Kionne McGhee to Ron DeSantis: Suspend tolls during Dorian

Florida Tolls
Expect action once evacuation orders are issued.

The ultimate track of Hurricane Dorian is still a mystery, with landfall possible up and down the peninsula, or even a recurve to the ocean.

Amidst that uncertainty, House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee of Miami-Dade County is urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to suspend tolls “for the duration of the storm’s impact.”

“Suspending tolls would aid residents and visitors in obtaining supplies or quickly and efficiently evacuating, if required,” asserts the media release from the Cutler Bay legislator.

DeSantis has yet to address the suspension of tolls, but recent history from the Gov. Rick Scott era suggests that the move is inevitable.

In 2016, during Hurricane Matthew, Scott suspended tolls in counties with active evacuation orders after issuing a ‘State of Emergency’ (a move DeSantis made on Wednesday).

In 2017, Hurricane Irma also caused suspension of tolls. Costs were calculated at $3 million a day, but with 6.3 million Floridians under evacuation orders, that impact had to be absorbed.

There are, as of yet, no evacuation orders. There may not be final clarity on the storm’s ultimate landfall (or not) until Saturday or later.

In Jacksonville Wednesday, Gov. DeSantis expressed confidence in his storm plan.

DeSantis noted his emergency team has been monitoring the storm all week, with meetings with SERT and local officials.

“We’re going to be very active,” the Governor added, including an activated Emergency Operations Center should it be needed.

DeSantis noted that Jared Moskowitz, the appointed director of the Division of Emergency Management, has “contracts ready to go” should there be need.

“We’re going to be in a position to maybe pre-position assets,” DeSantis added, “if need be, that have not been done before.”

That pre-positioning combined with “more quickly administer[ing] whatever type of relief” should make a difference, DeSantis said.

He noted that hurricanes have struck Florida for three straight years, ensuring the people in the EOC are “battle-tested.”

“They’ve been through this before,” the Governor said.

DeSantis has two EOC briefings this afternoon. He will visit Brevard and Duval counties, though with evacuation orders yet to be ordered, it remains to be seen how he will handle the toll question.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


4 comments

  • JEFF STEVENS

    August 29, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Like duh, don’t you think that’s part of the emergency plan?? Sounds like someone just wants their name in the news.

  • Fifteen Seconds O Fame

    August 29, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    I agree Jeff. Kionne McGhee needs a reason to be relevant and will take credit once the governor does it.

  • get it right

    August 30, 2019 at 7:33 am

    The Governor’s Executive Order gives the Secretary of the Florida Dept of Transportation the authority to suspend tolls at his discretion. “E. The Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) may:1) Waive the collection of tolls and other fees and charges for the use of the Turnpike and other public highways, to the extent such waiver may be needed to provide
    emergency assistance or facilitate the evacuation of the affected counties; …

  • jack

    August 30, 2019 at 9:36 am

    they need to suspend tolls Now.. and not wait till the last minute.

Comments are closed.


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