Miami-Dade's mayor would seize the chairmanship of the county’s controversial toll authority under a Tallahassee proposal that is part of a larger fight over how Miami-Dade makes decisions on transportation funding.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Thursday he backs the idea of becoming chairman of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, a panel better known as the MDX and best known for recent toll expansions on the county’s main east-west highway.
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores, a Republican and chair of the Miami-Dade delegation, would shuffle membership of the authority, which uses toll revenue for highway construction throughout Miami-Dade.
"I think it needs some accountability," Gimenez said of MDX during a County Hall interview Thursday. "My presence would bring the MDX more into the sunshine."
As of Thursday night, the MDX plan appeared stalled in Tallahassee as Flores hit opposition when she tried to add language to a bill involving the Central Florida Expressway Authority. She said she would explore other ways to get the legislation onto the Senate floor for a vote.
The effort is the latest twist in a legislative session that has local state lawmakers trying to change the make-up of county transportation boards.
The county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, which maps out spending priorities for federally-funded transportation projects, on Thursday formally objected to proposed state legislation that would sharply reduce the number of county commissioners who serve on the board. Sponsored by Miami Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, the proposal by the Republican lawmaker so rankled the commission that one commissioner this week briefly threatened to pull funding of a county staffer that runs the Miami-Dade delegation office while the Legislature is in session.
"We are paying for staff for a delegation that doesn't even support us," Commissioner Audrey Edmonson said at Tuesday’s county commission meeting.