14 local officials join protest of MDX expressway toll hikes

14 local officials join protest of MDX expressway toll hikes

Pictured atKendall pressconference on June 17 are (l-r)State Rep. CarlosTrujillo, Cutler Bay MayorEdward MacDougall, RollBack Tolls cochairCarlosGarcia and StateRep. Jose Diaz.

On the eve of a newly proposed MDX toll hike, the Kendall-based “Roll Back Tolls” (RBT) campaign counted 14 city, county and state officials lined up to back the organization’s protest of new charges on Miami-Dade expressways.

Letters of support have been posted on the RBT website from seven Miami-Dade legislators, five city mayors and two county commissioners, opposing a toll increase approved on June 18 by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX).

Rallying media support at a June 17 press conference, RBT co-chair Carlos Garcia introduced State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (District 116) and State Rep. Carlos Trujillo (District 105), both of whom expressed opposition to any new tolling that may affect the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836).

Joining them was Cutler Bay Mayor Edward MacDougall who said, “I’ve been part of this grassroots effort now since its earliest days, and we need more citizens involved to step up and tell the MDX ‘give us a break.’”

Rep. Diaz said he would back legislation that would change MDX board representation from a fully appointed body to a partially or fully elected group.

“People who use these expressways to commute daily need to have a voice in how they are operated,” he commented.

Rep. Trujillo added his support.

Other state officials who have backed the RBT include State Sen. Anitere Flores, State Representatives Erik Fresen, Jeanette Nunez, Holly Raschein and Michael Bileca.

County Commissioners Esteban Bovo and Xavier Suarez also have declared their opposition as well as Mayors Cindy Lerner (Pinecrest), Shelley Stanczyk (Palmetto Bay), Matti Herrera-Bower (Miami Beach) and Philip Stoddard (South Miami).

While MDX action on June 18 only effected a change on SR 836 tolling, Garcia emphasized that, “We are going to keep fighting any decisions that the MDX board makes that continues charging fees for use of taxpayer-paid expressways.”

The lack of “accountability” by a board that has no elected members has been one of the RBT’s prime goals for changing MDX authority since Garcia formed the organization three years ago to protest tolls on the Shula (SR 874) and Snapper Creek (SR 878) expressways which serve a large number of Kendall commuters.

For more information on Roll Back Tolls, visit www.rollbacktolls.com or call 305-439-3835.

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