Survey: One-way toll system favored; One-year trial began in November
More than 3,500 commuters who use the Midpoint and Cape Coral bridges have spoken, and the vast majority of those who took part in a LeeWay survey said that they prefer the current one-way tolling system over the former two-way tolls.
“Seventy-four percent favored retaining one-way tolling, 8 percent had no opinion, and 18 percent preferred reverting back to two-way tolling,” said Paul Wingard, deputy director of the Lee County Department of Transportation.
Seventy-seven percent of those who took the survey said that they drive across the Cape Coral or Midpoint bridges on a daily basis, with 62 percent making the trip to commute to and from work every day. More than half of the respondents said they travel the bridges between three and 10 times a week.
The Lee County Commission approved one-way tolling for a year-long trial on the Cape Coral and Midpoint bridges last fall, with the system going into effect on Nov. 1, 2007.
Instead of paying $1 each way, the county upped the fee to $2 for drivers heading into the Cape and opened up every lane heading east to free flowing traffic. While drivers heading toward Fort Myers no longer have to pay a toll, the booths remain in place in case the county decides to switch back to its previous system.
Eighty-two percent of survey participants said that it is somewhat or very important to remove the toll lanes in the eastbound direction to create a better traffic pattern.
Before the one-way tolling trial was put in place, some residents complained that the variable priced toll change from 25 cents to 75 cents during reduced fare times would result in their tolls being hiked more than other users.
Supporters of one-way tolling cited operating expense reductions and improved traffic flow as reasons to back the new system. With tolls in only one direction, LeeWay was able to cut down on the number of employees working the booths.
For participating in the survey, Cape Coral resident Herb Schneider will be picking up a $250 check from the county after winning a drawing.
The full results of the survey can be found at: www.leewaysurvey.com.