Miami-Dade County mayor opposes state takeover of MDX

Florida lawmakers want to replace agency that manages toll roads

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A toll takeover is being proposed in Miami-Dade County.

The plan on the table is to replace the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority that oversees the county's toll roads, but Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez wants to put the brakes on that plan.

"This is personal to get rid of the executive director and get rid of anyone on the board that refused to do what they wanted to do," Gimenez said.

The mayor is driving opposition against state plans.

"This bill repeals and replaces the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, which most know as MDX." State Rep. Bryan Avila, a Miami Republican, said during a hearing Tallahassee last week.

Avila's bill would replace the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, which collects tolls, operates and maintains the county's tolled highways, with a new state-run agency.

The bill passed the House and it's moving ahead the Senate. Miami-Dade County's Transportation Chairman Esteban Bovo also is on board.

Bovo said the state lawmakers got involved because MDX officials haven't been responsive to Tallahassee's requests for information and opposed lowering tolls.

The state bill aims to rebate high-paying toll drivers 25%. It's a goal, but it's not set in stone.

"MDX couldn't reduce the tolls immediately at the behest of Florida because the rating agencies were going to look at that in a negative way," Gimenez said.

The mayor notes the uncertain political environment jeopardizes the county's bond rating, making loans for road projects more expensive.

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