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House intervenes in expressway battle

Cooper issued a two-page order Friday granting the House’s motion.

A circuit judge has allowed the Florida House to intervene in a battle about the constitutionality of a new law that overhauls the operation of expressways in Miami-Dade County.

Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper approved a House request to help defend the law, which replaces the longstanding Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority with a new entity known as the Greater Miami Expressway Agency.

The authority filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the change, arguing in part that the law infringes on the local authority of Miami-Dade County. The House filed a motion to intervene last month, saying it has a “direct and immediate interest in preserving its core legislative functions and the constitutionality of its actions.”

But lawyers for the expressway authority objected to the House’s intervention in a document filed this month, contending that “the House neither gains nor loses anything by any judgment arising from this matter and, thus, cannot show a direct and immediate interest warranting intervention.”

Cooper issued a two-page order Friday granting the House’s motion.

The judge had been scheduled to hold a hearing this week in the case, but that hearing was canceled. A hearing is scheduled Aug. 8, according to an online docket.

The authority filed the lawsuit in May, shortly after the Legislature gave final approval to the bill, which drew heavy debate from Miami-Dade lawmakers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law July 3. DeSantis and the Florida Department of Transportation are named as defendants in the case.

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