TRENDING TOPIC FOR THURSDAY, APRIL 21ST: Happy Friday and happy earth day! We leave you with some important news about transportation in Miami-Dade County and the environment. We hope everybody has a good weekend and makes a commitment to take care of our planet!

COMMISSIONER SOSA ON FPL & THE ENVIRONMENT: Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa discussed Florida Power & Light’s transmission lines and related matters in the county with Bernadette Pardo on “Pedaleando con Bernie” on Radio Mambi 710AM.

Commissioner Sosa mentioned the recent appeal court’s decision regarding Florida Power & Light (FPL) transmission lines that would have been installed in parts of Miami-Dade County without considering the area’s development rules and regulations (read more here). “I don’t understand why they would want to erect huge power line poles from Homestead to Miami, and they continue to ask for more. Municipalities in the area have repeatedly asked FPL to install these power lines underground.” Pardo and Sosa remembered how many of the transmission line poles were destroyed during Hurricane Andrew, and the danger they could pose to residents in the future. Sosa also discussed her efforts as commissioner, “the proposal I put forth in the commission was unanimously approved, but unfortunately we don’t have the jurisdiction to tell FPL what they can or can’t do.” She talked about the commission’s opposition to “FPL’s request to raise the residents’ bills by and extra $13 dollars per month for the next four years.” When asked what the money would be used for, Sosa responded, “they say they are going to use the funds to continue improving plants like Turkey Point, which is something we already have had problems with. I do hope that they listen to our opposition to raising prices for our residents.” Sosa highlighted the issue with the cooling canals leaking into Biscayne Bay. “I asked for the study to be conducted at Turkey Point. When the results were published, we found out that the cooling canals were leaking into Biscayne Bay. Right now, this is not affecting our drinking water, but if we don’t take the necessary steps to fix this issue, it could happen in the future. These canals are extremely outdated, they need to modernize their system. We must take care of our environment.”


Patricia Mazzei ‏@PatriciaMazzei  April 21
.@FLGovScott cautions @GOP against convention “monkey business” http://hrld.us/1U7xp9g 

Matt Dixon ‏@Mdixon55  April 21
Bill Nelson holding fundraiser for José Javier Rodríguez http://politi.co/244Qhsg 

Mary Ellen Klas ‏@MaryEllenKlas  April 21
Florida governor says he’s unfamiliar with FPL power lines ruling: @PatriciaMazzeiFlorida Gov. Rick Scott got… http://bit.ly/26hdv0e 

Peter Schorsch ‏@SaintPetersblog  April 21
Florida pols react to @RepGwenGraham‘s 2018 plans announcement via @ryanray_Fla http://wp.me/pShRp-14X3  #FlaPol #sayfie

Alex Leary ‏@learyreports  April 21
.@SenBillNelson filing bill to fully fund Obama’s $1.9b Zika request. Office says move comes amid “rumors” appropriators settling on $1.1b.

COMMISSIONER SUAREZ ON TRANSPORTATION: Yoly Cuello spoke with City of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez about transportation efforts in Miami, on her show “Noticias del Mediodia” on Caracol 1260AM.

Commissioner Suarez, who also serves as Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), initially discussed the “SMART” plan for transit, and explained the acronym stands for “Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit” (read more here). “In promoting mass transit, I am focusing on a policy that makes fast transportation the highest priority for our community. This was approved unanimously by the MPO. It is a good start, now we have to further develop it and begin conducting the studies that are required to obtain federal funds. The SMART plan that we approved, calls for six new rail lines for commuters.” He continued, “we started prioritizing that plan to make this a reality. We will begin conducting the necessary studies and starting the grant application process to receive funding from the federal government, so we can commence construction on the proposed idea. We are also considering what technology we want to utilize. This is a big step, and we all agree as a community that we need to start now. We are going to also get advice from the private sector on how to finance this project and what technology we should use.” Suarez clarified that “the technology is what determines how much this plan is going to cost. Utilizing the bus system is much cheaper than light rail for example, but it doesn’t have the capability of transporting huge amounts of people and it depends on traffic. Right now, buses only provide transportation to 12% of our population.” For Suarez it is important for the MPO and related committees to move as fast as possible. “I think the people of Miami are eager for this type of project to start.”