Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hosted a press conference Wednesday morning at Garcon Point Bridge in Milton.
After Hurricane Sally damaged Pensacola Bay Bridge Bridge, Garcon Point Bridge’s tolls were temporarily suspended in September. It reopened in May.
The tolls on Garcon Point Bridge returned on June 20 when all lanes reopened on Pensacola Bay Bridge.
“Today I’m pleased to announce I’m directing FDOT Secretary Thibault to immediately reduce the toll rates on the Garcon Point Bridge,” said Governor DeSantis.
- The tolls will drop from $4.50 to $2.30 for SunPass customers.
- And from $5.00 to $2.75 for cash customers.
“These reduced toll rates are consistent with other FDOT Toll Facilities around the state and the new rate erases 20 years of toll-rate increases to this bridge,” continued DeSantis.
To make sure these tolls can remain at this lower rate, DeSantis will be asking FDOT to reach a settlement with the Trustee and the Bond Holders to purchase the bridge and transfer control to Florida’s Turnpike Enterprises.
“I’ll be asking the Florida legislature to codify these actions into law,” he continued. “So we believe it’s good to provide this relief to the folks here in Northwest Florida. We understand the difficulty that many had commuting. We were happy that the Pensacola Bay Bridge is back but we also know that $5 is a lot.”
“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be doing the necessary reprogramming of our IT systems to properly incorporate the new toll schedule as well as obviously new signs,” said FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault. “We’ll we’ll also be training our toll collectors and customer service representatives on the new rates.”
According to Thibault, the goal is to have this rate structure in the next couple of weeks.
“As this is happening, the FDOT will be begin negotiations with the current bond holders,” continued Thibault. “We’ll honor the requirements in Florida statutes to make sure we notify the proper groups and we’ll coordinate both agreements with both parties and draft legislation to put this into law.”
Thibault says that the first priority is launching toll incentives so motorists experience relief immediately.