Letters to the Editor

PortMiami dredge project a failure

Re Jane Wooldridge’s short April 7 article, “Was the PortMiami dredge a good investment?” states Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the port’s credit rating from “stable” to “positive.” This is attributed to “a massive dredge project” at the port.

The county touts 200 deep draft vessels visiting the port last year. That is about the same yearly amount that has been visiting the port for the past 10 years.

The county insisted that the deep dredge project and other port improvements, at a cost of $2 billion, were crucial for the financial viability of the facility.

The reason stated, deep draft Post-Panamax (PP) container vessels loaded with Asian produced goods would make Miami their first stop through the new Panama Canal locks. To date, only one PP vessel has made that stop. The old adage, “build it and they will come,” is not holding true in this case.

The tangible cost of the project can be felt environmentally. Large swaths of our offshore reefs still lie buried in dredge-produced silt.

A new virulent coral disease, first discovered in stressed corals near the dredge project, has now spread north to Martin County and south to Marathon.

There is no cure for the fatal illness. Thousands of acres of sea grass in north Biscayne Bay began dying about the time dredge sediments were swept into the bay on incoming tides.

This may not be the whole reason for the sea grass die-off, but surely contributed.The port has not met its full bond obligations for many years, with the county making up the difference from general funds.

Without “first port of call” visits by PP ships, the business model will not work and Miami Dade County residents will continue to subsidize operations through tax dollars.

Was killing our reefs and bay really worth it?

Captain Dan Kipnis, chair,

Miami Beach Marine and

Waterfront Protection