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Discussions had regarding increases in tolls for cash payers

By Staff | May 10, 2017

A conversation that took place in the City Council chambers, will now go to the Lee County Commissioners in regards to options they have in terms of increasing tolls for cash payers.

Mayor Kevin Ruane made a motion, which was approved unanimously, to have a conversation with the Lee County commissioners to discuss tolls, options for raising it during peak times and entire time of the day, for cash payers.

Ruane said the conversation came up during the last Traffic Communications Work Group meetings, which was held to continue to look at what the city has available and what they can do today, and potentially tomorrow for traffic. He said the discussion stemmed around technology, data collection, behavior modification and hardscapes. One of the conversations resulted in changing the cash toll price, with one of the figures up to $10.

“I don’t mind having a conversation. Obviously with the discussion regarding this some people are going to be really upset about the increase, but it seems to be consistent with a lot of cities throughout the United States that they charge a premium at peak times,” Ruane said of cash tolls.

Councilman Mick Denham said it seems to him that the cash tolls would impact the day trippers. He said he thinks it would be a good discussion to have.

Ruane said the conversation has to be with the commissioners because they receive a percentage of the toll money. A local agreement would then have to be changed if all parties were in favor.

“There are many steps to go through in the process,” he said.

Mike Miller, a member of the Committee of the Islands, said they certainly support the idea of variable pricing for cash toll payers, but they think the tolls should be increased not by the time of the day, but the seasons of the year. He said having an entire cash toll rate for February and March, April or January could significantly improve traffic congestion at those periods of time.