For years, Miami-Dade’s water and sewer rates have been among the lowest in the United States, but it has come at a cost.
Plans for improvements to our water infrastructure were delayed until the EPA stepped in a few years ago and forced Miami-Dade County to take a hard, sobering look at the aged and decaying conditions of its water and sewer system.
Since then, the county has taken proactive measures to create a robust and holistic capital-improvement program that will not only rehabilitate but also design and construct a world-class system to address our continued growth and impending climate-change challenges.
It is expected that Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department’s (MDWASD) Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will provide greatly needed economic benefits to our business community. The $13.5-billion investment over the next 15 years will generate more than 16,000 jobs and create more than $25 billion of economic activity within Miami-Dade over the next 10 years, in addition to facilitating economic growth throughout all sectors of the regional economy.
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As the voice of business in South Florida, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce has adopted a resolution in support of the Capital Improvement Program. The resolution affirms the substantial public investment that will yield environmental and economic benefits for years to come.
The CIP is the largest capital program ever undertaken by any department of Miami-Dade County’s government. It will provide an unprecedented opportunity for smaller local engineering and construction firms to participate and grow with the program.
MDWASD has hosted a series of countywide community open houses to provide the public with an overview of the program. These efforts go a long way to provide accountability, transparency and reassurance to the ratepayers that funding is going where it is needed. The CIP is designed to address aging infrastructure, comply with regulatory requirements and support economic growth while still keeping utility rates competitive with rates elsewhere in Florida and across the nation.
Water is the most critical resource in our daily lives, yet we often take it for granted. No one would argue the need to invest in healthcare, education or transportation, yet our past investments in water have been inadequate.
The time has come to focus on ensuring continued funding for our water infrastructure moving into the future in order to grow our economy and guarantee a clean, sustainable and affordable water supply for future generations.
Irela M. Bagué, chair, Sustainability, Environment & Energy Committee, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Miami