In response to your editorial MDX should seek new solutions to county traffic woes (Pinecrest Tribune, Dec. 1-14), I would like to point out that since its inception the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority has been working with Miami-Dade County’s Transit, Aviation and Public Works Departments, local municipalities and the Florida Department of Transportation to facilitate the infrastructure needed to address the transportation needs of our growing community.
MDX is cognizant of our mission to move people and goods safely and efficiently throughout the County. MDX has long recognized that you cannot build your way out of congestion and the solution lies in a cooperative approach between all transportation agencies, including transit.
The latest MDX Five-Year Work Program invests $880 million into infrastructure projects that will improve traffic flow and alleviate bottlenecks throughout the system, especially on SR 836. These improvements are being implemented with a foresight into using the existing system to accommodate improved transit bus service as a preliminary step into a potential future express service as you describe. Many of these improvements include a wider footprint looking at a cooperative use with transit. Since 2005, Miami- Dade Transit buses have been allowed to use our existing shoulders to bypass congestion through an agreement with that agency.
As a next step, Miami-Dade Transit in cooperation with MDX, FDOT and the MPO has commenced the planning of SR 836 Express Bus Service. MDX was the proponent of this concept and led the environmental clearance for the park and ride elements of the project. This study is part of an incremental approach to implement rapid transit services on the East-West Corridor.
“The SR 836 Express will operate primarily on the Dolphin Expressway – resulting in no intermediate stops between the origin and destination – thereby reducing transit travel times. Vehicles for this service will be branded for easy identification. Other vehicle characteristics include increased bus seating capacity, free on-board Wi-Fi and real-time bus tracking equipment to provide a greater level of comfort and convenience to passengers.” – SR 836 Express Bus project fact sheet.
MDX is investing 85 percent of the new revenues to widen and correct operational deficiencies on SR 836 from NW 87th Avenue to I-95. These improvements will address congestion for all users, including commuters, freight and transit services. When these projects are completed, a once aging SR 836 will be completely widened and rebuilt.
The projects in the work program will contribute to the South Florida economy by supporting more than 10,400 local jobs and alleviate congestion on critical east-west expressways. The development, design and construction of these transportation infrastructure projects will improve mobility in Miami-Dade County for generations to come.
MDX was established in 1994 to ensure that toll money collected locally was used to fund local transportation improvements needed to support the county’s then decaying infrastructure and highway system. Customers that used the system, provide MDX with its only source of funding. The agency does not receive any financial support from the county, state or federal government. These tolls are reinvested back into the MDX system to maintain, operate and improve the system to meet the transportation needs of a growing metropolitan community. Prior to the establishment of MDX, revenue collected in Miami-Dade was shared with counties state-wide. Without these user fees paid by the motorists who use the highways, the region’s transportation infrastructure would not be able to keep pace with population growth, limiting our ability to create new economic opportunities.