The Florida Department of Transportation put off until the week of March 30 a decision on how to proceed with the stalled Port of Miami tunnel project.
The effort to build a $1.7 billion alternative route for trucks to get to the port has been in limbo since late last year, when state DOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos said the state was pulling out of the deal because of questions surrounding the finances of the preferred private partner.
Her statement mobilized local officials, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, who pressed Gov. Charlie Crist to spur FDOT to reconsider the decision.
Kopelousos later restated her commitment to the tunnel, which would provide direct access to the port from Interstate 395, allowing trucks to bypass clogged downtown streets.
State transportation officials in Tallahasee said in a recent memo the state could reopen the bidding process or scrap the current deal and negotiate a new one with other companies that submitted bids.
A decision was to come March 27 but the Florida DOT said Friday it would be announced in the coming week.
The port tunnel project is considered a priority in a region where the port is one of the county's main economic engines. Without the tunnel, officials say, international shippers will start to shun the port because of its difficult access for cargo trucks.