State To Consider Adding Toll Lanes To Non-Highway Roads

MIAMI (CBS4)- Commuters who enjoy toll free drives down non-highway roads in South Florida may have to pay up. That’s because state transportation officials are considering to add tolls on some roadways.

The Florida Department of Transportation announced on Thursday that they will be conducting a study in the coming months to consider adding tolls on specific roads in Palm Beach and Broward counties. The roads being considered in the study include State Road 7 from Sample Road in Broward County to Glades Road in Palm Beach County and Glades Road from State Road 7 east to U.S. Highway 1 in Boca Raton.

The department said it is looking for innovative ways to manage congestion, and this could be attractive for commuters who imagine a traffic- free morning or evening commute on U.S. 1 in South Dade.

Cindy Polo with the Miami Dade Expressway Authority explained, “We have heard from the community that the existing bus corridor is not as effective as it could be and so as we partner up with these agencies we able to maximize the existing resource and not just necessarily build a new highway.”

Next month, it will launch a three-year study of U.S. 441 in the two counties and Glades Road in Boca Raton that will consider, among other things, adding HOV or toll lanes to them.

Additionally, premium transit service – including bus rapid transit that is a faster could also be established using the exclusive lanes.

No numbers are being thrown around yet, but a previous study CBS4 discovered suggested commuters would pay $ .75 cents in the middle of the day and up to $4.25 during morning and evening commutes.

With a similar effort being considered in Miami-Dade County, they are among the first attempts in Florida to apply such ideas to major, non-expressway roads.

Not everyone is on board with the possible toll changes, and some have mixed feelings.

“All of us taxpayers pay for that,” Angelo Clanotus told CBS4’s David Sutta. “We should get to use it. We shouldn’t have to pay extra.”

But Patti Bared said it could help traffic.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Barad said. “They’re already on I-95 and I think it’s alleviated a lot of traffic.”

Meanwhile, commuter Christina Cunetta was concerned about the impact express lanes would have on the area.

“We need a multi-faceted community,” she said. “Not just cars ripping through here like we are I-95.”

Although some commuters may not agree with the move, South Florida transportation planners said express lanes on local roads could provide needed relief.

“The [U.S. 441] and Glades Road projects are simply the beginning of building a solid foundation for our future,” said Gregor Senger, an FDOT transit development project manager. “We can no longer focus on simply adding general-use lanes to congested corridors. We need to be more progressive in our thinking.”

The study of U.S. 441 – also known as State Road 7 – is part of an ongoing effort to transform that regional thoroughfare into a major transit corridor. Both Broward and Palm Beach counties have developed transportation plans that require two dedicated bus lanes on 441.

Glades is considered an important east-west link to Florida’s Turnpike, Interstate 95, Tri-Rail and the FEC railroad, where future passenger service is being studied. Together, the two thoroughfares are considered a major regional transportation network.

The state will also consider adding HOV or toll lanes either in the medians or as outside lanes of both roads. Buses or other forms of mass transit could also use those lanes.

In Miami- Dade County, transportation planners are studying ways to bring express lanes to the busway that parallels U.S. 1 between the Dadeland Mall and Homestead.

The plan could involve widening the U.S. 1 busway to four lanes from two, and allowing solo drivers to buy their way out of congestion by paying tolls that would rise and fall depending on traffic volume. Buses and carpools would use the lanes for free.

The existing two-lane, 20-mile busway is reserved for Miami-Dade Transit express buses, which have the ability to keep traffic signals green as they approach intersections. But the busway has created frustration for drivers who sit in traffic on U.S. 1 only to look over to see no vehicles running on the busway.

Senger said that’s why dedicated bus lanes alone might not work. They tend to be underutilized, especially in areas that don’t have enough density to support transit.

Senger foresees express lanes first on Glades Road and U.S. 441, and then providing premium transit when redevelopment on 441 increases density in the area to the point where it can support rapid transit.

Transportation officials point out that express lanes could save gasoline and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by allowing drivers to avoid stop-and-go traffic and shorten commutes.

The state plans a number of public meetings seeking input from residents, businesses and elected officials. After the studies are complete, FDOT expects to have a plan for improving those roads.

The State Road 7 study will cost $5 million, and the Glades Road study will cost $2.5 million, according to FDOT officials. The study is expected to last at least two years, and public forums will be held for the community to weigh in on the developments.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

More from David Sutta
  • nguerra


    “The department said tit is looking for innovative ways to manage congestion.”

    I think you should leave the word “tit” out of this article. Whatever happened to proofreading; these days it’s pathetic to read articles. There are so many misspelled words and people’s names. It’s embarrassing!

    • Harriett

      I agree with nguerra. I type for a living. If I made as many spelling and grammar mistakes that cbs4 does, I would have been fired a long time ago. Obviously no one proofreads before hitting the send button.


      wow, WHAT DOES IT TAKE, to have anyone PROOFREAD?



  • mari

    nguerra: what they really mean is that yes they are human but also that it is not important to proof read what they send out. The world we live in! And we want our children to do more than mediocre work?? LOL
    The extra letter should have been caught 30 seconds before the post! I agree with nguerra.

  • James Bonds

    What’s next MDX, tolls on the Palmetto Expressway????

  • James Bonds

    What’s next? A toll every time your car leaves your driveway????

    • Jimbo99

      That’s about what they want it to become. They don’t want people to have cars anymore, period and if you do have one it’s for the wealthy only. This has got to be the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard for roads like this. Usually it’s reserved for I-95 & the Gratigny which is where they came up with toll roads & no operators. It’s this company (ETCC) & it’s software:

  • Matt

    How do tolls alleviate traffic? Why not build more roads and/or more public transportation to alleviate traffic…

    • Jimbo99

      Excellent question, they hope to make it totally unaffordable for anyone to drive a car without paying them their fees. Some how the jerk(s) that started this toll operatorless toll roads feel it’s their entitlement to be paid somehow because anyone has to drive to get somewhere. Al Qaeda isn’t the enemy, it’s the people that work for MDX that are the terrorists. Some of these a-h0les might even be one of your neighbors. Too lazy to work for a living, just let the camera snap the license plate and send bills out.

      • James Bonds

        Jimbo99, you are 100% correct. We just have to put a stop to this if not, the day will come when they will charge us for every freaking mile we drive, this is totally INSANE and we better stop it. Did you vote on weather or not to put tolls on I-95? Hell no!!!! None of us did, they just rammed their under the table deal with all the kick backs to the local elected officials and bingo, I-95, an Interstate Highway, paid for in full 100% with our federal tax dollars and now years later, they device this “Express Lane” and suck more of our tax dollars for the elite in government!!!!





    munchkins anyone????


  • Jimbo99

    I’ve always wondered why those bus lanes in the video were never utilized. To me it was no different than West Dixie Highway running parallel with US 1 only that these lanes are reserved for non-existent, phantom buses. Want to know why buses are under utilized, try catching one. More than 1/2 the time the message on the bus is “not in service” when it’s being driven around.

  • Marinekid

    CBS4, you should do an exclusive investigation on taxing/charging of public road ways paved with tax dollars. It is my belief that such a study was conducted years years ago on the possibility of doing the same on the palmetto expressway, yet nothing was done due to it having to have been constructed with tax payer money. It needless to say try doing it in Miami-Dade county and your job will be recalled! Tax payer’s are waking up and where is the blue print as where the toll money goes to? Where the lottery funds go to? I’m referring to the pay outs and so on..

  • Concerned citizen

    One thing I’ve noticed about the US1 busway is that more police cars use it on weekday morning0t than buses. These aren’t emergency situations, just police using it to drive to work while normal people have to sit in traffic. I thought this was just for buses and EMERGENCY traffic. CBS, investigate this on any given weekday morning. Would make a good story.

  • Rhonda Costello

    WHY are WE paying for TOLLS on a public HIGHWAY? because they TELL us to under the guise of EXPRESS lanes. just because you can go faster? thats BS. the speed limit is set. carpool in the hov lane if you want to go faster than the snails crawl. what does speed have to do with tolling a publically paid for highway? hello???? my ex husband was charged $600. for 2 sunpass violations. the notice went to an old address. what a crock of expletive. We are sheep! i swear that the government can do ANYTHING to us and we would just baahhhh! about it and then do nothing about it.

  • Marlon

    It’s even more pathetic when people complain about spelling and grammar issues. Listen, you’re not paying for this article, take the knowledge and put it to good use.

    You guys are the type of people that complain about the font at the stop sign and get side swiped because you failed to use your brakes.


      GREAT POINT, Marlon…

  • Carlos Garcia

    More and more tolls. Don’t fall for it people. There are unseen forces at work here that say they have the “public’s best interest at heart”. But they don’t. I’m part of a grassroots group here in Miami-Dade called Roll Back Tolls. These tolling agencies operate with little to no input from the public. We have to change that and unite as one voice. Check it out. Enough is enough already with the tolls.

  • Dan

    This is not right. I have owned and paid taxes on my house for 24 years and it’s the original road. They have tore it up and just patched it several times. We all pay taxes to drive freely and maintain our roads. The government keeps doing this to the average man because we all can’t get together and protest. Look at Wisconsin, Florida will never be able to come together like that.

  • Chevy

    MDX and SunPass . MDX operate the tolls and SunPass paid to MDX when you pass the toll, but if by any reason SunPass don’t pay to MDX, then MDX send you a bill with extra charge that depending on the time you take to pay a $1.30 toll, could be up to $22.30 on adm. charges and penalties. It happened to me, even when I have a SunPass with auto replenish from my bank account and the minimum balance is $10. On the Busway issue, not only is more used by the Police, but they don’t stop bicycles riding on traffic lanes.

  • Tim

    Toll lanes cause more conjestion, because most people won’t or can’t pay the extra money and the remaining lanes become more conjested. The proposal would amount to over 90 dollars a month to use the toll lane to and from work. Nobody will use it. They might as well eliminate a lane,

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