MIAMI – The Libertarian Party of Florida said today it supports elimination of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and merging the Miami-Dade’s toll-burdened system into Florida’s Turnpike.
“Time and time again, we see well-intended government-funded projects so poorly managed, that drastic measures are needed to keep them functioning,” says LPF Chairman Marcos Miralles. Miralles noted Virgin Group CEO Sir Richard Branson announced recently he is seeking to acquire interest in the South Florida “Bright Line” rail system.
“If public transportation in South Florida can attract leading investors such as Branson to improve service while making a profit, then the option is there to do the same with MDX,” said Miralles.
Criticism of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, known as “MDX” has continued to grow since its inception more than 25 years ago. Heavily burdened with debt and increasing traffic, the system has struggled to keep up. “MDX has become more of a financial burden than a benefit to our community,” says Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah.
Avila, along with state Sen. Manny Diaz. Jr., R-Hialeah Gardens, wants to dissolve the MDX and merge its road system with the Florida Turnpike. And they propose to eliminate all Miami-Dade tolls once debts are paid off. The proposals, Diaz’ CS/SB 898 and Avila’s CS/HB 385, are in committee review.
To counter the Avila-Diaz bills, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez wants to merge the non-profitable MDX with the revenue rich 48-mile section of the Florida Turnpike located in Dade County. Gimenez, who is also chairman of the MDX, wants to create a new Dade County expressway authority to oversee all toll roads in Dade County. Gimenez says his plan would allow tolls to be frozen for 20 years.
The LPF believes Gimenez’ proposal would create a new entity even more deeply burdened with debt and maintenance expenses. We doubt such a plan would prevent tolls from rising. The LPF supports privatization of all public transportation. But until that day comes, the Libertarian Party of Florida endorses the Avila–Diaz plan to dissolve MDX and merge its road system with the Florida Turnpike.
– By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer