Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Great Alley Give Away or There is a stink in the Swamp and it smell like bad politics

  • Dear Southwest Ranches Friends and Neighbors:Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening and if I don't see you later…well then…Good Night!
    When Florida elected its governor in 2007 she though she was getting a reformer, a leader, someone who protect citizen rights and straighten out the problems left by our own Bush in Tallahassee, someone with vision. He was viewed as a populist, as a people's governor, as someone who would do the right thing.

    California has a reelected governor, a populist, formerly know as the Terminator, who has vision, is widely popular, wants to be viewed as a green governor, has developed a stimulus package for his state by flowing more money to its construction industries through DOT contracts, and is privatizing some of California's transportation project to get them funded and completed.

    Do any of California initiatives sound strikingly like Florida initiatives you've been reading about in the papers?

    Governor Popular must have been at one of those national governors' events or maybe at some republican events and over heard Governor Terminator plans for California to right the boat in a bad economy but maybe the accent got in the way or too much bubbly. Florida now has ridiculous hotel green laws that all Disney hotel qualify under. It is hard to believe that the Dolphin, Swan, and Grand Floridian hotels could be made green, environmentally friendly hotels in less than a year. They probably had to fill out an application, pay a free and poof, they were green. I will bet California's green laws are a bit more stringent. The governor is asking state agencies to speed up their construction spending when an additional $2 billion budget deficit looming. And now privatizing state assets to fill its emptying coffers.

    Now Governor Populist is going to have a fire sale of state assets. As we have seen in the private sector over the last year, when responsible private firms lose ground they smartly sell off non-performing or low value assets to generate cash flow. We have also seen Federal bailouts in unprecedented figures. Florida is in a similar crisis however, the Governor has decided to create his own playbook for this one. Maybe he should be calling his newfound idol, Arnold. Rather than seek a federal bailout, after all the Fed is supposed to be the bank of last resort for the states, our governor has decided to start selling off high value state assets. He is doing under the guise or ploy that they are trying to establish a value on the Alley. Why, for tax purposes? Doubtful! For a sale? In the words of that new articulate, political profit Sarah Palin, "You betcha!"

    Alligator Alley is one such state asset. The highway is part of the interstate system, because of its low operating costs is a cash cow for the DOT, and is probably under-tolled as compared to the Turnpike, Sawgrass, or central Florida Toll roads. Rather than the Dot slowly raising the tolls over many years, reaping the benefits, and plowing them back into the Florida economy and Florida's Dot, Governor Populist has decided to take the easy way out and press they easy button from a political standpoint. He wants to lease the Alley to a foreign corporation (no taxes paid to US economy and big executive salaries and profits go offshore) and use those profits to make up some of Florida's deficit problems. Oh, by the way, they are also offering lump sum payment to the local municipalities and counties (take this and go away money). Let me put it this way, would you mortgage your how to pay your power bill or buy gas for your car? Clearly, our governor would.

    There is one final public hearing coming up where residents can express their opinion on this bad deal for the people. It is next week. The details below are per the DOT website:

    Alligator Alley Public Workshop
    Date: Wednesday, December 03, 2008
    Time: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
    Location Name: Signature Grand
    Street Address: 6900 State Road 84
    City: Davie, FL 33117
    Purpose: This is one of two workshops being held by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to obtain additional public input on the proposed leasing of Alligator Alley.

    Alligator Alley is a 78-mile section of Interstate 75 in South Florida connecting the southwestern and southeastern coastal areas of Florida. It was originally constructed during the late 1960s as a two-lane, controlled access toll road and was known in the original bond documents as Everglades Parkway. From 1986 to 1992, Alligator Alley was widened to four lanes and made a limited access, tolled, interstate facility (I-75).

    Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, or family status.

    If you need special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or require translation services, (free of charge) please contact Dick Kane by phone at 850-414-4590 or by e-mail at

    Project Web Site:
    Primary Contact: Dick Kane
    Primary Phone: 850-414-4595

    Please get informed by going out to the DOT link above. Please go to the public meeting next Wednesday. Our new Mayor and council should go to the meeting and support the town's resident's interest. These public meetings have been poorly attended in the past. We need to send a message that fire sales of public assets are bad, short-term deal for the people of Florida and the resident that use the highway. Do you want to be paying twelve dollar each way on the Alley? Southwest Ranches has resident that commute to Naples daily for their precious jobs, will they continue to afford to go west to work every day if they have to pay $24 daily in tolls? Alternatively, will they join the ranks of the Bush-Crist unemployed?
    That's all Folks!!!Wanch Waggler

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very Informative Wanch. Thank you.