Tunnel Could Open Door For More Development

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Dean Trantalis is in love. 

The Fort Lauderdale mayor is crushing like a middle schooler on Elon Musk and his plans to build a tunnel down Las Olas Boulevard. 

Trantalis has publicly called Musk a visionary.

He says Musk is filled with creatively.  

He labels him “almost revolutionary.” 

 

Dean Trantalis: Crushing On Musk

 

 

Maybe all true. 

But what kind of deal will City Hall hammer out with Musk’s Boring Company when the mayor appears to be drooling over the idea of doing business with the billionaire mogul?

Taxpayers should get less Wow and more How.

Like how the tunnel will be paid for. Somebody will have to pay for everything from guards to maintenance to cleaning….forever. 

City Hall promises to do due diligence on the proposal before signing any contracts. But there is due diligence and there is Due Diligence. 

Too often the so-called due diligence promised by government is just a smoke screen, not a real careful look at the project. Lack luster due diligence can come back to haunt taxpayers.

South Florida governments have a long history of being snookered in negotiations and many times their costly mistakes are found out years later. And all those projects had so-called due diligence.

A waste-to-energy project eventually ended up costing residents thousands of extra dollars when it unexpectedly put the garbage stream under control of one huge company.

The tunnel could end up the same way without an honest look at the project by impartial experts with no connections to local business interests or Musk.

The Las Olas tunnel is already on the fast track before the first due diligence study has launched. All the big money clique is rooting for it, especially business interests along Las Olas and on the beach, who will directly benefit from new potential customers delivered to their doors.

 

More Development

 

The real money may just be in permitting more development.

Developers will surely argue that because of the added capacity to move people, they should be allowed to build more on the beach and on Las Olas. 

The public needs to be aware: Development and real estate interests are already slavering over the idea that the tunnel could permit more construction.

The tunnel enabling more development won’t be talked about publicly until a deal is signed. Be assured the idea is out there.

Also there is a question of what kind of partner is Elon Musk for Fort Lauderdale. 

This is a guy who marches to his own drummer. It has worked for him. Will it work for Fort Lauderdale?

Trentalis, of course, doesn’t talk about the allegations about Musk that has filled the Internet over the years: 

 

  • Allegations of mistreating workers and others. An article in Vanity Fair a year ago was titled Elon Musk’s Totally Awful Batshit Crazy Most Excellent Year, not a headline you would see on an article about most CEOs. A simple search of Google will turn up numerous allegations of misconduct towards employees.
  • Clashes with federal security watchdogs, some fueled by his controversial market-moving tweets.  
  • Accusations of over-promising. After continuing to call his Tesla vehicles self-driving, some engineers resigned in protest contending his statement put customers at risk.

 

All this controversy shouldn’t kill the tunnel. It does mean that Trantalis and the City Hall crowd should go into negotiations with their eyes open.

City Hall must not get wrapped up in the “euphoria of an exotic concept,” warned longtime local journalist Bernie McCormick in his blog.

Good advice.

Tough negotiations call for more skepticism and less love of Musk from Mayor Trentalis. 

Love might be blind, mayor, but negotiations shouldn’t be.



8 Responses to “Tunnel Could Open Door For More Development”

  1. Gaylord A. Wood, Jr. says:

    The Fort Lauderdale Mayor is suggesting billions for “tunnels for nowhere” – near Andrews and Las Olas and emptying into the beach. I suggested:
    “Mayor —
    “Here’s your “vision” — two boats each 350 seating passengers asking the $4,500,000 each from Puget Sound. (This was 2007, there are many still for sale.) The boat can park if there’s no requirements. For the boat show, air show, music show, etc. etc. – crank up the boats and let ‘er go.
    “The City could easily dock (for free) at The Arts & Entertainment Garage. (already in existence.)
    “Why million and million dollars? The idea is “tunnel vision.” .
    Sincerely, Gaylord”

  2. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    It’s S FL. It’s about $$$$. Be prepared to be ignored

  3. Dean Trantalis says:

    Really Buddy. Can’t you find a nicer picture?

    FROM BUDDY:

    Send me the one you prefer. Browardbeat@hotmail.com

  4. Fort Lauderdal resident says:

    Every engineer in south Florida thinks this is nonsense. There is not enough potential ridership, it is one of the most inefficient transportation models. The city just built a giant garage at the foot of the las olas bridge. Will this undercut its own revenue payback?
    How will these passengers be distributed along the beach?
    At the price quoted, it will take about 35 years for Musk to see a profit at about 1000 trips per day. They claim it can transport 4400 people an hour like in Vegas, but that demand is not present, and where would they all park and at what fee in downtown? The city makes vague claims about the cost equating it to a cup of coffee.
    The real crime is that the city is abusing its communications department and residents with trumpeting support for this project before the vetting of it has even been done.
    In the end the whole project is the shiny object strategy by the city. Pay attention to this over here while we screw around and up everything you are not looking at.
    The only people on the internet who support the idea seem to be Tesla stockholders not residents. Perhaps some of these elected a have Tesla stock too. It’s not efficient transportation, it is an amusement ride to market cars.

    FROM BUDDY:

    …”while we screw around and up everything you are not looking at.”

    What they may want to “up” is the size of new buildings along Las Olas, including on the barrier island.

  5. Jimmy S. T. says:

    Fort Lauderdale resident is right. These type of projects are money pits that never fulfill their predictions.

    TriRail took decades to reach 12-13,000 passengers per day average before the quarantine. TriRail cost of way over a billion dollars for the rails, stations, equipment, connector buses, maintenance, etc, etc.

    It would have been cheaper to buy every passenger a Tesla.

  6. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    #3.Mayor,u r right this pic as shown of u here is constantly being used by other media organization as well.Now to this ” To this ” Tesla Tunnel”.I still have no idea how,and who will pay for this glorified taxi service.One promising notion that the Mayor stated w) Bidens Infrastructure monies ( big money) it would be paid for by Bidens Infrastructure plan.Yeah,if Trantalis can get Pres.Biden monies to pay for it- great.For the Ft.lau residents to fit the bill is outrageous.I still don’t know if your downtown and want to enter tunnel ( remember u use their Tesla’s) where do u park your car??.Would be better to ditch the Tesla ride and be able to get in the tunnel using your own car.I still firmly believe this will be utilized by the tourist,not actual residents.Beach residents want to get away from the beach ,not go to it.That is why I would have it go from the the airport to the beach and get the County($) on board, instead of ” Dean’s Deal” going it alone.More the merrier.As far as digging the tunnel get the county inmates to dig and pay them 15.00 / hour.This way when they r released from jail they got money in their pockets.Rather,then pay some contractor thousands more dollars to dig the tunnel.Come on it’s a shovel,Jack hammer and dig,dig,dig.

  7. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    5. Trail is n goes TOO FAR WEST to be anything but a money pit for the taxpayers n a money maker for lobbyists n politicians while A DECENT WAVE WOULD HAVE RELIEVED TRAFFIC BUT BROWARD COUNTY GOVERNMENT SCREWED THE PLANNING so CRAZIES could kill it. Another legacy of Bertha Henry’s cowardly incompetent Regime.

  8. Concerned Downtown Resident says:

    The idea to build a Tesla/Musk tunnel to merely serve traffic from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the beach has to be none of the most ridiculous ideas in Fort Lauderdale’s history. Build one so that trains don’t disrupt traffic flow on Broward Boulevard maybe. Looks like the Mayor wants a wow factor leading in to the 2024 elections. He and the majority of the commissioners are history and will never get re-elected. They botched the Salt7 outside bar (located too close to the river under the zoning code). They can’t even manage or handle valet parking snafus on Las Olas and SE 4th Avenue. Amateurs at their finest!

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