FIU Has Funds Suspended Following Fatal Bridge Collapse

Funds have been suspended for the bridge that collapsed at Florida International University, according to an announcement by Governor Rick Scott. The funding, which is approximately $5.5 million, will not be issued by the Florida Department of Transportation until answers are found regarding the deadly collapse. 

The collapse, which took the lives of six people, occurred just days after the bridge was installed. The bridge was built over Southwest Eighth Street in Miami and collapsed onto the street below, crushing vehicles and occupants that were traveling underneath it. 

“The collapse in Miami of the bridge at FIU was heartbreaking. This is an accident that should have never happened and could have been prevented.” 

Governor Scott is waiting for answers from the investigation into what went wrong. The investigation is being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is assisting. All the tax money allocated for the project is being held until the investigation is complete. 

The total price for the construction of the bridge was $16.6 million. Of that total, $13.6 million was federal funding that was sent to FIU through FDOT. The state only funded $57,000 for the project, which has already been spent. There is an additional $2.9 million in local funding that is not affected by the order issued by Governor Scott. 

Since the start of the project there has been $8.1 million in federal and state funds used for the project, according to the Florida Department of Financial Services. As of early February, some $5.46 million had already been paid to construction company Munilla Construction Management.  

FDOT has distanced itself from the project, and FIU, since the bridge collapsed. FDOT has gone as far as to release statements saying that it’s only responsibility in the project was for the traffic-control permits needed. FDOT also said in a statement that it was unaware that stress tests were being conducted on the bridge, which could have required the closure of the road and additional permits. 

There is no timeline for the completion of the investigation. 

Attorney George E. Tragos is the managing partner at the Law Offices of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, serving many locations throughout Florida. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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