Tolls would be cut in half for frequent drivers next year under a proposal revealed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday.
“If you are a bona fide commuter you’re getting a 50% discount in your tolls for the entire year, and that’s going to make a big difference,” DeSantis said at the Florida Department of Transportation’s Miami headquarters.
The proposal, which must be approved by the Legislature, likely at the next Regular Session which starts March 7, would benefit more than 750,000 Florida drivers with an average savings of $550 over the year, DeSantis said.
Juan Sosa, a police officer in Miami-Dade County, said he oversees the tolls paid by his elderly parents, including his father, who commutes to butcher shops in Hialeah, Miami Beach and Delray Beach, racking up $320 in tolls per month.
“It all adds up fast and it’s getting extremely unaffordable,” Sosa said.
The proposal comes on the heels of DeSantis’ move last month to discount tolls for commuters on Florida Turnpike roads. Starting Sept. 1, drivers with toll transponders hitting 40 or more tolls in a month will have 20% of their tolls rebated at the end of the month, and those hitting 80 tolls in a month will get a 25% refund. DeSantis said last month the program will save about 400,000 drivers $40 million. That program is slated to last six months.
Because the state doesn’t control tolls on the Central Florida Expressway Authority or the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, DeSantis’ program doesn’t apply to those tolls. So now, he’s pushing for legislative approval for a larger cut to the tolls.
The discount will help residents cope with inflation, which is at 40-year highs and has shot prices up on gas and groceries since the start of the year.
DeSantis said the state would use its $20 billion surplus to cover the gap in revenue from the cut in tolls, and bonds and debts the state and its expressway authorities have will still be paid.
“There’s not going to be any non-payment on any of those obligations,” DeSantis said.