In the face of mounting criticism in Kendall, Javier Rodriguez, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority executive director, patiently explained the practices and history of MDX, the “agency of the state” responsible for Sunpass tolling on two major Kendall expressways.
Speaking to a Nov. 8 Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations town meeting audience of more than 50, Rodriguez reviewed MDX operations before facing a barrage of accusations from critics, ranging from “taking over US1” to “stealing the people’s money,” during a question and answer session.
Despite corrections of mistaken statements following a review of MDX’s origination, residents Carlos Garcia and Miller Myers, co-leaders to “Roll Back Tolls” effort on the Shula (SR 874) and Snapper Creek (SR 878) expressways, openly criticized MDX budgeting “without a thought of the people’s pocketbook in hard economic times.”
Garcia stressed that “by 2014, every mile of the Dolphin Expressway [SR 836] will cost you at least a dollar to travel.” Others who commute regularly on the two southwestern expressways have griped since July 17 about the addition of gantries that extract 25 cent and 50 cent tolls, one traveler complaining “you make us detour all around Kendall with them under construction.”
Earlier, Rodriguez described the rationale behind the authority created by Miami- Dade’s Commission and legislators to “better fund Miami expressways.” It came out of an oversight board that was created by the state to monitor Florida Department of Transportation funding and operations in 1988, in part due to dissatisfaction with local distribution of state funds.
That action further motivated officials “to create a way for Miami-Dade to manage and improve local tolled expressways” instead of dependency on the State Department of Transportation.
“The result was the passage of a resolution in 1994 by the Dade Commission to create a separate entity that would separately administer five expressways which then collected tolls at single plazas,” Rodriguez said.
At that time, locations included one near the Orange Bowl at NW 17th Avenue for east and westbound SR 836 (Dolphin Expressway); on the Shula (SR 874) where it connects to Florida’s Turnpike; at the Gratigny, and at a single direction plaza on SR 112 (Airport Expressway).