Commissioners OK fully electronic tolls for Cape Coral, Midpoint and Sanibel Causeway bridges

All-electronic tolling will continue permanently on the Cape Coral, Midpoint and Sanibel Causeway bridges under a plan approved Tuesday by the Lee Board of County Commissioners.

The approved plan also means the Board will return to the same tollway fee structure that was in place before the pandemic, including re-instating a $3 administrative fee for motorists who do not have transponders. The fee was suspended last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board also voted to conduct a public hearing at a yet-to-be-determined date to eliminate the current motorcycle toll discount to be consistent with the State’s SunPass program. (The discount is for $1 or $4, depending on the bridge.)

Transponders used for all-electronic tolling are available, free of charge, at leewayinfo.com.

“If you go over during the off-peak hours, we have a discount program that will save you money,” said Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman. “That program was actually on the chopping block the last time we met about this, but commissioners decided to keep that in place.”

Those cheaper off-peak hours are:

  • 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.
  • 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

According to Hamman, the people who used to work at the tolls in person were considered in the course of this transition.

“I was really happy to hear that we actually found jobs for all the people who were working in our toll booths, there was only one part-time position that we ended up losing,” Hamman said. “And that was, I think, a choice that was maybe even made mutually there. But we tried to find a place for everybody to get a job within the county that was looking for one. So that’s good.”

Hamman also agrees that if you look around the country, this is a transition that everyone is making, everything is electronic. He says there’s no better time to make this change than now.

In March 2020, cash transactions were eliminated due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the county handled tolling through transponders or by pay-by-plate, in which license tags are photographed as vehicles pass through the toll plazas. March 2020 also was when the $3 administrative fee for each pay-by-plate transaction was suspended.

Now that all-electronic tolling will be the standard going forward, the $3 administrative fee for toll-by-plate will be reinstated in October. That means the toll on the Cape Coral and Midpoint bridges will be $2 with a transponder and $5 for pay-by-plate, including the administrative fee. Likewise, the toll on the Sanibel Causeway will be $6 by transponder or $9 for toll-by-plate.

Also – if approved after a public hearing – motorcycles will pay the same rate as standard passenger vehicles. This would begin in October.

The county will implement a communications campaign to ensure motorists and stakeholders are aware of the changes before autumn.

 

Reporter:Michael Hudak
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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