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Florida lawmakers this yr might reorganize a community of metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) — and redesign the state license plate besides.

The Home Transportation and Modals Subcommittee took up a committee invoice (PCB 24-01) that might consolidate MPOs. Rep. Fiona McFarland, a Sarasota Republican, characterised her laws as a place to begin, not a ultimate product. However she mentioned it’s vital lawmakers scrutinize how MPOs work at a systemic degree and see if they’re satisfying the wants of constituents.

“There’s no incentive for MPOs to consolidate at this time,” she mentioned. “Your municipalities will lose board seats, you lose, maybe, having the bodily workplace constructing in your individual district, and it turns into very territorial on the native degree. And even for the best public servant with the most effective intentions, there’s not a structural incentive for these MPOs to consolidate or, frankly, actually, to plan regionally.”

The invoice explicitly requires consolidation of MPOs now individually serving Lee and Collier counties, neighboring jurisdictions. Rep. Lauren Melo, a Naples Republican, famous an ongoing feasibility examine within the space and requested if that shall be included earlier than such a mix of entities takes place.

In the meantime, Rep. Yvonne Hinson, a Gainesville Democrat, voiced issues the invoice as written will strip native officers of a capability to dam, as one instance, plans for state roads by means of historic communities.

“I don’t know why we’re interfering with this,” mentioned Hinson, the rating Democrat on the Subcommittee. “It looks as if one other native preemption. We’ve executed a number of that. We’re taking selections away from the individuals who know their neighborhood finest.”

The potential of eliminating the Metropolitan Planning Group Advisory Council attracted some skepticism amongst lawmakers, although many acknowledged streamlining is so as.

A number of Central Florida Representatives cheered a push to regional efforts, noting {that a} single organization there covers in all places from Ocala to the Area Coast, and in addition covers downtown Orlando.

“Our MPO truly is regional which is superior and I’d argue possibly an instance for others to observe,” mentioned Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat. However she additionally mentioned she needed to rigorously evaluation proposals with representatives from the Central Florida Metropolitan Planning Group earlier than providing full assist.

Rep. Doug Bankson, an Apopka Republican, mentioned the laws does simply that, and incentivizes MPOs to work with each other fairly than remaining provincial. He beforehand had a seat on the Central Florida MPO and suspected the laws to be embraced in Central Florida.

“I feel that is great, the coordination that you just’re bringing,” he mentioned.

In the end, the invoice superior out of the subcommittee on a unanimous vote. However McFarland promised the invoice will evolve because it advances by means of Session.

The invoice additionally requires the primary redesign of Florida’s primary license plate to happen in 20 years. McFarland famous the state has held competitions earlier than on what a brand new plate might appear like, and mentioned it’s time to replace the plate in each look and performance. She mentioned the ultimate product shall be selected by transportation officers, not lawmakers.

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