Florida State Senator, (and Miami Springs Senior High Alum), Manny Diaz, Jr. and Florida State House Representative, (Miami Springs resident and MSSH Alum), Bryan Avlia, both filed bills in their respective houses that would remove the express lanes that were installed on the Palmetto / 826 expressway and put in a prohibition against tolls on the road.

Why?

The Express Lanes installed on the Palmetto have been a disaster.  It’s not like the Express Lanes installed on I-75 that were additional lanes that did not take away from the regular traffic lanes.  Furthermore, the I-75 express lanes did not create bottle necks for the regular traffic.

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The Palmetto Expressway took away regular traffic lanes for Express Lanes and created nasty bottle necks in the Hialeah / Medley corridor.  To put it plainly, the Palmetto, which was never a great highway, went from bad to worse.  Furthermore, it penalized anyone who had to drive to or from Hialeah the most.  (Hialeah is only the second biggest city in county.)

Senator Manny Diaz, Jr and Representative Bryan Avila were also upset with this disaster created by the Florida Department of Transportation.  To be fair, this plan was approved years before either Diaz or Avila were elected to office.  But it’s obvious by their actions that they are not accepting this disaster and money grab by the Florida Department of Transportation.

State Senator Manny Diaz, Jr.

Senator Manny Diaz, Jr. filed the following legislature in the Senate.  It would remove the express lanes from the Palmetto and make the Palmetto a toll free roadway.

    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to express lanes; creating s. 338.167,
    3         F.S.; prohibiting express lanes and tolls on a
    4         specified state road; requiring the Department of
    5         Transportation to remove all existing express lanes
    6         and the imposition of tolls; providing an effective
    7         date.
    8          
    9  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   10  
   11         Section 1. Section 338.167, Florida Statutes, is created to
   12  read:
   13         338.167 Prohibition of express lanes and tolls on specified
   14  facilities.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the
   15  contrary, effective July 1, 2020, the department may not operate
   16  any express lanes or impose any tolls on State Road 826. As of
   17  July 1, 2020, the department shall remove all express lanes on
   18  State Road 826 and convert those lanes to general purpose lanes
   19  and remove the imposition of all tolls.
   20         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.

Bryan Avila

Representative Bryan Avila filed a similar bill in the house.

A bill to be entitled
An act relating to express lanes; prohibiting State
Road 826 from having any express lane or toll;
requiring express lanes that exist on such road as of
a specified date to be immediately opened to the
public; requiring tolls that exist on such road as of
a specified date to be immediately removed;
prohibiting charges from being imposed for use of such
road; providing an effective date.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

Section 1. Prohibition of all express lanes and tolls on
State Road 826.—State Road 826 may not have any express lane or
toll. Any express lane that exists on State Road 826 on the
effective date of this act must be immediately opened to the
public for use as a regularly marked lane on the road for
vehicular traffic. Any toll that exists on State Road 826 on the
effective date of this act must be immediately removed and a
charge may not be imposed for use of the road.
Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.

Representative Bryan Avila posted the following on social media:

“The express lanes on the Palmetto Expressway have been absolutely disastrous for our community. We deserve and need transportation solutions.”

Brian Mudd Interview with Manny Diaz, Jr.

 

We are encouraged by the efforts of the two local lawmakers.  We appreciate the fact that they acknowledge what every driver of the Palmetto knows…the Express Lanes have taken away good normal lanes and purposefully created traffic gridlock.

The I-75 Express Lanes are an example of great design.  The Palmetto Express Lanes are an example of disastrous design.  I-75 created new lanes and did not take away current good lanes.  The Palmetto Express Lanes took away good lanes for the purpose of created the FDOT cash grab.

We encourage residents to support the efforts of these two Miami Springs Senior High graduates that are fighting to remove the Express Lanes and make the entire Palmetto toll free.

Now, just because two representatives from Miami are fighting to pass these bills does not mean it will become law.  It’s vitally important that residents reach out to other representatives and Senators and even the Governor.  If we want to fix the mess the FDOT has imposed in Miami-Dade, we need to encourage the other lawmakers to support the bills presented by State Senator Manny Diaz, Jr. and State Representative Bryan Avila.

If this law goes through, it won’t go into effect until July 1st.  Furthermore, there’s no telling how long it will take for the tolling infrastructure and plastic poles to be removed.  But it would halt the expansion of the Express Lanes that the FDOT has planned.

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FEEDBACK

We’d love to get your feedback.  Do you like the idea of freeing up all the lanes for general use?  Please comment below or on social media and share with your friends.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Agree completely on Palmetto. Don’t agree that I75 is a good idea. It should have been rail from Coral Springs to the Metro. The center rail would have had long term environment and economic solutions and the property is gone forever.

  2. I’m all behind removing this crazy express lane that’s bottled up our already-congested Palmetto Expressway. It is absurd to see what these so-called engineers have made of our roads, not to mention that residents of Hialeah, Miami Springs and Medley can not only not use, but has obstructed althemore our already over-crowded roads. We are already over-crowed as it is (thank you city planners), and now we have to contend with this insult.

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