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Roads Come Before Transit for Broward, Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization

County commissioners had approved a one-cent sales tax measure to improve roads and transit throughout the county, but MPO members, dominated by city representatives, prefer an undefined infrastructure tax with a majority of funds returned to cities.
May 6, 2016, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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A post last month indicated that a 30-year, one percent transportation sales tax initiative was approved 7-1 on April 12 by the Broward County Commissioners, "comprised of nine members elected by district in partisan elections", and could be on the November ballot pending further government approvals.

Funds would have gone to a "broad range of projects include miles of light rail transit, roadway construction, sidewalks, greenways and neighborhood transit centers."

A few days later, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, a much larger, more inclusive governmental entity composed of "elected officials who represent the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, the 31 Broward municipalities, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA/Tri-Rail) and the Broward County School Board," approved "the framework of a deal between Broward County and the Broward MPO," according to the MPO.

But on May 5, the MPO rejected the measure by 21–4.  "The county effort fell apart as cities complained the transportation proposal was vague and didn't guarantee the cities enough direct money," writes Brittany Wallman, the Sun Sentinel's county government reporter.

It's unclear what the cities would spend the infrastructure surtax on. Sixty percent of the new revenue would flow to the cities and 40 percent to the county.

What's interesting here is that on a county level, transit fared relatively well, leaving the bus vs. rail debate aside. Cities would have received about 30 percent of the estimated $12.6 billion over 30 years. But that apparently didn't please most of the 31 cities that are represented in the county MPO that needed to approve the measure; they want more revenue going to them.

It will be interesting just what type of infrastructure projects the Broward County MPO wants placed on the November ballot. Hopefully the county commissioners will work out a deal to ensure that county level transit receives their fair share of revenue for the benefit of all county residents.

Hat tip to Planetizen reader, David Daniels.

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Published on Thursday, May 5, 2016 in Sun Sentinel
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