the nearly $810 million runway extension project.