State To Purchase Garcon Point Bridge; DeSantis Cuts Tolls Nearly In Half

July 29, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis has directed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to reduce the toll rates on the Garcon Point Bridge.

The rates will be reduced from $4.50 to $2.30 for SunPass customers and from $5.00 to $2.75 for cash customers. The reduced toll rates are consistent with other FDOT toll facilities across the state, and the new rate erases 20 years of toll increases to the bridge. More than 6,000 drivers use the Garcon Point Bridge every day and will benefit from this reduction in tolls.

“Five dollars is just too much to pay for the more than 6,000 drivers that use the Garcon Point Bridge every day,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am pleased to announce that today I am directing FDOT Secretary Thibault to reduce the toll rates on the bridge as soon as possible to bring them in line with other facilities across the state and erase 20 years of rate increases.”

DeSantis also directed FDOT to reach a settlement with the trustee and the bondholders to purchase the bridge and transfer control to the Florida Turnpike Enterprise.

Following impacts from Hurricane Sally in September 2020, the Pensacola Bay Bridge closed while being repaired. While the Pensacola Bay Bridge was closed, thousands of residents in the area used the Garcon Point Bridge, but were paying a $5.00 toll to cross the bridge. Shortly following the impacts of Hurricane Sally, Governor DeSantis waived the tolls on the Garcon Point Bridge, and continued the toll suspension through July 6, 2021.

Comments

25 Responses to “State To Purchase Garcon Point Bridge; DeSantis Cuts Tolls Nearly In Half”

  1. Geeb on August 6th, 2021 7:06 am

    the bridge was a boondoggle when first built, however, times have changed and the bridge is much more needed today then 20 years ago…..the cost to buy out bondholders is 130mm….try and build the bridge today and it would cost double that easy…also the bondholders are owed approx 50mm from tolls for 9 months of use…FDOT is suing SKANSA for the 50mm…now FDOT gets the 50mm in cash or credit for future projects..bridge costs 80mm…..Gov D is no dummy

  2. Kay Smith on August 2nd, 2021 8:34 am

    Does this mean that LIGHTS will be added???
    It is very dark at night!!!

  3. Suzanne Cumbie on July 31st, 2021 8:21 pm

    What about the Mid-bay bridge? Okaloosa county residents are also being held hostage by the high tolls.

  4. Scott on July 31st, 2021 3:53 pm

    Regardless of who and how it was financed, we the general public should not be held hostage and extorted for an indefinite period of time to fill the coffers of private entities, Furthermore, it is also a public safety issue in the event of a Hurricane evacuation route….I would like to know how much money was paid to use it while Pensacola bridge was down, who paid it. I hope the good Governor is also eyeing the Mid-Bay bridge in Okaloosa county. That is even a bigger scam…the toll each way is exorbitant. For tourists, that’s not a problem, they cross it once when they come and once when they leave, but for locals it is extortion…locals should have an option of paying a nominal yearly fee and have unlimited crossings…Sunpass does have a discount feature but not nearly enough for locals who must use the bridge daily.

  5. Randall on July 31st, 2021 12:44 am

    I LOVE MY GOVERNOR!!!!!!

  6. Dan Sweeney on July 30th, 2021 8:03 am

    We need more politicians line Gov. Ron!
    He probably has more common sense in his little finger than all the liberal congress combined!

  7. SueB on July 30th, 2021 7:32 am

    Write our Governor and request that he Directs an investigation of the ECUA Board and all County Commissioners.

  8. Sam Rice on July 30th, 2021 12:35 am

    It’s great that the toll will be reduced
    We should have to pay in one direction not both ways.

  9. Jonathan G on July 29th, 2021 7:43 pm

    It never comes up anymore one of the reasons that toll was as high as it was is during construction they were dumping all of the waste directly into the water. I worked with someone who was on that bridge and he told me they would literally pile it all up on the barge and just push it into the bay. They got caught and fined

  10. James on July 29th, 2021 3:54 pm

    Hey Bill, rich people do get taxed.
    Thank you Ron DeSantis!!
    #LOVEMYGOV

  11. Dewitt on July 29th, 2021 1:18 pm

    Thank you gov., DeSantis, you will make a great president one day!

  12. RC on July 29th, 2021 1:11 pm

    All of the politics and corruption notwithstanding, the bridge is there now. That said. if the state owns it and charges 2.30 for Sunpass users and doesn’t rob you to pull a trailer across it I’ll use it for my convenience as I won’t have to deal with Gulf Breeze traffic congestion. I work in the Tiger Point to Navarre area a lot so it helps me out. I refuse to use the bridge while it’s 10 dollars each way with a trailer as it isn’t cost effective. Hopefully the citizens can benefit in the long run.

  13. Warren on July 29th, 2021 12:58 pm

    Good to see this. Course don’t be naive. This is completely a political move not so unlike the one that created this bridge in the first place. DeSantis does have an eye keenly on his next political step up. Too bad his political ambition is such that to appeal to the base he needs, he is sacrificing the health and safety of the citizens of this state! Welcome to Florida the new epicenter of the coronavirus variant infection!

  14. Troy on July 29th, 2021 12:57 pm

    I’d like to see the deal the bondholders will be getting. Big D wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t favor him somehow. Now the rest of Floridians can help pay off the bridge, not just the ones using it and wonder what other “deals” are being passed onto the taxpayers. Typical politics.

  15. ROBERT on July 29th, 2021 11:35 am

    We in Florida are very blessed that we have a leader with common sense and a heart that understands what the people need. His empathy for the people who elected him and support him will be rewarded in 2022. Thank You Governor for putting people before profit.

  16. Jim in Pensacola on July 29th, 2021 9:54 am

    Check out the history of why that toll bridge was constructed. It was pure politics and graft. Bo Johnson pushed the bill and bond issue through the legislature during his last term as Speaker of the House in Tallahassee. The study conducted before hand showed it was not economically viable. So a new study was commissioned to show it would pay for itself. Guess who owned the property on the Gulf Breeze side where the bridge made landfall? If you guessed Bo Johnson then give yourself a cigar, you won. And the first study that was rejected because it said the bridge wouldn’t pay for itself was correct. Bo appeared at the opening ceremony for the bridge while he and his wife were awaiting sentencing in Federal court for tax evasion.

  17. Well on July 29th, 2021 9:18 am

    Should be a great thing for those using it while encouraging others to use it.

  18. retired on July 29th, 2021 7:35 am

    Why should we buy it????????????????????
    Wait for the investers to pull out and they will give it to the state.

  19. Bill on July 29th, 2021 7:34 am

    Another option would be to actually tax rich people and make it free.

  20. Susan on July 29th, 2021 7:25 am

    Coming from the Greater NYC area its nice to have a governor who weighs the interests of the citizens against those of the state and makes fair rulings. Thank You Governor DeSantis for truly being a leader

  21. Oversight on July 29th, 2021 7:22 am

    Roads and bridges are prime examples of market failures. Students learn about this in a high school economics class, but obviously the lesson didn’t take with those politicians and investors of the Garcon bridge who approved this boondoggle years ago. So here we are, seeing it play out live in real time. SHM.

  22. J.Larry Seale on July 29th, 2021 7:06 am

    Why can’t he do this for the bob sikes bridge ?????????

  23. Elijah Bell on July 29th, 2021 6:39 am

    If the state buys the bridge will the state keep some amount of toll?

  24. JTV on July 29th, 2021 5:44 am

    Best Governor in my 57-years.

  25. COMMON SENSE on July 29th, 2021 4:18 am

    Too bad most the other governors dont govern with common sense like this guy. Especially idiots like Cuomo and Whitmer and Newsome and there is more. Those people are evil nutjobs. This man governs with a mind set of what is best for the people and economy of the state of florida.





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