The latest community uproar regarding the MDX tolls increase begged me to ask the question: What is it about transportation in Miami-Dade that we can’t get our act together?
Is it the complicated government structure? Lack or misuse of transit funding? Elected leaderships’ lack of will to make tough decisions? Or, lack of collaboration among transportation agencies?
One thing is for sure. To residents, it’s a mystery and the organization federally responsible for long-term transportation planning and policies is the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or as I call it, the “mysterious” Planning Organization.
While staff is very knowledgeable and professional, the MPO is known to lack vision and innovation and the type of leadership that can truly create an inclusive and sustainable transportation system that prioritizes transportation and mobility options for residents.
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But there is a silver lining.
At the request of transit advocates such as TrAC, and led by Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, the MPO Governing Board stepped up and directed the open and transparent national search for the next MPO executive director.
This is a critical opportunity to get fresh leadership that can have an enormous positive impact on our transportation infrastructure.
The appointed selection committee, which is subject to the Sunshine Law (meaning the public can attend the interviews), includes: Oliver Gilbert, city of Miami Gardens mayor and MPO Vice Chair; Esteban Bovo and Dennis Moss, Miami-Dade County commissioners; Perla Tabares Hantman, Miami-Dade County School Board chair; and Philip Levine, city of Miami Beach mayor.
While we wait for the MPO executive director position to be advertised on www.miamidade.gov/jobs, you are encouraged to become a part of the process by reaching out to the selection committee members to express to them your transportation priorities and issues and what type of director you’d like to see.
As citizens, let’s become engaged and part of the solution to our transportation woes to make the MPO the Magnificent Planning Organization.
Maggie Fernandez, Miami