Q: Jacksonville Today reader Patrick F. asks whether it matters that Greg Evans, secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation District 2, has not attended Jacksonville Transportation Authority meetings in years.
Evans has not attended a JTA board of directors meeting since August 2018, including Wednesday afternoon when the board met at the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center.
Evans has served as the FDOT District 2 secretary since 2012. His position automatically places him on the Jacksonville Transportation Authority board of directors.
FDOT did not respond to repeated questions from Jacksonville Today about Evans’ attendance at JTA meetings.
JTA officials also would not comment directly on whether it’s beneficial for an FDOT representative to attend meetings. But JTA stressed that the agency has staff members who ensure interaction with FDOT and whose sole duty is to communicate with the FDOT regional office and the state headquarters in Tallahassee.
The FDOT representative’s absence from local transportation board meetings is not uniform across the state. In Orlando, the only large metropolitan area in the state with a similar board structure to JTA’s, John Tyler, the FDOT District 5 secretary, regularly attends meetings of the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority.
“They serve as a support to us, just like all the other board members,” says regional authority spokesman Matt Friedman. “Is it important for them to be there? Absolutely. Everyone who has been on the board from DOT have been (excellent) board members.”
Both the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which is commonly known as LYNX, at JTA are quasi-governmental authorities created by the state Legislature. LYNX has a five-person board. JTA has a seven-person board. In both instances, the district secretary of transportation is a voting member.
The large public transportation authorities in the Tampa Bay area are constructed differently from JTA.
The board of directors for both Hillsborough Area Regional Transit and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority include elected officials from the county as well as the communities. There are no officials from FDOT’s District 7 office on either board. In South Florida, the large public transportation organizations are incorporated into the county government.
Instead of reporting to a board of directors, Broward County Transit CEO Coree Cuff Lonergan reports to the county administrator and ultimately the Broward County Commission. Further south, Eulois Cleckley, CEO of Miami-Dade Transit, reports to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.