Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida, Europe and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 8, 2013

So guess who fell off the truth-telling bandwagon and got back to his familiar logrolling ways in the Miami Herald? Yes, Maurice Ferre of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority; FL state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez is 100% correct -the MDX is overstepping its boundaries. Facts show they are arrogant and territorial as hell, and it's clear they want to expand their fiefdom!


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So guess who fell off the truth-telling bandwagon and got back to his familiar logrolling ways in the Miami Herald? Yes, Maurice Ferre of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority; FL state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez is 100% correct -the MDX is overstepping its boundaries. Facts show they are arrogant and territorial as hell, and it's clear they want to expand their fiefdom!
My comments are after the spin.

Miami Herald
Letter to the Editor
MDX is doing its job
July 7, 2013

Re state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez’s June 30 letter, MDX is overstepping its boundaries:

The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) was created by the Florida Legislature and the Miami-Dade County Commission in 1994 as an agency of the state. Seven of MDX’s board of 13 members are appointed by county commissioners and six by the governor. 

On March 19 and June 18, 2013, MDX held public hearings on the rate issue for State Road 836. The MDX Board voted 7-5 in favor of the 70-cent option over the one for 60 cents. This new rate starts the summer of 2014. 

The toll policy and new toll rate were studied, discussed, debated and publicly aired for several years. We are no more a monopoly than the Florida Department of Transportation or Florida’s Turnpike. MDX staff and I, as chair, visited every county commissioner and as many city mayors as would see us to review plans. We were before several editorial boards, on radio and TV talk shows. The Miami Herald covered the toll issues amply and fairly. 

In the six advertised public meetings, two webinars and two public hearings, there was minimal participation. In the last public hearing MDX received the objection and concerns of seven legislators and five mayors preferring 60 cents rather than the 70-cent toll rate per mainline gantry. 

In the same Miami Herald edition, there were other articles on government expenditures for Jackson Health System’s $830 million “wish list” and the county water and sewer department’s pipe plan. Florida’s Turnpike implemented a $12 million-a-year toll hike recently. 

Freedom is not free, and progress has a cost. Americans, and Miamians, well understand that our infrastructure needs drastic repairs. As painful as toll increases are, doing less than our best would be more painful to travelers. 

MDX gets no money from Washington, Tallahassee or Miami-Dade County. If any of these governments wants to help MDX financially, we would gladly review our decisions. 

For seven years Congress has failed to adequately fund the U.S. transportation needs. Bridges are failing everywhere, even, unfortunately, our own Bear Cut Bridge in Key Biscayne. Many local cities, like the growing Doral, are concerned that traffic pains will slow growth and affect quality of life. 

Good public policy requires difficult decisions for all of us. MDX is not overreaching. MDX is doing its job. 

Maurice Ferre, chair, MDX, Miami


A few weeks ago Ferre seemed to be trying to play the all-too-rare voice of reason in Miami-Dade County by opposing fare hikes of this stealthy body most people in M-D not only DON'T understand, but instinctively hate -for good reason.

Unfortunately for both residents and common sense, that was all a mirage, since he's now back to playing the role of sycophant to the hilt that's been his designated role since he's fallen to the outer fringes of relevant politics and public policy.

It's really great that the Herald's feeble-minded Editorial Board is so bereft of any common sense that despite this being known as one of THE most apathetic and least civic-minded regions in the entire country, they run this piece without any mention whatsoever that Ferre is the former mayor of Miami -and wannabe mayor of M-D County- so that all the legions of 
know-it-alls from Aventura to Florida City who moved down here since Hurricane Andrew hit, and as we know, think they know everything -many of them, Jets fans, of course- can have some useful context to better understand a pol calling for more money for his latest crew of insiders.

Naturally, to make the whole log-rolling effort complete, Ferre compliments the Herald.
How did I know THAT was coming?
Experience!


The original Letter to the Editor that Ferre's spin exercise was trying to undo was this bit of spot-on truth-telling:


Miami Herald
Letter to the Editor
MDX is overstepping its boundaries
June 29, 2013

Miami-Dade County commissioners created the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) in 1994 to ease traffic congestion and establish local control of toll revenues. Two years later MDX took over the five busiest roadways in the county — the Airport, Dolphin, Don Shula, Gratigny and Snapper Creek expressways. While its foundation and the original intentions of MDX were necessary at the time, in recent months, MDX has overstepped its boundaries and taken advantage of its de facto monopoly over Miami-Dade’s major roadways. 

MDX originally approved a fixed toll rate of 70 cents for the Dolphin Expressway in March, and after a 60-cent alternative was introduced, it called for a public hearing where community members and elected officials could voice their opinions on the matter. On June 19, voice them they did. 

In fact, I and several colleagues from the Miami-Dade legislative delegation attended and condemned the toll increase at an MDX board meeting. We asked the board to pass the less costly alternative, a 60-cent toll per gantry. Nonetheless, the motion for the lower toll failed on a 7-5 vote, even in the face of widespread public opposition. 

Therefore, the MDX board went about its business — not the people’s business — and passed the resolution increasing tolls to 70 cents per mainline gantry and 30 cents per ramp gantry. Before this change, the roundtrip tolls from my district in southwest Miami to downtown were $2.50. If the new tolls are implemented, the cost would rise to $4.20. Commuters who use the expressway will see an increase in what they spend on tolls when the new charges begin next summer. 

MDX has vastly overreached its boundaries as a quasi-governmental body and I hope to remedy the situation for my constituents legislatively before the charges come into effect in June 2014. To borrow the term coined by Roll Back Tolls, MDX is practicing “tollation” — tolling without representation. 

Even though MDX is a state-sanctioned agency, there are systemic inadequacies within its structure. I’m worried that MDX is not held properly accountable for its decisions because there are no elected officials sitting on the board and it has not prudently explored other options to finance future projects. I’m also worried about MDX’s apparent monopoly over tolls in Miami-Dade County and its inability to engage in active listening with the public. 

This decision to raise tolls portrays MDX as having little concern for the economic well-being of the resident, and I will remain adamant in supporting my constituency on this controversial issue. 

Jeanette Nuñez, state representative, Miami

-----
As always, you can read much more analysis on other problems associated with the arrogant folks at MDX at Transit Miami, where they've been hip to what MDX has been doing for as long as I've been -expanding their fiefdom.
http://www.transitmiami.com/

Transit Miami @transitmiami https://twitter.com/transitmiami
"Transit Miami is an online web journal dedicated to advancing smart growth oriented land use policies, and mutlimodal transportation in South Florida."

Jeanette Nuñez's profile on the Florida legislature's website:
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4524

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