- The Florida Department of Transportation has selected a design for a controversial $800 million "signature bridge" project in Miami, according to the Miami Herald. The three-person panel chose a proposal submitted by the joint venture of Archer Western and The de Moya Group over one from a Fluor-led team, which was favored by a local advisory committee.
- The designs were kept under wraps by the FDOT during the review and scoring process and were only revealed to the public after the agency's final decision.
- A former Miami commissioner accused the FDOT of bias in its calculation of scores, and community members protested that their input was ignored. In addition, critics of the winning bridge design said they couldn't adequately judge which bridge they preferred without seeing the design first.
Earlier this month, the Herald reported that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado were at odds over the bridge design selection process.
Regalado was part of the lawsuit that forced the state to make good on its promise to build the bridge. As part of the settlement, the FDOT commissioned an advisory "aesthetics" committee so that locals could have a say in the bridge design. Gimenez has taken the side of those who favor the Fluor design and commented that the state erred in its calculations, but Regalado accused Gimenez of playing politics with the issue.
Earlier this year, Regalado made news when he came out against a 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use development that would see the demolition of an existing American Legion Hall and necessitate a special zoning designation so that the developer could build a taller, more expansive project than would normally be allowed.
Regalado said he would veto the project, which critics said does not fit in with the modest, historic character of the existing neighborhood. The developer said it would provide upgrades to an adjacent park in exchange for being able to build the project — which includes three condo towers, an apartment building and commercial spaces — but Regalado hasn't yet accepted the deal.