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To Pay For New Problems, Keys Look To Old Solution: A Toll On U.S. 1

An image of a toll booth in Islamorada, circa 1940.
Monroe County Public Library
The Lower Matecumbe toll booth on the Overseas Highway, circa 1940.

The Keys are facing some big bills to deal with rising seas. So the Monroe County Commission is looking — again — at an old idea to address these new challenges: putting a toll on the Overseas Highway.

The Keys are facing some big bills to deal with rising seas. So the Monroe County Commission is looking — again — at an old idea to address these new challenges: putting a toll on the Overseas Highway.

It's an idea that repeatedly comes up, in a place that gets almost 70 visitors for every resident each year.

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Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers, who has placed an item for discussion on the agenda for the Aug. 19 County Commission meeting, says she hopes it could raise "millions and millions of dollars."

That could help Monroe County pay for raising roads, buying out homes and hardening the infrastructure on public buildings - all big-ticket measures the county is looking at as sea levels rise.

Back in 2017, the County Commission approved a resolution
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article158123474.html
on a toll. Carruthers says she's bringing the issue back up because she doesn't know if the state has done anything about that request, which came a few months before Hurricane Irma hit the Keys.

There was a toll on the road in the Keys from the 1930s until 1954. And there is still a toll on Card Sound Road, which connects the mainland and North Key Largo.