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To the relief of Key Biscyane officials, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava decided Tuesday to formally ask that a plan for the privatization of the Rickenbacker Causeway — a process she started — be abandoned and restart from scratch.
Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey says he was pleased with the mayor’s decision. “The best thing we can do is rescind and restart.”
The request, contained in a memo to the County Commission, comes on the heels of a virtual town hall where Levine Cava heard from island residents worried about the structural integrity of the Bear Cut Bridge, as well as cycling activists who pressed for a safer ride for one of the nation’s most scenic roads.
There was no immediate reaction from the Plan Z Consortium, which on Monday urged the mayor to stay the course while offering to accept major changes to its still-secret privatization plan. There was also no immediate comment from Commission Chair Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who has been a proponent of the County’s privatization law.
Cancellation of the current process, thought to cost about $500 million, would require a vote by the County Commission. It’s unclear when it might be taken up. The next full meeting is expected in January.
In her memo, Levine Cava wrote that after the current procurement is canceled, the next steps should be “to confirm federal funding availability, further develop the project, engage stakeholders, and complete the NEPA process.” NEPA is shorthand for preparing studies in accordance with federal law.
Next, the mayor says there should be a two-step, new solicitation: a “Request for Qualifications” to identify proposers, and then an RFP to require more detailed proposals and pricing.
At her town hall meeting, Levine Cava said she is considering a separate path for the Bear Cut Bridge, which officials say is the most urgently in need of replacement. The structure, built in 1947, could be done first while the rest of the Causeway renovation is done later.
Davey said he is not opposed to a faster track for the Bear Cut, but said the design should anticipate and be able to accommodate changes to the rest of the Causeway.
“There is going to be discussion on the Causeway,” Davey said. “But I think everyone agrees that something has to be done about the Bear Cut. We have to resolve that.”