The Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority (MDX) says it’s being bullied by the Legislature. Now, MDX has filed suit to see if the courts agree.
MDX filed suit in Tallahassee against Attorney General Pam Bondi, seeking a finding that recent changes to the Florida Expressway Authority Act are unconstitutional and invalid. Bondi’s office says they have not been served with the lawsuit.
The amendments, among other things, mandated a reduction in toll rates, limited the amount of toll revenue that can be used for administrative expenses, and changed auditing procedures, according to the complaint.
MDX alleges these requirements should be rendered null, as they usurp authority granted to MDX via a transfer agreement signed in 1996. That agreement “granted to MDX full financial control” of the five expressways located in Miami-Dade County, the complaint asserts.
The MDX Board says at first, it believed it was exempted from the requirements and did not act upon them. The lawsuit then states that the board was threatened with dissolution if it did not comply.
Thus, MDX is asking for a declaratory judgment that the amendments are unconstitutional.
The complaint notes MDX decided to sue Bondi “because the Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the State having the duty to enforce” the applicable laws. (Technically, Bondi is the state’s “chief legal officer” under the state constitution; the governor “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”)
Essentially, Article VIII, Section 2(b) of the state constitution allows cities to enact local ordinances without prior state approval. MDX alleges that authority is being trampled on by the amendments at issue in the lawsuit.
MDX asserts that concept, along with the 1996 transfer agreement, grant it full authority to operate the county’s toll systems on the five expressways within the board’s jurisdiction.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James Shelfer.