US1 Express Toll Lane to be topic of meeting

Acontroversial “US1 Express Toll Lane” proposal will be aired during a public Town Hall Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

The meeting, to be moderated by former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, begins at 6 p.m. with an informational reception on Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) plans, followed by a panel discussion from 7 to 9 p.m. hosted by the Village of Pinecrest, Chamber South Economic Development Council and Mayor Edward MacDougall of Cutler Bay.

MDX currently is studying alternative methods for express toll lanes using the South Dade Busway along US1, similar to the one installed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on I-95 between downtown Miami and the Golden Glades Interchange.

Called “Lexus Lanes” for their use by Sunpass commuters who prefer to pay for faster speed, the project is visualized by MDX to help relieve traffic congestion over the 19-mile Busway route paralleling US1 from Homestead to the Dadeland South Metrorail Station.

According to Carlos Garcia, co-chair of Roll Back Tolls, “increasing numbers of objections for a toll conversion has caused many public officials and groups in Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest to protest this idea.”

As a result, a two-part public meeting was scheduled with a panel discussion that includes invitations to MDX officials as well as participation by a recognized transportation consultant and a University of Miami professor considered an expert in urban transportation planning.

The MDX study began with public “kickoff” meetings on Sept. 7-8 2011, followed by a Tier One Workshop on May 30, when MDX spokespersons described the program. The meetings were attended by a 15-member Citizens Advisory Committee to monitor study progress.

“If MDX put forth a stronger effort to inform the public via direct mail, radio, local TV ads, email and text messaging to Sunpass users, many more interested parties would attend and be involved,” Garcia said, adding that expansion of the MDX network without prioritizing light or heavy rail alternative was another reason for scheduling the session.

“That issue alone involves Kendall or anyone else who uses US1,” he stated. Pinecrest Gardens is located at 5855 SW 111 St. (near Killian Drive and Red Road),

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