Selmon Expressway tolls to increase in 2021

In addition to a regular annual increase, toll-by-plate fees will also go up.

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is raising its toll rates for fiscal year 2021, the agency announced Wednesday.

Rates will go up the standard 2.5% prescribed in its policies plus another $0.11 increase on its toll-by-plate surcharge to “cover the additional cost of collection.”

The new rates will be $1.88 on the east mainline reversible express lanes for SunPass holders and $2.24 for toll-by-plate users; $1.25 or $1.61 at the west mainline; $0.93 or $1.29 at 50th Street and Willow Street and $0.63 or $0.99 at 22nd Street and Plant Avenue.

The rate adjustment comes after Stantec Consulting Services conducted a Toll Index Cost Coverage Test evaluating toll fees and whether they will cover costs for debt service, operating expenses and reserves for five years.

The analysis was conducted in early 2020, before coronavirus restrictions began going into place and reduced traffic congestion.

“It is estimated that the impact of COVID-19 was beginning to be felt on the Selmon Expressway on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The impact has escalated and appears to be significant,” the agency wrote.

“Due to the uncertainty of the eventual magnitude of the decrease

in traffic or duration of such, there is currently insufficient data upon which to base either a revised forecast or a certification of future revenue streams in the short term, which includes FY2021.”

Stantec will complete a series of other monitoring activities before the new rates go into effect including evaluating federal, state and local travel restrictions affecting vehicular traffic and economic indicators like employment and unemployment levels, which also affect traffic patterns.

The company will also conduct weekly check-ins with THEA regarding travel trends and potential next steps and will update the toll increase if needed.

The proposed rate increases come after THEA was wrapped up in controversy alongside the Florida Department of Transportation over billing issues with SunPass and toll-by-plate after a 2018 temporary shutdown to merge billing systems.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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