Reason Foundation study says local toll agencies should be independent of DOT

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Rather than consolidating local toll agencies in Florida’s large urban areas with the Florida Turnpike, those agencies should be made independent of the Florida Department of Transportation so they can better meet local needs. That is the primary conclusion of a 51-page study released today by the Reason Foundation, a national nonprofit public policy think tank based in Los Angeles, California.

“Florida has long been a national leader with its local tolling authority model,” said the Reason Foundation’s Robert Poole, one of the principle authors of the study. “Other states like Texas embrace this model, and for Florida to consolidate creating a bigger government bureaucracy, would be a mistake.”

The study found that the two primary reasons put forth for toll agency consolidation in Florida—cost savings and interoperability—are being achieved already without consolidation. The study analyzed claims that consolidation will bring as much as $24-million in annual cost savings and found that most of those savings have already been realized through collaboration among local authorities and contracting with private-sector vendors.

The study was made possible by a grant to the Reason Foundation from Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), representing Florida’s business community. “Reason Foundation is a nationally recognized public policy think tank, and we value co-authors Robert Poole and Daryl Fleming’s professional assessment of this topic,” said Jose L. Gonzalez, AIF Vice President of Governmental Affairs.

The study also recommends that local tolling authorities be given greater autonomy from the state. Instead of consolidating, the state should foster strong, self-supporting urban toll agencies and level the playing field for all tolling agencies.

To view the full study, click here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.