1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

No stopping Florida motorists on Winner/Loser of the week in Florida politics: July 14 edition

But President Donald Trump’s labor secretary has a bad week because of a deal he made long ago when he was the U.S. Attorney in South Florida.

Winner of the Week

A view of the I-275 northbound Sunpass lane at the Skyway Bridge photographed in 2015 from a reporter's car. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]

Florida drivers. Last week will go down as the moment when state officials cast their weary eyes upon SunPass and said, “Enough.” On Wednesday, two days after the Tampa Bay Times reported yet more problems with the state’s tolling system, this time at airports, Florida’s top transportation official announced that the contract with SunPass vendor Conduent won’t be renewed. True, Conduent will manage SunPass through 2022, but the decision not to renew effectively cuts short a contract that was intended to run to 2029. This comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis agreed to fine Conduent $4.6 million in March. Suspending the contract is a far bigger blow that could cost the New Jersey company hundreds of millions of dollars. Hooray for frustrated motorists, everywhere!

Loser of the Week

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta speaks at a conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, on the White House complex in Washington last year. Acosta is the former chief federal prosecutor in Miami who signed off on the plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of paying dozens of underage girls for sexual massages. [Al Drago | The New York Times]

Alex Acosta. President Trump’s labor secretary resigned Friday after withering attacks over the cushy plea deal he gave accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein back when Acosta was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Acosta handled Epstein’s case in the late 2000s and his actions came under fresh scrutiny this month after Epstein was arrested in New Jersey over allegations he “preyed on dozens of teenage girls from 2002 to 2005 in New York and Palm Beach.” Acosta was unapologetic and unrepentant. It’s an abrupt end for the son of Cuban immigrants, Harvard Law alumnus, former dean of Florida International University and a high ranking official in two administrations. Epstein eclipsed what had been a distinguished career.