transportation

Americans are driving more than ever before, according to new data released today by the Federal Highway Administration.

Drivers in cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs put a record 3.22 trillion miles on the nation's roads last year, up 2.8 percent from 3.1 trillion miles in 2015.

A bill preventing local governments from regulating what sponsors are calling transportation network companies is moving in the House, with major backers Uber and Lyft confident it will pass.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was in Miami on Wednesday to tout the $10 billion  in transportation spending he’s included in his proposed budget for 2017-2018.

 

The governor spoke at PortMiami surrounded by dozens of orange-vested workers -- some of the more than 200-thousand employees he said the port supports.

 

A Miami appeals court is siding with Governor Rick Scott and San Francisco-based technology giant Uber in a dispute over the status of part-time drivers. 

The Third District Court of Appeals in Miami has decided Uber drivers are independent contractors and not employees and therefore not eligible for unemployment benefits.

The ruling cites a standard Uber contract requiring drivers to acknowledge that they are independent contractors. The driver argued Uber controls almost every aspect of his performance and had the right to fire him.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Five, 15 or 50 years from now, what’s the future of Miami and its metro area?

At times, it looks traffic-jammed, Zika-infected, unaffordable and drowning under rapidly rising seas.

But if the region's trio of chief resiliency officers have their way -- maybe not.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are now working as contractors for the rapidly growing ride-hailing industry, specifically for the largest companies, Uber and Lyft. But a new survey, released this week, finds that Lyft, with its fluorescent pink mustache symbol, is more popular with drivers.

C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

A state senator who represents parts of Miami has filed a bill that would eliminate county-run expressways, including MDX, the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority.

Republican Sen. Frank Artiles (40th District) said in a press release that Senate Bill 308 would, quote, “cut down on bureaucratic government.”

If passed, the bill would transfer control of county expressways -- and their toll revenues -- from counties to the state of Florida. 

Artiles said the change would cut costs for drivers.

Kate Stein / WLRN

The southernmost blocks of Biscayne Boulevard go past American Airlines Arena, the Bayside Marketplace mall and Bayfront Park. All places  where people -- often crowds of people -- like to walk. But because of all the cars speeding by, walking in the area can be dangerous. Sidewalks are narrow, and crossing the street -- well, either you can wait a long while or take your chances in the traffic.

 

Enter Biscayne Green.

 

With the new year came a new increase to Florida’s gas tax. But it’s unlikely consumers will even notice the rate hike: it amounts to one tenth of one cent. 

Florida’s gas tax is one of the highest in the country, totaling 36.59 cents per gallon. An additional 18.4 cents goes to the federal government, before cycling back down to state projects. The revenue helps restore and maintain the state’s aging infrastructure. But like the country’s roads and bridges, the tax base is crumbling.

WUSF News

This week on The Florida Roundup...

2016 was the year that defied predictions, but that won't stop our panel of journalists from making some forecasts for the upcoming year.

Tom MacKenzie / USFWS

When most of us think of Miami International Airport, we don't think of scorpions, sloths, sharks or spiders.

But it turns out the airport is kind of a zoo. Because in addition to being one of the United States' busiest passenger airports, MIA is one of the busiest American airports for importing animals and animal products.

Peter Haden / WLRN

A South Florida university is on a path to help improve the country’s transportation systems, thanks to a boost from the federal government.

Florida Atlantic University will get $8.5 million  over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund research on how to move freight more efficiently and make roads safer.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A backhoe joyride on the Seven Mile Bridge last winter that tied up traffic in the Florida Keys and caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage has ended in state prison.

Carl Blahnik, 60, was sentenced this week to 30 months in state prison. He also has to pay more than $43,000 in restitution for damage to the bridge and the backhoe.

apennyatwork.com / Broward County and cities

Broward County rejected a proposed sales tax hike on Tuesday when voters decided against one of two intertwined tax increases.

 

Voters decided in favor of a tax increase for transportation improvements, but rejected another proposal to increase taxes to pay for infrastructure upgrades. 

 

This week on The Florida Roundup…

A plan for a Miami Beach light rail gets a bit lighter due to high costs and pushback from the community. We discuss the challenges faced in funding public transit projects with Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales and The Miami Herald’s  reporter Joey Flechas.

Listen here: 

Pages