Miami-Dade County commissioners have just made it harder for Liberty Media to bring Formula 1 to their city, erecting a roadblock that gives local authorities the right to prohibit racing on public roads located around the Hard Rock Stadium.
As plans for a Miami Grand Prix taking place at the home of the NFL's Dolphins grew clearer earlier this year, protests from local residents of Miami Gardens have grown louder.
On Tuesday, after hours of public hearings from all engaged parties, county commissioners passed a resolution that would prevent public road closures related to racing events in residential areas of Miami Gardens, a decision that virtually scraps F1's proposed track layout.
Commissioners also passed a second ordinance requiring a large-scale public hearing among Miami Gardens residents to decide whether they want a race in the vicinity of their neighborhoods.
While both measures are aimed at derailing the process of bringing F1 cars to the Hard Rock Stadium and to its vast parking lot, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has the theoretical power to veto both measures.
Gimenez pointed to the potential annual economic benefits, estimated at $400 million, delivered to the city by F1, and therefore urged residents, the Dolphins and race organizers to reach an agreement.
"Nobody is going to be 100 percent happy, but we need to come to a middle ground," Gimenez said. "It is a world-class event, it is like having a Super Bowl here every year in Miami Dade County."
But the barrage of opposition to the event appears to be growing larger by the day, with former county commissioner Betty T Ferguson leading the resistance, underlining F1's "deadly effects" linked to air and noise pollution.
"The majority of residents in Miami Gardens do not want to see F1 racing at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Gardens city council voted to oppose Formula 1," said Ferguson.
"We have seen too often deep pockets paint rosy pictures and have their way, only to the embarrassment of the county at a later date. Don’t allow F1 promoters to come in and roll over us over, like we’re not even humans.
"They can produce all kinds of phony statements about how they can mitigate the deadly effects, but we can never erase deadly health damage, and possibly permanent hearing loss, especially to children. Even the county’s own study verifies the deadly effects.
"No permission for road closure or special events should be given to the Dolphins without full public hearing."
That crucial public hearing is scheduled to take place in December.