Regional Transportation Authority


On June 20, 2003, Governor Jeb Bush signed into law legislation creating the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority and began a promising new chapter in South Florida's transportation and economic future and quality of life.


With the creation of the Authority, the region moves one step closer to the development of a regional multi-modal transit system that will alleviate road congestion and give residents and visitors the ability to move easily throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.


The region's key business leaders, organized as the Regional Business Alliance, spearheaded the initiative to pass enacting legislation during the 2003 legislative session.  The legislation, as originally proposed, was unanimously supported by the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County Commissions; the Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority; the Regional Transportation Organization; the Metropolitan Planning Organizations; the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils; and many of the region's elected leaders and business chambers.  The region's media leaders, including the Sun-Sentinel, the Herald, the South Florida Business Journal, Miami Today, and the Palm Beach Post played a critical role in the passage of the legislation.


The South Florida Regional Planning Council, in partnership with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, contributed its expertise and significant staff resources to aide the passage of this important legislation.  In addition to hosting the Regional Business Alliance meetings, the Councils provided technical assistance, prepared the Regional Transportation Authority White Paper, and served as a central source of information and connection point for supporters of the proposal.


Legislative Summary

Prepared by the Senate Committee on Transportation


CS/CS/SB 686 - F.S. Chapter 2003-159


CS/CS/SB 686  — Transportation by Comprehensive Planning Committee, Transportation Committee, Senators Klein, Villalobos, Dawson, Margolis, Wasserman Schultz, Campbell and Bullard


This legislation amends ss. 343.51 , 343.52 , 343.53,  343.54 , 343.55 , 343.56 , 343.57 , 112.3148 , 768.28 , and creates s. 343.58 , F.S. The legislation replaces the Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) whose proposed authority would extend to any transit system in the three affected counties with approval by the county commission with authority over the transit agency. The governing board of SFRTA will consist of nine members: one county commissioner from each of the three affected counties, selected by each county commission; one resident from each county, selected by each county commission, representing business or civic interests; one representative of Florida’s Department of Transportation selected by its Secretary; and two residents of any of the three counties selected by the Governor.


The legislation provides if the SFRTA service area is expanded the new member county on the SFRTA will be represented by one member appointed by the county commission for that county; one resident from the county, selected by the county commission, representing business or civic interests; and one resident of the county selected by the Governor.


The legislation provides Palm Beach , Broward and Miami-Dade Counties must each contribute $2.67 million annually beginning on August 1, 2003 , and the committee substitute provides these funds may come from each county’s share of the ninth-cent fuel tax, the local option fuel tax, or any other source of local gas taxes or nonfederal funds available. In addition, the legislation authorizes the levy of an annual license tax in the amount of $2 for the registration or registration renewal of each vehicle registered in the area served by the SFRTA, upon approval by referendum from the registered voters in the county. The legislation specifies counties served by SFRTA must continue to dedicate $1.565 million to the SFRTA as they were dedicated annually to Tri-Rail, and the $2.67 million contribution is in addition to these funds.


The legislation authorizes the authority to expand the service area of the SFRTA beyond Palm Beach , Broward and Miami-Dade Counties and enter into a partnership with contiguous counties with consent from the county commission of that county. However, a county may join the SFRTA only in the year federal reauthorization legislation for transportation funds is enacted.


Vote:  Senate 33-3; House 117-0


Signed into law by the Governor on June 20, 2003 .  F.S. Chapter 2003-159


Effective date:  July 1, 2003


Various documents and links to other sources of information

are provided below.  We hope that you will find this

information useful.

Links to other documents


Southeast Florida - Facts at a Glance


Legislative History


CS/CS/686 Enrolled (F.S. Chapter 2003-159)


Regional Transportation Authority White Paper - March 13, 2003


South Florida Regional Planning Council Resolution 02-06


Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council Resolution 02-04


Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel RTA Editorials


Getting Nowhere Fast - South Florida's Transportation Crisis
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel Series


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This page and all contents prepared by the South Florida Regional Planning Council.
Last edited on August 29, 2011