TALLAHASSEE  (CBSMiami) – One of the best perks about owning a Sunpass is the discount you get when you let the state take tolls directly from your bank account. That benefit may be history, as action in the Florida Senate Thursday took that discount one step closer to extinction.

The Senate voted 28-11 Thursday in favor of a bill that would eliminate the discount on state-operated toll roads like the Florida Turnpike. Supporters of ending the tolls say it could generate $100 million for state highway projects, an amount that could be multiplied if it is used to back transportation project bonds.

J.D. Alexander, the Senate budget chief, claimed the discount was needed when Sunpass was new to convince people to support the program. Now, he said, special Sunpass lanes and the elimination of toll booths in places like South Florida have made the discount unnecessary.

Some Republicans argued against the bill, claiming it went back on a promise to taxpayers not to raise fees, but the argument failed to gain support.

The plan passed as part of a bill that allows the state’s Turnpike Enterprise to absorb three authorities: the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority and the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority in Okaloosa County.

SunPass is an electronic toll-paying system and users typically pay 25 cents less than drivers who pay cash on Florida’s Turnpike and other state toll roads.

A Sunpass discount is also given to drivers who use it on the toll roads operated by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, which is not covered under the Senate bill. It’s not known what effect the discontinuation of the discount on state toll roads would have on the MDX discount program.

The Senate plan must still be approved by the Florida House and signed by Governor Scott before the discount disappears.

Comments (11)
  1. tee says:

    these politicians have no idea how to treat the public in bad economic times, or how to keep a promise

  2. ME says:

    u know we’re one of very few countries with tolls to begin with. Why dont they just get rid of it instead of lining their pockets??? iM GUESSING sCOTT ASKS FOR DISCOUNTS ON eVERYTHING HE TRIES TO GET

  3. Harriett says:

    I will be using I-95 and surface streets from now on.

  4. Regina says:

    OK, Want to play dirty ball? Close your Sunpass account and clog up the now severely under-capacity toll booths!

    These filthy career politicians are dirt bags.

  5. Sniper Bob says:

    Scott is going to totally ruin Florida. Wait until you hear all the occupations he’s going to deregulate. His idea of progress is crooks having free rein over everything here with ZERO recourse or enforcement.

  6. Billy says:

    Politicians should be reading these comments. I guess we didn’t clean house well enought! Have to do it again.
    I just don’t get it,what is it about”you represent us and our interest” you politicians don’t get! We need to give you sme time alone to think about that.
    Have a nice rest.

  7. mike says:

    I reccomend we open the books look at the payroll etc. find out where exactly ALL this Toll money is going too….Open the books for public inspection!

  8. Angie says:

    Who is going to work in Destin for $8.00-10.00 per hour if they have to work an hour just for bridge fare? I wouldn’t even let a teenager be ripped off like this!
    Once again it’s a case of who gives a —- about those idiot Rednecks up in the
    Pan Handle.So all their jobs are low pay service/seasonal jobs and the oil spill
    almost destroyed their economy. We the Florida Elite in the Lower part of the state have every right to their money for our special interest projects! I think it’s
    time to consider asking Alabama to adopt us, we get treated like Red Headed
    Step Children anyway! I’m sure we could get better treatment from a state who
    might just consider our area as a Jewel and not as a Piggy Bank! How about it
    Alabama,need a nice Vacation Destination, maybe whe can make a deal!

  9. KD says:

    Why should we pay for southern Florida’s roads when we are ignored in the Panhandle, Charge us more for the Mid-Bay Bridge and hurt he economy even more as we’ll use the beaches, restaurants, entertainment and grocery shopping less., We will remember to take names of those that vote for taking away the discount

  10. GP says:

    The mid bay bridge has been paid for years ago. The reason for the toll was to pay for the bridge and since it’s paid for they shoudl tear down the sunpass. Navarre bridge is a good example of once a bridge is paid for you have a small basket collection to cover repairs/maintenence. I thought the lottery money was for education/roads. I think the public should request to see the financial statements on the lottery/mid bay bridge open to public view. The government wastes billions a year on fraud waste and abuse. The next time you drive through any road construction look at how many employess are standing around doing NOTHING. When you have 3 supervisors to every blue collar working something is wrong. We local residents should not be flipping the bill for polictians to use our bridge as a state funding income for their projects.

  11. sharon says:

    We just went on vacation this week to Rocky Bayou State Park in Niceville. We paid the 3.00 toll fee each time we went over the bridge to Big Kahuna’s water park, the beach, and the race tracks over there. That fee totaled to be 30.00. I could have bought gas money with that. We would like to come back but I refuse to pay that fee again. If we come back we will have to stay in Destin which we can’t afford or don’t go over the bridge to DESTIN. That’s money that will be lost for Niceville if we don’t go back.

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