How many times does the Florida Department of Transportation have to prove that it really IS the gang that can’t shoot straight?
First, the department had to be sued by local electeds to keep its promise to deliver a “signature bridge” for I-395 instead of a typical, boring FDOT-imagined slab of concrete. FDOT entered into a settlement agreement with Miami-Dade to end that lawsuit, which included the appointment of a local aesthetics review committee to select the design.
Then, FDOT fudged the scoring system to tip the project to the team bureaucrats preferred over the design chosen by the community committee. That prompted locals to call foul and revive the lawsuit. Then, to add insult to injury, FDOT pleaded amnesia, telling the judge it never agreed to let locals select the design.
FDOT tried to get the case moved from Miami to its home base in bureaucrat-laden Tallahassee. There’s even a state law, called the “home venue privilege,” that makes it almost impossible for a state agency to be sued anywhere but at its headquarters.
But guess what? The state agency lost. In a big legal ruling for the community, the judge said the proceedings will remain in Miami – where they belong.
One thing’s for certain. Unless all the sides come to the table and figure out a way to carve up this $800 million project, the case is likely to drag on, Overtown traffic will stay a snarled nightmare, and Miami’s “signature” bridge stays a distant dream.
Better yet, maybe FDOT will do the right thing, honor its word, and let Miami-Dade choose its own design.