MILTON, FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis announced that he has directed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to reduce the toll rates on the Garcon Point Bridge from $4.50 to $2.30 for SunPass customers and from $5.00 to $2.75 for cash customers. The reduced toll rates are consistent with other FDOT toll facilities across the state, and the new rate erases 20 years of toll increases to the bridge. More than 6,000 drivers use the Garcon Point Bridge every day and will benefit from this reduction in tolls.
“Five dollars is just too much to pay for the more than 6,000 drivers that use the Garcon Point Bridge every day,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am pleased to announce that today I am directing FDOT Secretary Thibault to reduce the toll rates on the bridge as soon as possible to bring them in line with other facilities across the state and erase 20 years of rate increases.”
“The department’s first priority is helping ensure motorists experience toll relief as quickly as possible,” said FDOT Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “The necessary changes to our systems will take place over the next few weeks, and I highly encourage everyone to purchase a SunPass transponder, so they can experience the lowest tolls possible.”
“I am grateful for the Governor’s commitment to lowering tolls and putting money back into the pockets of my constituents,” said Representative Jayer Williamson. “Today is a great day for Santa Rosa County and I’m committed to working with him as we bring a solution to a major problem that has plagued Northwest Florida for over two decades.”
“Governor DeSantis was able to see after Hurricane Sally how vital this corridor is to Santa Rosa County,” said Senator Doug Broxson. “The Governor’s actions today demonstrate his commitment to the success of Northwest Florida and may allow the people to now control the future of this bridge, along with the future of economic growth in Santa Rosa County.”
“We’re grateful to the Governor for spearheading the toll relief and the process of purchasing the bridge,” said Representative Michelle Salzman. “Having this bridge is instrumental to our residents for safety, transportation, tourism and the areas economic growth.”
“Governor DeSantis’s announcement today directly helps working families in the Panhandle,” said Representative Alex Andrade. “This will mean more time at home around the dinner table, more money in people’s pockets and a better quality of life for our region.”
Following impacts from Hurricane Sally in September 2020, the Pensacola Bay Bridge closed while being repaired. While the Pensacola Bay Bridge was closed, thousands of residents in the area used the Garcon Point Bridge, but were paying a $5.00 toll to cross the bridge. Shortly following the impacts of Hurricane Sally, Governor DeSantis waived the tolls on the Garcon Point Bridge, and continued the toll suspension through July 6, 2021.
Now that the Pensacola Bay Bridge has reopened, Governor DeSantis has directed FDOT to lower the toll rates at the Garcon Point Bridge. To ensure that the toll rates remain low, today, Governor DeSantis also directed FDOT to reach a settlement with the Trustee and the bondholders to purchase the bridge and transfer control to the Florida Turnpike Enterprise. Today, Governor DeSantis also announced that he will be asking the Florida Legislature to take action to codify the lower toll rates into law.