County commission chair vows to use own power to pursue independent aviation authority
By Paola Iuspa
Miami-Dade Commission Chair Barbara Carey-Shuler says she will take steps to create a blueprint for an aviation authority if commissioners continue to reject her proposal to do so.
She said Tuesday she has the power to create her own 13-member committee to design a structure for an aviation authority.
The theory behind creating an authority is that business would improve if a board of industry experts were controlling day-to-day operations of Miami-Dade's four airports, now under the county commission. Plans to create an authority have been floating around County Hall for at least six years but have not gained political support.
In a 6-to-6 vote Tuesday, with Commissioner Natacha Seijas absent, the commission killed Ms. Carey-Shuler's proposal for the moment, with some commissioners wanting to retain control over county aviation. A tie vote keeps the measure from passing.
As an alternative, the commission's Transportation Committee Chair Dennis Moss wants to increase the board's aviation oversight rather than create an independent authority. Last week, he started a series of public hearings on corruption at Miami International.
But Ms. Carey-Shuler is not giving up on her aviation authority proposal. She said a commissioner will bring the issue back for discussion within 30 days. If unsuccessful, she said she would create the aviation authority committee without the board's consensus.
Civic leaders are also pledging their support for an aviation authority. Mario Artecona, executive director of Miami Business Forum, said his group is studying ways to put the issue to a countywide vote. The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is also considering that option.