The readers’ forum

MDX is doing its job

 

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

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