Mid-Bay Bridge Authority hosts two public meetings to discuss potential options for toll rate reductions

By Katie King- katie@ewbullock.com

October 27, 2016 –Niceville, Fl—In August, after data showed that the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) revenues are greater than originally forecasted, the Authority initiated a review of its toll schedule with the goal of providing additional relief to customers. This week the MBBA held two public meetings to discuss potential options for toll decreases.

“Our goal has always been to keep toll rates as low as responsibly possible in order to efficiently operate and sustain the Mid-Bay Bridge, Danny Wuerffel Way and Spence Parkway,” said Chairman James Neilson.

“The Authority will consider any ideas that may provide additional relief to customers, without raising any rates. The Authority is still required to meet a toll revenue target and cannot jeopardize its financial stability or debt coverage,” he furthered.

The first public meeting was held on Tuesday night, Oct. 25, at the Destin City Hall Annex. Thursday’s meeting was held at Northwest Florida State College’s Student Services building.

The current Mid-Bay Bridge toll schedule is as follows:

  • Cash – $4.00
  • SunPass discount – $3.00
  • SunPass Frequent User discount (41 transactions per month) – $2.00

During this week’s public meetings, the Authority outlined four potential options they are considering to alter the tolls while still meeting target revenue:

  1. Increasing the SunPass discount from $1 up to $1.40.
  2. Reducing the monthly transaction threshold for the Frequent User from 41 to as low as 31 transactions.
  3. Providing two tiers of discount ($2.50/$2) for those who pass a transaction threshold of 30 and 36, respectively.
  4. Implementing an annual toll cap of $1,000 or greater for unlimited SunPass travel.

The primary comments from Thursday night’s meeting was to increase the cash rate in order to provide additional toll relief to SunPass customers.

“The Authority welcomes public participation and feedback and will consider one or a combination of options at its next meeting,” said MBBA Executive Director Van Fuller.

The board will meet again on Thursday, Nov. 17, in Niceville City Hall at 9 a.m. and consider implementation of a new toll schedule. The target date for implementation must still be coordinated with the Florida Turnpike and is expected to be around January 2017.

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