For Immediate Release
Contact: Sean Cooley, Communications Manager, (850) 999-1030, firstname.lastname@example.org
MIAMI – Late yesterday, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announced his objections to the Kendall Parkway expressway in light of the upcoming project review. Audubon Florida Everglades Policy Director Celeste De Palma released the following statement:
“The Senator is right. At the same time that we’re seeing algae blooms affect the east and west coast and the South Florida Water Management District is coming up with ways to redirect Lake Okeechobee flow south, Miami-Dade is proposing a highway that threatens restoration progress? Seems a bit tone-deaf. It shows a clear lack of collaboration with the state agencies in charge of advancing restoration projects that would benefit all of South Florida. Transportation issues are huge in South Florida; I live in Miami-Dade and that’s just a fact. But solutions must be in line with greater plans for the entire region. Transportation solutions in Miami-Dade must remain within the Urban Development Boundary and stay out of Everglades restoration footprint projects.”
Miami-Dade County is proposing an amendment to their Comprehensive Development Master Plan to amend the county’s Transportation and Future Land Use Maps to allow a major expansion of a highway (State Road 836, dubbed the “Kendall Parkway”) by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority west of the County’s Urban Development Boundary that separates developed Miami-Dade County from Everglades National Park and agricultural lands. Earlier in June, the Miami-Dade County Commission voted to preliminarily approve the project and request further feedback from state agencies. Commissioners Daniella Levine Cava and Xavier Suarez were the lone 2 votes against the project. The final Commission vote is expected to take place between September and October.
Audubon Florida joined allies in asking the Department of Economic Opportunity and state agencies reviewing the project to object to the county’s application. The proposed roadway expansion threatens advancing the Bird Drive Basin Recharge Everglades restoration project critical to improving hydrologic conditions in the southern Everglades and provide recharge area for the county’s aquifer. The Bird Drive Basin Recharge Area project is a component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP) and federal and state funds have been invested to purchase land in anticipation of the planning and construction of this CERP project.