While Miami’s political attention is on County charter changes, Miami-Dade County residents should consider a change that would reduce our second-largest cost of living: transportation.
Our largest cost of living, housing – at least the portion directly determined by County government, i.e. property taxes – is overseen by an official that we recently decided that we should elect. Now any Property Appraiser must improve the lives of a majority of County residents in the area of property taxes in order to be re-elected.
This technique should by applied to the area of transportation, changing the County charter to create an elected County Transportation Director with the power and responsibility over all modes of transportation. This would insert into County government one person whose sole political interest is to move as many County residents to destinations that matter to us.
Any candidate for County Transportation Director would have to convince a majority of voters that he or she is best able to come up with plans, and implement them, for saving us time and money by extending facilities, increasing capacity, and reducing waste. An elected County Transportation Director would have to improve the lives of a majority of County residents in the area of transportation in order to be re-elected.
Creating an elected County Transportation Director would also address issues with the current system in which certain modes of transportation, or certain facilities, are overseen by separate County departments. For example, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, because it only deals with toll highways, has an interest in not losing revenue to rail or buses. Separate departments may act against such interests out of benevolence, but it would be better to remove temptation.
Transportation investment and maintenance decisions should be made on the basis of how many people could benefit, regardless of mode or facility. An elected County Transportation Director would have every incentive to make decisions in such a way, improving mobility for all County residents and reducing our cost of living.
Submitted by Andrew Frey.
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