Our community has faced great challenges over the years, but none so debilitating as the COVID-19 pandemic. We have worked together, shared together and held together. We should be proud that our community responded in such a valiant way.
As we emerge from the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we witness our continuing efforts to rebuild our infrastructure. We have laid miles of underground pipes to address our sewage problems, we have begun the enormous task of bringing marine and wildlife back to our canals and waterways, and we are poised to rebuild our water treatment plant that provides the main water supply to our homes and businesses. COVID did not stop us.
But other problems that we discussed prior to COVID did not go away either. With businesses and schools reopening, cars are returning to our streets and highways in great numbers, so the need for traffic solutions has never been greater.
As part of this discussion, the Florida Department of Transportation has been working with the Brightline folks about implementing additional trains on their existing tracks to create a commuter system. But let’s face it, adding more trains will only frustrate boat and vehicular traffic on our main roads. FDOT thinks we should just build a bridge through our city.
But we have a better idea.
We've made some amazing progress over the last month in investigating the feasibility of building an underground tunnel for commuter rail service into downtown.
This represents an exciting possibility that could dramatically reshape the future of downtown Fort Lauderdale as well as resolve the long-standing traffic problems. And even more importantly, there is the possibility that the project could be done for a substantially lower cost than imagined.
In mid-February, I led a delegation of city, county, and railroad officials to visit the latest venture of business entrepreneur Elon Musk. Musk first built his reputation around developing the Tesla electric car and then aerospace transportation with SpaceX. Now, he is looking at ways to reduce traffic congestion by offering new low-cost tunneling construction technology with The Boring Co.
Our delegation flew west. First, to Las Vegas, to view Boring's premiere project, a two-mile state-of-the-art loop under their Convention Center. Then to Hawthorne, CA, to visit the company's headquarters and experience their first operable test tunnel.