Miamidade Throws Support Behind Creation Of Regional Transportation Authority
By Frank Norton
sales-tax question heads for november ballot as miami-dade seeks traffic solutions, federal funds miami-dade throws support behind creation of regional transportation authority creation of tri-county economic development strategies gains favor miami beach plans to expand convention center, build symphony sound studio former cola bottling plant to be home for indoor cart racing ecuadorian trade mission brings new company reps to miami archival effort chronicles history of miami-dade’s visual arts since 1945 calendar of events fyi miami filming in miami front page about miami today put your message in miami today contact miami today job opportunities research our files the online archive order reprints miami-dade throws support behind creation of regional transportation authorityBy Frank Norton
Miami-Dade County on Tuesday became the last of the three counties needed to approve expanding the existing Tri-Rail Board into a new and more powerful South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.
The development of a regional authority is seen as crucial to spearheading efforts for regional integration to improve commuting and for the area to carry enough weight to win state and federal matching dollars for transportation improvements.
"This is an opportunity to plan cooperatively, streamline the administration of our transportation systems and compete as a region," said Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, who is also Tri-Rail’s incoming chairman.
The regional transportation authority would combine all county rail, bus and other transit services into one regional operation, unifying purchasing, planning and customer service.
But in order to qualify for matching dollars by the federal government’s November 2003 funding window, the legislative delegation must successfully lobby state officials to broaden the group’s authority and a public works revenue stream must be in place to finance future projects.
Broward and Palm Beach County commissioners and the Tri-Rail board itself have already approved the proposal to create a regional transportation authority to serve South Florida.
If the state approves the group becoming a regional authority and increase in responsibilities, Tri-Rail officials have already said they could raise their share of funds by charging a $2 fee on all vehicle registrations and renewals, generating about $8 billion annually, Commissioner Barreiro said.
Forged in 1989 by the Florida Department of Transportation, the Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority already has the ability to issue bonds, enter contracts and has power of condemnation, allowing it to buy land. It was created to build South Florida’s 71-mile commuter line.