Florida in focus: Six ways to expand rail in Miami-Dade. One option: a massive tax district for trains.

Watchdog News
Posted: Sep 05, 2017 1:42 AM

Miami Herald: Six ways to expand rail in Miami-Dade. One option: a massive tax district for trains.

The push to expand rail in Miami-Dade County continues to advance on multiple tracks — and advocates won’t take “bus” for an answer.

Even with no clear funding path to launching new rail lines, leaders demanding more train options for commuters argue that if Miami-Dade can just settle on a plan, the money will follow.

“It’s going to take bold action … to get some things done in this community,” Commissioner Dennis Moss, who wants Metrorail extended to his district in southern Miami-Dade County, said at a recent meeting of a county transportation board. “If we’re going to do things the way we’ve done them in the past, we’re going to wind up in the same place.”

Launched in the spring of 2016, Miami-Dade’s Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit plan — SMART for short — raised expectations for an historic rail expansion after it launched studies on transit options for six of the county’s busiest commuting corridors. The routes roughly mirror the new rail lines promised voters in 2002 in exchange for approving a new half-percent sales tax for transportation projects.

News Jax 4: Group voices opposition to proposal for 100 new JSO officers

A group of activists called Monday for the Jacksonville City Council to reject a budget proposal that would increase the police force, saying more officers won’t mean more safety.

Sheriff Mike Williams asked for $4.4 million to add 80 officers in the coming year and another 20 in the future. Exclusive: Mayor wants 100 new JSO officers

The City Council voted in Finance Committee to approve the 100 new Jacksonville sheriff’s officers in the upcoming budget.

But community activists want the council to slam on the brakes. A group called the Jacksonville Community Action Committee gathered Monday afternoon outside City Hall, where it plans to return Tuesday.

Tallahassee Democrat opinion: Is local consolidation the key?

In early June, we published an editorial about branding Tallahassee and asked for your input – first, about the brutal truth about what we have and what we lack, then about how to step out of the shadow of the Capitol and become more than a government town.

In our editorial, we said we believe it’s time to look – seriously, soberly and thoroughly – at consolidating our two local governments. We’re not advocating for the merger just yet, but we are advocating for thoughtful consideration of the idea.

Anyone who lives here and pays attention knows this town is hyper-politicized. We’re a city/county — and not even a large one — that’s home to three governments. Multiple layers have got to be adding to the kind of bureaucracy and confusion that leads to the things the FBI is now investigating.

Three governments means three sets of governing bodies, three sets of law enforcement agencies — more if you count campus police agencies — three of a lot of things. The question is, do we need them all?