Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 112274
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File Number: 112274 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-931-11 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: SOUTH FL REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY Introduced: 10/25/2011
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 11/3/2011
Agenda Date: 11/3/2011 Agenda Item Number: 11A1
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE 2012 PROPOSED DRAFT STATE LEGISLATIVE POSITION OF THE SOUTH FLORIDA REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY RELATED TO PRIVATIZATION OF TRI-RAIL AND OTHER ASSOCIATED CHANGES PROPOSED BY FDOT; OPPOSING FDOT PROPOSALS RELATED TO THE SFRTA AND TRI-RAIL
Indexes: LEGISLATURE
Sponsors: Bruno A. Barreiro, Prime Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Xavier L. Suarez, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 11/3/2011 11A1 Adopted P
REPORT: Commissioner Diaz noted this proposed resolution would prevent the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) from privatizing Tri-Rail. He questioned the State’s intention, pointing out that a significant amount of taxpayer money had already been spent on the train system. Commissioner Barreiro explained that legislation providing Governor Rick Scott with the ability to make appointments to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) existed. He indicated that the FDOT and the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) were engaged in discussions which were not open to County government or to the public. Commissioner Barreiro said it was rumored that Tri-Rail would either be sold to the FEC or managed by the FEC and that the State rather than the County would exercise control over the rail system. He noted Tri-Rail received State and federal funding in addition to local taxpayer funding and that local revenues already received would not be reimbursed to the County. Commissioner Barreiro stressed the importance of Tri-Rail remaining a regional asset and controlled by the region. He said that the region needed to engage in an open dialogue about privatization and that this decision should not be imposed by the State. Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty clarified that private negotiations between the FDOT and the FEC were on-going and neither the SFRTA nor the local counties were represented in these discussions. In response to Commissioner Diaz’ question pertaining to viable alternatives, Assistant County Attorney McCarty advised that these options were limited since the funding received from each of the three regional counties was required by State Statute; however, he indicated that the County Attorney would research any potential legal recourse. Commissioner Barreiro noted Tri-Rail had some of the foremost experts in operating commuter rail systems and questioned the rationale for the State trying to impose, take-over, and control the rail system. Commissioner Souto noted he concurred with Commissioner Barreiro’s concern that the State was taking over control of the County’s regional rail system and stressed the importance of developing alternative methods of transportation other than airplanes and cars. Commissioner Suarez noted he shared Commissioner Souto’s concern; however, he was unsure whether the adoption of this proposed resolution would have the consequence of curtailing the FEC’s willingness to provide infrastructure improvements and provide an improved train system. Commissioner Barreiro explained that Broward and Palm Beach Counties had already passed similar resolutions; that Tri-Rail was already substantially privatized; and that the County had repeatedly asked to be included in the discussions between the FDOT and the FEC. He noted it was now necessary to pass legislation urging the State legislature to stop this process or to include the County in the discussions. Commissioner Barreiro said the FEC could operate commuter rail on the County’s tracks today and he encouraged them to do so. He explained that the State expressed no previous interest when the County double-tracked the old CSX lines for Tri-Rail; obtained federal funding; and constructed and improved the rail lines. Commissioner Barreiro pointed out that the State began showing interest once Tri-Rail’s trains were operating smoothly and on schedule. Commissioner Suarez noted the State of Florida’s Secretary of Transportation voiced concern in a recent meeting that the public was opposed to the State’s plan and believed that the State wanted to privatize Tri-Rail. He said he believed everyone wanted a Tri-Rail which went through municipalities and population centers served by the FEC lines. Commissioner Suarez noted with its current 12-13,000 daily passengers, Tri-Rail was not a viable system and it would be hurt by competition with a revitalized FEC line. He inquired whether the resolution’s intent was to urge the State to pay attention to the County’s concerns or to oppose the implementation of a rail line along the FEC corridor. Commissioner Barreiro responded that the regional plan was for a mass transit commuter rail along the FEC corridor. He noted he proposed a MetroRail expansion along the FEC corridor which connected the Miami International and Broward County Airports. Commissioner Barreiro explained that the resolution’s intent was to ensure that the County was represented and conversations were in the best interest of this community and not just Tallahassee. Commissioner Suarez excused himself from this discussion rather than to vote “No”. Chairman Martinez stated that he liked public/private partnerships; however he noted he was supportive of this resolution. He recalled that the State legislature forced a County referendum to add a $2 license tag fee to support Tri-Rail, which was not approved. He said that the State proceeded to withdraw its funding and then imposed mandatory initial contributions of $4.3 million each to Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties which has increased to $5 million today. Chairman Martinez emphasized that the County needed to be involved in the discussions and the State needed to listen to local concerns since it had been forcing the County to pay these fees. Commissioner Heyman noted the critical part was Section 2 of the proposed resolution which urged the State legislature to let the County remain at the table. She said the County should have a voice and the right to vote as regional representatives involved in the SFRTA and the South Florida Regional Planning Council. Commissioner Moss inquired whether Broward and Palm Beach Counties were engaged in these discussions. Commissioner Barreiro responded that Broward and Palm Beach Counties were not participating in these discussions and had adopted similar resolutions urging their inclusion. Commissioner Moss said that it appeared this proposal would hopefully make it clear to the State legislature that all three counties should be engaged in the discussions. Commissioner Souto noted the South Florida region had the population density needed for trains. He said he did not understand the State’s opposition to their involvement in the discussions when these three counties represented a significant portion of the State’s population. Commissioner Souto noted mobility was becoming a major issue in South Florida. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Commission proceeded to vote on the foregoing proposed resolution as presented.

County Attorney 10/25/2011 Assigned Jess M. McCarty

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE 2012 PROPOSED DRAFT STATE LEGISLATIVE POSITION OF THE SOUTH FLORIDA REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY RELATED TO PRIVATIZATION OF TRI-RAIL AND OTHER ASSOCIATED CHANGES PROPOSED BY FDOT; OPPOSING FDOT PROPOSALS RELATED TO THE SFRTA AND TRI-RAIL

BODY

WHEREAS, Tri-Rail is operated by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA); and
WHEREAS, the SFRTA governing board is comprised of nine members, including three citizen members, one each appointed by Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, one county commissioner from each county and three appointments by the Governor; and
WHEREAS, on August 5, 2011, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Ananth Prasad announced that the state would pursue allowing private firms to bid on running Tri-Rail, as part of a public private partnership; and
WHEREAS, the SFRTA prepared a 2012 Proposed Draft Legislative Position on this issue, a copy of which is attached and incorporated by reference herein; and
WHEREAS, this Board opposes FDOT proposals related to the SFRTA and in particular the privatization of Tri-Rail,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Supports the attached 2012 Proposed Draft State Legislative Position of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority related to privatization of Tri-Rail and other associated changes proposed by FDOT.
Section 2. Opposes FDOT legislative proposals related to the SFRTA, including:
* Removing statutory authority for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County Commissioners to appoint citizen members to the SFRTA’s governing board;
* Allowing the Governor to appoint SFRTA governing board members from outside the tri-county area;
* Weakening the SFRTA’s independent exercise of statutory powers, especially as it relates to governance and operations; and
* Extending FDOT’s exercise of control over funds contributed by Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County to the SFRTA.
Section 3. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of the resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, the Chair and Members of the Miami Dade State Legislative Delegation, the Mayor and Members of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, the Chair and Members of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, and the Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, the Executive Director of the SFRTA.
Section 4. Directs the County's state lobbyists to oppose the legislation set forth in Section 2 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to amend the 2012 state legislative package to include this item.



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