tolls

Daniel A. Varela / Miami Herald

Traffic is a perennial problem across South Florida. It costs time, and money—if you use toll roads or express lanes. 

This week, the state announced some changes to the Palmetto Expressway, State Road 826, in Miami-Dade County. The Florida Department of Transportation will reduce the number of express lanes on the 826. Tolls will also be suspended as the project gets under way.

 

Daniel A. Varela / Miami Herald

Florida State Sen. Manny Díaz has been driving on the Palmetto Expressway since he got his license more than 30 years ago.

Traffic has never been worse, he said. Residents agree.

Now, the Florida Department of Transportation is suspending tolls on State Road 826 and rolling back the express lane program that critics say has created more traffic issues than it solved.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

Florida is planning a major expansion of its highways with a series of toll roads that would open new parts of the state to development.

Exactly where the roads will go hasn't been announced yet, but opposition to the highways is growing in rural areas such as Jefferson County in North Florida. Mike Willis' family has lived there since before Florida became a state. He likes to refer to it as "the other Florida."

"Most people think of Florida as palm trees, white sandy beaches," he says. "We have rolling clay hills and beautiful pine forests."

David Goldman / AP

As of July 1, Florida is expanding several new toll roads. A new law extends the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; expands the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border; and adds a new multi-use corridor, including a toll road, from Polk County to Collier County.

This week on an encore edition of The Florida Roundup, we revisit that and other top stories from 2019.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday morning he will sign a bill instructing the state to build two new toll roads and extend a third through rural parts of the state.

Alexia Fodere / Miami Herald

The state Legislature on Friday passed a bill that would dissolve Miami-Dade County’s toll roads agency, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX).

The proposal, sponsored by two Miami Republicans, Rep. Bryan Avila of Miami Springs and Sen. Manny Diaz of Hialeah Gardens, would replace MDX with a new board, which would take over MDX’s five expressways. Current MDX board members would  not be able to join the new board.

On Earth Day, Florida environmental groups took dead aim at a plan by lawmakers to build three new toll roads through the heart of the state.

A Florida state senator wants to know why the state's Department of Transportation paid a company $3.6 million to drop its challenge to the awarding of another company with a lucrative contract to overhaul Florida's toll road system. 

The troubles with Florida's SunPass toll system started with what was to be a six-day upgrade in June. It's resulted in a major malfunction that led to motorists across Florida seeing their bank accounts being overdrawn and charged overdraft fees.

Sen. Bill Nelson wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a company that operates the SunPass electronic toll system.

Alexia Fodere / Miami Herald

Florida Democratic lawmakers want the state to suspend all SunPass toll collections as the system responds to a backlog of more than 100 million unprocessed payments. 

State Rep. Kionne McGhee will join state Sen. Annette Taddeo and other local officials Wednesday in also calling on Gov. Rick Scott to create an independent auditing committee to investigate the backlog and other customer service complaints.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Florida is halting payments to a company upgrading the SunPass toll-collection system until all the changes in the $287 million project are deemed “fully operational.”

The Florida Department of Transportation announced Monday it is withholding payments to Maryland-based Conduent State & Local Solutions as work continues on the SunPass Centralized Customer Service System, which was expected to be completed June 11.

Attention Drivers: Many of those those freeways you're using may not be free for long. Several states are opening new toll roads this year and rates on many existing turnpikes and tollways are going up.

And the number of toll roads is likely to increase, as the Trump administration's infrastructure plan may force many more states to use them to fund long-standing transportation needs

How much would you pay to avoid traffic jams on your daily commute? $10? $20? How about $40?

That's how much a tollway in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., charged for a short time last week. Outraged commuters call it highway robbery.

But transportation officials say the high-priced toll is less about money and more about changing commuter behavior and reducing congestion, and commuters all across the country might soon see more tolls in the future.

Miami Herald

Florida residents will no longer get a free pass traversing most stretches of Florida’s Turnpike or certain local expressways across the state.

The Florida Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, tolls on a vast majority of Florida’s Turnpike system, all state roads and bridges, and all regional toll facilities will be re-instated.

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