The Town of Miami Lakes was among the big winners in the state’s new $83 billion budget, as the Florida Legislature earmarked $3 million to fund projects for traffic congestion, canal stabilization, and an analysis for reforms on blasting which has caused damages to residents’ homes and properties.
State Senator Rene Garcia and State Representatives Many Diaz Jr. and Jose Oliva secured the multi million dollar funding after Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid, Vice Mayor Tony Lama, and Councilmembers Ceasar Mestre, Tim Daubert, Nelson Rodriguez, Luis Collazo and Frank Mingo lobbied the state’s top lawmakers during a visit to Tallahassee during the Legislative Session.
“We got to work together with the mayor and council to focus on the issues we have seen firsthand in Miami Lakes,” said Diaz. “Overall, Miami Lakes won big because we worked together.”
Garcia said, “We fulfilled our promises to the community this season because we worked as a team. I am very proud to stand with my colleagues to put the residents of Miami Lakes first.”
Last year, the three Tallahassee lawmakers secured funding for similar projects but Governor Rick Scott vetoed them from the budget.
Barring an encore, Miami Lakes was granted its request for $1 million for Phase Two of the town’s Canal Bank Stabilization Project, which, once completed, would enhance the canal appearance and performance, protect private property values, and repair eroding canal space for many homeowners.
Lama praised Diaz for looking out for the town during the most busiest and, at times, hostile moments during the Legislature Session.
“Miami Lakes has a solid partner in Manny Diaz Jr.,” Lama said. “He knows our community and the needs of his Miami Lakes constituency and I am thankful to work with him.”
Collazo echoed similar sentiments.
“Representative Diaz has been a tireless advocate for our community,” he said. “His efforts have secured well over $2 million dollars in funding for Miami Lakes and an independent study to research the impact of blasting from the rock miners.”
For years, traffic congestion and finding solutions to reduce gridlock have been at the forefront and $1 million to build for a ramp might be part of the solution.
The Town is proposing an N.W. 87th Avenue ramp to Miami-Dade Expressway’s State Road 924 extension west to the Homestead Extension of the Florida Turnpike Project.
The funding will be used to design and construct the access ramp improvement to be included in the Extension project that could improve regional connectivity and transportation infrastructure.
Another long-running problem for residents is blasting by the rock mining industry.
The $325,000 funds a comprehensive study of rock mining blasting and review of the claims process for damages.
The study was a priority for outgoing Florida’s CFO Jeff Atwater and Garcia, Diaz and Mingo, who locally sponsored legislation in support of the analysis.
“We’re thankful that Representative Oliva, Diaz and Senator Garcia worked with Mayor Cid and our Town Council to achieve tremendous results for the town,” Mingo said.
Added Rodriguez: “It’s a privilege to work with our state representatives and our state senator to obtain the funds needed to continue our canal projects and to start improving traffic in Miami Lakes with the 87th Avenue/1-75 project.”
Cid said the funding goes a long way to assist the town in resolving some major issues.
“The Miami Lakes Legislative Delegation has worked hard to bring funding for vital infrastructure projects,” said Cid. “The completion of our canal stabilization project will preserve tens of millions of dollars of properties and the 87th Avenue-I-75 interchange is a game changer for traffic relief in our town.”
Mestre said the best results stem from the state and town brain trust working together.
“It’s really advantageous for our residents when all elected officials work together as a team and we can get these great results,” he said.
Daubert summed up the working relationship.
“Senator Garcia and Representatives Diaz and Oliva are champions for Miami Lakes,” Daubert said. “I am proud to work alongside them for the good of Miami Lakes.”