U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Issue Permit for Beach
After over 16 years of anxiously waiting to replenish our beaches in Pompano Beach, Lauderdale by the Sea and Fort Lauderdale, Broward County has finally received the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers that will allow us to begin the work after sea turtle season ends on October 31st. We will now secure the Project Participation Agreement that will serve as a promise by the federal government to share in the costs. Concurrently, we have been working to prepare for the procurement process to award the bid to pre-qualified contractors. This was a great deal of work by many, but worth the effort to work together.
Regulation of Transportation Network Companies in Broward County
Broward Commissioners have taken steps to enhance the safety of residents and visitors who use taxis, transportation network companies (TNC) such as Uber, and all for-hire vehicles. The Commission approved more stringent mechanical inspections of for-hire vehicles and more thorough background screening checks for drivers. Under the proposed new terms, for-hire vehicles will have to be inspected by a mechanic and meet requirements as proposed by the County. A checklist will be developed requiring mechanical inspections and aesthetic inspections. Background checks of all for-hire drivers would be expanded to include statewide and national criminal background checks. The background check would be conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI and alert the County if a driver committed a crime in the state of Florida. Currently Broward County conducts statewide criminal background checks and a driving record check every two years. The additional cost of the background screenings will be paid for by all for-hire drivers.
The taxi cab companies also told us that they want a fair playing field for all motor carriers for hire. The regulations that would be imposed on TNC and taxi cab companies alike would level the playing field in terms of background checks and vehicle inspections. The breakthrough news was that Uber agreed to work with the taxi cab companies so that they can operate on the Uber app. This way the cab drivers would have the very same opportunities currently provided to the TNC drivers and the free market would decide.
April is Water Conservation Month
In Florida, the months of March, April and May have the lowest rainfall amounts, coupled with rising temperatures. These seasonal factors can really impact our water demands since the water we use on our landscapes can account for up to 50 percent of our household water usage. County Commissioners passed a number of water conservation initiatives including an ordinance for irrigation practices and a model landscaping code which together with other program efforts including consistent outreach messaging, have helped keep our daily consumption of water down to a ten year low.
Indoor water conservation is just as important. Smart water use indoors includes fixing leaks throughout your home and getting in the habit of not letting the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving. And you may be eligible for High Efficiency Toilet rebates through the Broward Water Partnership’s Conservation Pays program. Residential customers can receive up to two rebates, while rebates for commercial, nonprofit and multi-family establishments are determined on a case-by-case basis. Our ultimate goal is to save 30 million gallons of water per day through our water conservation efforts.
Broward County Moving Forward in Transportation and Infrastructure
The completion of the South Runway at Broward's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport opened to much fanfare in September 2014, and new terminals are being built to accommodate more flights and passengers. FLL is the 21st busiest airport in the US and is ranked 15th in domestic origin and destination traffic. Recent improvements include new concessions in all terminals and the installation of automated Passport Control Kiosks to expedite inbound all US and Canadian citizens in Terminal 4.
Broward County Transit is the number one public transportation option for getting around in the County and is rolling out new, modern Wi-Fi enabled I-595 and I-95 Express buses and propane-powered Paratransit buses. The Ravenswood Operations and Maintenance Facility is under construction and will be completed in 2016.
Public Works' Biogas Cogeneration Electric facility currently under construction will use Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) to produce electricity for the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Pompano Beach. Public Works is also making the County's roadways safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit user through its Complete Streets and Mast Arm projects.
Broward's Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world and continues to grow to accommodate larger cruise and cargo ships, enhancing the vacation experience for cruise guests and handling increased amounts of international cargo. The total value of economic activity is $26 billion each year.
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As always, it is my honor to serve you.