Transportation Oversight Board Still Has Vacancies But Is Conducting Business Official Says
By Frank Norton
Four of 15 seats on the panel created to audit spending on Miami-Dade County’s $17 billion transit plan are still vacant but officials say the board is fully operational.
Only eight members of the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust are necessary for a quorum, said Nestor Toledo, acting secretary of the group, which must sign off on all spending of funds generated by the county’s transit tax, a half-cent sales surcharge passed by voters in November.
"We’re moving along and have made significant progress," said Michael Abrams, interim chairman for the trust. "There are some hang-ups with getting final members appointed, but we’re going with what we’ve got for now, and we’ll hopefully have full membership soon."
Three county commissioners – Betty T. Ferguson, Natacha Seijas and Javier D. Souto – and the Miami-Dade League of Cities have not made their allotted appointments to the board.
The League of Cities is trying to amend the ordinance that created the trust to allow one of its members to sit on the board. Mr. Toledo said the ordinance prohibits the league from appointing one of its own members.
The transit plan includes a doubling of the county bus fleet, the addition of 90 miles of rail or rapid transit lines and construction of a tunnel under the Miami River between the Brickell neighborhood and the Central Business District.
The trust has formed several subcommittees to handle external affairs, compliance and oversight, budget and finance and project-review issues.
The next full meeting of the trust is set for June 23, when members will begin discussing ratification of spending initiatives, said Mr. Toledo, an executive assistant with the Miami-Dade County Office of Public Transportation Management, which oversees the plan.