WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Beginning in the new year, frequent commuters will get take a break Speaking of Florida tolls.
Senate Bill 6-Aintroduced by Sen. Nick DiCeglie, R-Indian Rocks Beach, R-Indian, will provide account credits to drivers who frequently use statewide toll roads.
this is one of them several new laws It is scheduled to go into effect on January 1.
according to to the bill, the program will offer a 50% credit to Floridians who make 35 or more toll transactions per month. The bill, originally introduced by Gov. Ron DeSantis in September, passed the most recent legislative special session.
Lawmakers have agreed to repay $500 million to toll agencies to cover lost revenue.
That’s good news for Joseph Gaskin, who owns a construction firm. Between gas prices and the tolls he often pays, Gaskin said his company has been hit hard by transportation costs.
“It was a real blow to the calf,” Gaskin said. “It cost me a fortune. The price of fuel, gas, we need something back, don’t we? It’s unbelievable how much it’s costing us, so if we can get 50 per cent back, then It’s going to be a real savings for us. We really need it.”
Erin Sorrel agreed. She recently received an email from the Florida Department of Transportation telling her that, as a frequent commuter, she is eligible for toll concessions.
“I was like, ‘This looks like spam, I’m going to delete it,'” Maroon said while showing WPTV an email she had received from FDOT. “I kept reading it and I was like, ‘Oh wait!’ The moment I realized it wasn’t spam, I dug into it and realized it was really good for me, I mean, every day I Both work on the turnpike, so for me, at least five times a week [I’m paying a toll]”
Another driver, college student Isabel Nodal, told NewsChannel 5 at a rest stop in Palm Beach County that she was excited about the toll relief program.
“I went to the University of Florida, but my whole family lives in Miami,” Nordahl said. “So, I was driving a lot from Gainesville to Miami and back.”
Tolls alone cost Nodal $22 one way. She pays this fee several times a month, in addition to refilling her gas tank.
“A lot,” Nordahl said.
More than 1.2 million Floridians will be eligible, saving an average of $400 by 2023, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
“It helped me a lot,” Nordahl said.
Some bill commuters say they’re not happy: The relief package expires on Dec. 31, 2023. This means that after one year drivers will be back paying all tolls in full without any reimbursement.
“Really?” Gaskin asked. “No one told me! What? One year and it’s over? No!”
“I don’t know,” Malone added. “I didn’t dig into it. It sucks. But at least it’s something.”
“This bill is a common-sense solution that provides relief to Floridians when they need it most,” DiCeglie said in a statement about the bill. FDOT Press Release“I am grateful to the Governor for supporting this legislation to make tolls affordable for commuters across the state.”
Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, PE, also praised the bill.
“FDOT is pleased to offer a toll relief program to help Floridians meet the challenges of rising living costs,” Perdue said. “Customers are at the center of everything we do at FDOT and this project will truly have a direct impact on our customers’ everyday lives.”
Nordahl said she appreciates any help she can get, even if it’s just for a year.
“I was pretty much all over Florida, top to bottom,” Nordahl said. “Honestly, any little thing helps, and if it makes me see my family more often, it’s worth it.”
The 2023 toll relief program comes on the heels of DeSantis’ launch of the SunPass savings program in August, which is expected to save nearly $40 million for people using the Florida Turnpike System and FDOT-owned toll facilities.
The program started on September 1, but will expire on December 31, 2022.