Welcome to MDX’s “Tree Million Dollar” Highway Paradise!

874 palm trees with cost arrows

Should we the toll payers be funding such expensive eye candy?

Community Newspaper $8000 palms 6-2012 Our toll dollars sure can buy a lot of trees from Manuel Diaz Farms!  On the 874 in Kendall alone Miami-Dade Expressway Authority has “rubber stamped” another very expensive landscaping project.  To the tune of $3,000,000.00(Tree Million).  And of course every inch of land and space has been used by MD Farms to plant a tree, palm or bush.

While one can’t argue that the work does not look very nice, there are those South Florida toll payers that believe it is excessive.  Especially in a slow economy with many people out Manuel Diaz ExpresswayIn fact take a look at the full cost details and make up your own mind.

Years have gone by since MDX first started talking about a customer reward program or discounts for frequent users or students.  And they have come up with zero.  We have asked them to consider rolling back toll rates since they are taking in 25% more revenue with Open Road Tolling.  Again, nothing but the same old lines about their indenture obligation with the bond holders.  I wonder if MDX’s bond rating by Fitch or Moody’s would be affected if they did not spend all the money they got from the bond sale?  Is that it? Or is some sort of backdoor deal going on here?  This is Miami.  Home of the kick back.

As a toll payer we would like to hear from you on this subject.  Do you agree that MDX needs to spend $3 million dollars on landscaping a single toll road?  Would you rather MDX put in more cost effective landscaping? Or would you prefer that MDX use the money to  pay down it’s debt obligation or fund a user discount program?  Or, do you feel this is a complete waste of money?  Please leave a comment below or post it on our Facebook page.

 

 Roll Back Tolls

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5 Responses to Welcome to MDX’s “Tree Million Dollar” Highway Paradise!

  1. Bill Bissett says:

    I live in 3 Lakes and have seen the landscaping along Don Shula and 878 and wondered what the heck our govt officials are doing with the incredibly extravagant landscaping when we have so many other needs. Then I saw “Diaz Farms” on the side of the trucks and thought “same old same old politics” we taxpayers have had to undergo for decades.

    I pass the landscaping improvements every day and ask, is this the entrance to DisneyWorld? And, how much is the landscaping cost (product cost vs installation labor) And, how much is it going to cost going forward to maintain all of this looking decent? Right now, while they are installing expenses palms incredibly close to one another, the areas where palms were already installed have weeds growing and fronds needing trimming.

    Add to that the fact that this project did not generate much in terms of jobs as far as I can see. When I see work being done installing palms or trees, it’s a small crew (who likely are not even legal) being paid minimum wage. The lions share of the money paid by MDX is going to Diaz’ product. This large contract does not seem to give any boost to the economy – it boosts Diaz’ bank account, and he already has all the money a person could want.

    About 3 weeks ago, I went on the MDX website and filled out the Govt in Sunshine Request for all the specifics on the costs associated with the landscaping improvements on 878 and 874 since Jan, 2010. Their robo reply said they would provide the information, but nothing has been supplied to date.

    I cannot believe that none of the local media or investigative reporters have jumped on this absurd extravagance along a highway where the motorist is supposed to be focusing on the roadway. Add more lanes or other improvements to make time spent on the road quicker and cheaper, not this kind of craziness. They could have used some of that money to create a new right hand turn lane from the exit lane off the turnpike onto SW 117th Ave so traffic doesn’t back up waiting for the traffic lights. Would reduce accidents, stress and expedite people’s time getting home.

    Lastly, have you noticed the hundreds of trees and palms that were planted in the drainage ditches and in what look like ponds (especially at the Killian exit). Can the trees live through having roots saturated constantly during summer rainy season?

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    Bill

    • Carlos says:

      Bill, you are so right on the money with this out of control spending by MDX. One thing that they will do if you mention “tax money” or “tax payer” is that they do not take a dime of tax money. They are fully funded through the tolls they collect on their highways. So the argument from a tax payers perspective does not fly with them. Most people in Miami-Dade don’t know this. MDX’s answer to any negative comments about them is, if you don’t like what we do, then don’t take “our” roads. Yes, they say “our” roads as in they own the roads.

      The whole thing with the landscaping is beyond excessive. They just love to spend all the bond money they have easy access to and dole out big contracts to all their cronies.

      They have a new name in our eyes: MDX (Manuel Diaz Expressway Authority).

      • Bill Bissett says:

        Follow what you’re saying Carlos, but when I pay a “user” fee, I only want to pay for maintenance and upkeep of the roadway itself, which is what my car is using. Although nice greenery on the side of the road is okay, I ain’t drivin on that. Plus what MDX did to me verges on criminal. Aside from the extravagant cost, the maintenance is going to cost a fortune to us tollpayers.

        I would prefer they added a couple more lanes and get rid of the median and just put up a high cement barrier to protect opposite lanes of traffic. I don’t see how their “improvement” project alleviated that much traffic-wise, particularly since the govt. continues to approve powerful developers’ schemes expending west and south.

        Is there some reason that none of the local TV or newspaper media want to touch this sweetheart Manny Diaz Expressway deal? I see local TV stations go after Metro-Dade for a lot less.

  2. Pat Milone says:

    Wonder how these desert palms will fare during Monsoon season, and during hurricane force winds? What were they thinking?! I don’t see how this jives with MDX Creation Statement: “we operate, maintain, and improve these roadways with only the revenue from the tolls collected.” Perhaps they should change that to “We collect tolls ONLY to operate, maintain and improve these roadways.” That would eliminate the Junglization of expressway medians at our expense.

  3. Pat Milone says:

    Looks like someone at MDX failed to read the broshure! Apparently high and dry in a desert is the ideal envirnment for these pricey palms (unless our tolls also paid for a water level/rainfall study of the planting site): “INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE of Medjool Date Palms:
    1. Plant them high. Raise the bed, and be sure that no water stands around the roots or in the bottom of the hole. If there’s water in the planting hole, it’s not a suitable site for a date.
    2. Plant them in sand, not muck, not marl. It must drain well.
    3. Maintain an area around the tree weed-free and flower-free. Don’t plant anything around them, especially not turf. For sure, nothing that needs to be watered.
    4. Water them during a respectable establishment period (a few months), then almost never again.
    5. Keep a very close eye on them. At the first sign of trouble get a diagnosis and treat the problem. There are many problems for which there are no treatments available, but treat anything you can treat, and do so promptly.
    6. Be very attentive to the nutritional needs of your palm. Florida soils are nutrient-poor and typically have a pH above 8.0. Use a palm special fertilizer formulation, and apply 1.5 lbs./100 square feet four times per year, during the warm months. And keep an eye out for deficiency symptoms, especially potassium and the trace elements.

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