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DOT staffers to discuss proposed toll changes

By Staff | Jul 15, 2009

Cape Coral residents will have the chance to voice their concerns over proposed changes in the LeeWay toll structure today at La Venezia.
Lee County Department of Transportation Deputy Director Paul Wingard will head up a roughly 30-minute presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session.
He said the presentation will not offer completed toll change options, only a rough amalgamation of ideas DOT staff have come up with.
“We’re going to be giving the same presentation we gave to the board of county commissioners,” Wingard said. “We’re still developing these options, we don’t yet have a final proposal.”
The county’s current toll system consists of 48 different toll program options.
Wingard has said the proposed changes are solely to help simplify the overly complex system, and are in no way revenue driven.
Wingard and DOT staff gave the same presentation Tuesday on Sanibel Island.
While the proposed changes have been met with almost universal opposition from business owners and residents on Sanibel and Captiva, they have caused few ripples in the Cape.
Mike Quaintance, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, said that of the 85 chamber members who were polled, 55 opposed any changes, 29 said the changes are OK and one person had no opinion.
After careful consideration, Quaintance said the toll changes will not likely affect residents or daily commuters.
Instead, the changes could have a greater impact on Cape businesses that use the bridge on multiple occasions throughout the day. He cited examples such as electricians or cleaning services that make home deliveries.
“There doesn’t seem to be a significant impact on the residents,” Quaintance said. “But I do think folks who are multiple daily users will feel the impact … but I think Sanibel is going to take the worst hit.”
Wingard said those who attend today’s meeting will have time to have all of their questions answered. People will get to ask questions individually and in groups.
“However much time they need to ask questions, they’ll get it,” he said.
A public hearing on the issue will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 11 in commissioner chambers at the Old Lee County Courthouse in Fort Myers.
Today’s meeting is at 6 p.m. at 4646 S.E. 11th Place.