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Home Rule Keeps Miami Dade Expressway Active For Now

Miami Downtown Florida road signs Key Biscayne
Adobe Stock

Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled Friday that a state law abolishing the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority known as MDX is unconstitutional. 

The Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis wanted to replace MDX and create the Greater Miami Expressway Agency or GMX in its place. But Judge Cooper says the law violates home rule protections. But he also says if the legislature wanted to go around the county on the issue, there is a way.

“Maybe the plaintiffs don’t want to hear this, but if you wanted to do something that affected MDX, if you’re the legislature, all you have to do is do something that affects MDX and abolishes the one in Hillsborough County and put GMX in charge of both of them," stated Cooper.

The state argued home rule should not apply because the roads operated by MDX don’t just affect Miami-Dade residents. It’s expected that the state will appeal the ruling in hopes that another judge sees the case differently. In the meantime, the judge has given an injunction to allow MDX to continue operating as it is.

The legislature was trying to make changes so that tolls on the expressway would be capped. But Miami-Dade County Mayor and MDX Chairman Carlos Gimenez says they’ve already implemented portions of what was in the law.

“The MDX board had already done that. And said there was no reason for us to. And we already made that very public that we weren’t. We had reduced tolls 5 percent the year before. And we also instituted a rebate program," said Gimenez.

During the 2019 session Rep. Bryan Avila (R-Hialeah) said MDX isn’t doing its job, and only implemented certain changes after he called them outlaws. 

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.