Earlier this week, at the invitation of Sen. Bill Nelson, I appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to discuss how the federal government can address our country’s ailing infrastructure. I discussed the pressing needs that cities like Miami Beach face today, and the list of projects that communities must prioritize for the next decade’s demands.
I explained how the problems we face on Miami Beach are issues common to many major American cities: resiliency, connectivity and bureaucracy.
Our city has been investing in infrastructure that can stand strong against the threat of climate change. But we still have more work to do to address connectivity among cities within the same county, and across the state. Florida is a prime example of why the federal government must find ways to fast-track funding for urgent and innovative local projects.
We’ve accomplished much to protect our city from rising tides and create better transit options, but we are still faced with the growing demand to address congestion in cities across Miami-Dade. Each day, more than 300,000 cars pass between Miami and Miami Beach. Our local government can do a lot, but it cannot do it all alone.
The Senate Committee made it clear that Congress will be looking first to fund “shovel-ready” projects in new infrastructure spending. This means that when the federal government says “go,” Miami Beach and the county must be ready with the funds to supplement federal resources.
This is why I firmly believe that the $36 million previously allocated for light rail should be set aside to meet needs that tackle traffic congestion. This problem requires proactive leadership and collaboration to achieve results and enhance the quality of life for our community.
Philip Levine, mayor, Miami Beach