FDOT District 6 Annual Tentative Five-Year Transportation Plan
Really, FDOT, 8-10 a.m. twice?
Nice going. Another in a long line of genius moves
under the Kopelousos regime! The road to ruin!
For those of us who learn from past history to take
a more cynical attitude towards what we hear coming
from FDOT under Stephanie Kopelousos
-one of our chief bête noires- and wonder how
they can churn-out the sort of counter-intuitive and
nonsensical consumer transit opinion polls we hear
about a few times a year, consider the following
as just an especially illustrative piece of the larger
I'm very pro-transit and go to lots of public policy
meetings, including ones in the morning, but I'd
almost guess these meetings are scheduled
for 8-10 a.m. so that they can attract the largest
number of possible govt. employees and as
few actual citizen taxpayers as possible.
That's not how you build trust.
Way to do outreach!
Meanwhile, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority
is having a Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday
at 4 p.m.at their HQ, William M. Lehman MDX Bldg.
3790 NW 21st Street, Miami, FL 33142
List of MDX Directors:
As I write this, 1:20 a.m., less than fifteen hours
before the meeting starts, they STILL haven't
placed their agenda on their website.
|MDX Board of Directors Meeting - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM||12/08/2009||Location/Time|
Above, copied directly from the website.
If it was there, you'd be seeing it.
You don't see it because it's not there.
Non-adherence to Sunshine Laws?
That's not how you build trust.
People on the go in Miami-Dade use the SunPass to avoid stopping at toll booths and paying more. It's working, too, more than eight in 10 toll-road drivers use SunPass to zip by while other drivers' cars stack up in line to pay at the toll booth.
The convenience and cheaper tolls with the SunPass transponder that drivers attach to windshields is wildly popular.
There's another paramount reason to get rid of all cash toll booths: safety.
Deadly crashes at narrow toll plazas can be prevented as cars and trucks can keeping moving on the toll road with the overhead electronic scanner debiting their SunPass account. The removal of toll plazas at six turnpike locations has reduced the crash rate by 58 percent.
Now, as the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and Florida's Turnpike rev up to go to a totally electronic system in the next two years, drivers will be able to prepay their accounts in cash, check or with a credit or debit card through a Toll-by-Plate system. Cash-only customers will be able to prepay at thousands of stores and supermarkets statewide.
By 2011, toll road managers will also offer monthly bills with a nominal fee of about $3 for drivers who don't have a SunPass and haven't prepaid in the plate system. A camera at exits would snap a photo of a vehicle's plate and the bill would be sent by mail to that car's owner, whether a Miami native or a tourist from Ohio. And rental car companies already are working with toll managers, offering their customers a prepaid fee to use the toll roads.
All of this is part of toll road managers' ambitious plans for MDX and the turnpike. They plan to close all cash-only toll booths and to start charging for exits on some toll roads that are now only partially covered by tolls, such as the Dolphin Expressway and the Don Shula Expressway that links the Palmetto Expressway to the turnpike's Homestead extension.
Local drivers used to taking sections of those roads without paying a dime will complain, but the truth is, there's no free ride.
As it is, about six in 10 drivers using sections of toll roads like the Dolphin can get off at various exits without paying, yet their vehicles are tearing up the roads as much as those of toll-paying drivers.
The county's half-penny sales tax for transportation does not apply to Miami-Dade's toll roads, nor do they get gas tax money. So repairs to the Dolphin (SR 836) and Shula (874) and expansion of other toll roads, such as the Gratigny Expressway that's supposed to link the Palmetto with I-95 in north Miami-Dade, depend on tolls.
That said, it's incumbent on MDX managers to make every effort for transparency and accountability because they can expect a revolt from drivers used to not paying tolls on well-traveled sections of the Dolphin. They have to show that the tolls will produce better commute times -- as has happened on the I-95's toll-paying section.
They also should reduce the cost of tolls throughout Miami-Dade. With a closed toll system, everyone must pay, which will mean toll managers can reduce toll rates and still bring in more money for road repairs and new turnpike links.
And there's plenty of work ahead. MDX's five-year work plan will produce about 13,400 jobs and have an estimated economic impact of $1.3 billion. Among the improvements: working with the Florida Department of Transportation to fix the chronic congestion at the interchange of the Dolphin with the non-toll Palmetto Expressway. That's long over due.
With smart and fair toll plans, MDX can bring a little sanity and save time for commuters.
So where's the transparency, exactly?
That's not how you build trust, either.
Send questions/comments to: email@example.com
Miami-Dade Expressway Authority
3790 NW 21 Street
Miami, Florida 33142
Phone (305) 637-3277
Fax (305) 637-2537