Lee county collects about one-million dollars a year in surplus money from tolls on the Midpoint and Parkway bridges. But that money is not going back to the drivers who pay the tolls.
"We have an agreement with the city of Cape Coral to use any surplus dollars to improve the Veterans-Burnt Store Corridor," said Dave Loveland, planning director for Lee Dept. of Transportation. "Given the small amount of the money left over, it really does not make sense to lower tolls or something like that."
Some drivers disagree. "I say, give it back to the drivers! They ought not to just keep it. They spend so much on planning things we don't really need. How about returning our money," said Leew Lewellyn of Cape Coral. He said he often pays tolls on the bridges.
Loveland explained, the county runs a surplus to keep the bonding companies happy. "Those companies get antsy if you don't have a good surplus. They give us the best interest and insurance rates, if we run a decent surplus. That way, those bonding companies know, they are going to get paid back. I suppose you can't blame them, when they have loaned so much money," Loveland told WINK News.
Just recently, Lee Commissioners approved spending 1.6 million surplus dollars to hire a company. That firm will design a possible fly-over at Veterans and Santa Barbara.
The toll money goes first to paying off the construction bonds, then to operations and maintenance of the bridges. Then, anything left over goes into the surplus pot.