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Lee County Commissioners approve toll agreement extension

Posted at 7:10 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 21:45:07-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Keep your cash ready for those tolls.

The Board of County Commissioners in Lee County unanimously approved to extend their surplus toll agreement with Cape Coral until 2030.

Both parties originally signed the agreement in 1995, which made projects like the Midpoint Bridge possible. Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman shared the tolls allow Cape Coral residents to do their part to help out.

“We’re such a fast growing area, and the ways we can pay for roads are through tolls. The people who actually use that bridge are the ones who are going to be paying for it,” he said.

The county still owes $105 million on loans for the Midpoint Bridge and Sanibel Causeway. That's where the revenue from the tolls will go first, then towards maintenance.

They’ve allocated any leftover funds to widening Veterans Parkway, replacing the westbound span of the Cape Coral Bridge, and technology upgrades for the Cape Coral toll plaza.

“We believe that in the future, we’ll see something that works more like the toll by plate that we’re already seeing during the pandemic,” said Hamman.

That’s when a camera takes a photo of your license plate and sends you a bill in the mail.

Cape Coral City Council approved the surplus toll extension on August 10th. Mayor Joe Coviello disagreed with some of the potential projects, but Councilman John Gunter said extending the agreement is the right move for the city.

“It keeps us at the table where we have a voice, and can have an open dialogue with the county and that’s important,” said Gunter.

A spokesperson for Lee County says they expect to pay off the loan for the Midpoint Bridge by 2027, and Sanibel Causeway will be paid in full by 2035.

Cape Coral will get 40 percent of leftover funds from the toll surplus agreement, but as of now that’s already allocated to named projects.