TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) - Take the Turnpike or travel to the west coast on Alligator Alley? Time to dig deeper at the toll plaza, because rates are going up on all state toll roads and bridges in a matter of days.
Turnpike officials say rates will go up, on the average, about a quarter at each tollbooth or Sunpass gantry. While drivers who pay cash have seen increases before, this will be the first time users of the electronic Sunpass system will pay an increase since 1999.
The state said the extra money collected will be used to ease congestion and pay for improvements on the toll roads, "It's going to be used for a variety of safety and capacity improvements on the turnpike system, interchange improvements, that sort of thing," said Florida's Turnpike Spokesman Chad Huff. "Basically to keep pace with the transportation needs of Florida."
But the real reason the rates are headed upward is because state law requires it. At least once every 5 years, toll officials are required to look at the consumer price index and adjust toll rates based on any increase. The state said it waited the full 5 years to ease the economic burden on motorists, but now, it must raise rates by July 1.
The new rates will take effect at toll booths and Sunpass stations Sunday, June 24th. For drivers who take the turnpike, many figure it's worth it. "If they need to do that to maintain the roads, that's fine," said driver Donald Marentano. "It moves! It moves a lot faster than 95 does!"
The effect on travelers depends on how often they use toll roads. Someone who passes through 2 tollbooths a day would see a $1.25 weekly increase in their commute, or about $60 a year.
The state's increase has no effect on tolls charged by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority on roads like the Shula Expressway, the Snapper Creek expressway, or the Grantigny Expressway. To see a list of the roads affected and what estimated new tolls will be, click here.
Those tolls are set differently under local rules.
Here are some sample tolls, courtesy of Florida's Turnpike Enterprise.
Sunrise Boulevard to Osceola Parkway (Disney exit) – Current $11.65 SunPass, $14.70 cash New $12.60 SunPass $16.65 cash
Delray Beach to Osceola Parkway (Disney exit) - Current $10.90 SunPass, $13.70 cash New $11.60 SunPass $15.40 cash
Sunrise Boulevard to Florida City - Current $3.25 SunPass, $4.50 cash New $4.50 SunPass $5.75 cash
Delray Beach to Florida City - Current $4.25 SunPass, $5.50 cash New $5.50 SunPass $7.00 cash
Sunrise Boulevard to Wildwood - Current $13.65 SunPass, $17.20 cash New $15.35 SunPass $19.65 cash
Delray Beach to Wildwood - Current $12.90 SunPass, $16.20 cash New $14.35 SunPass $18.40 cash
Alligator Alley - Current $2 SunPass, $2.50 cash; New $2.75 SunPass, $3 cash
Kendall Drive to Osceola Parkway (Disney exit) – Current $13.90 SunPass $17.70 cash NEW $15.60 SunPass $20.40 cash
Kendall Drive to I-75 in Wildwood (north terminus) – Current $15.90 SunPass $20.20 Cash NEW $18.35 SunPass $23.40 cash
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