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Tolls To Increase On Dolphin, Airport Expressways

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – People wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “enough is enough!” and “don’t raise toll rates!” confronted the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority as it dealt with a plan to revamp tolls on the 836 and 112 expressways.

The good news is no more toll booths.   The roadways are going all electric with SunPass or toll by plate.

More good news: polls are going down to maybe $.65 even $.35 at some locations.

The bad news: You’ll pay a lot more tolls a lot more often.

Tolls now are only collected eastbound on State Road 112, eastbound on the 836 near Miami, and both ways out in western Miami-Dade. Under the new proposal, tolls would be collected at no fewer than 16 new locations scattered all over both expressways.  Everyone would pay no matter how short a distance they travel.

Beginning next year, the average roundtrip on the 836 will increase by an average $1.80. The average on the 112 will go up $.40.

The new tolls would generate upwards of $50 million a year in new revenue.

“Outrageous!” Said Carlos Garcia of the anti-tolls group, “Roll Back Tolls.”

“It is an unnecessary burden, an unbearable burden financially on the daily commuters and businesses of Miami-Dade County,” Garcia said.

MDX says the new money is needed to maintain and improve the expressway system.

“As our sunshine continues to attract more and more people, and we make improvements at the seaport and airport, our infrastructure needs to keep up with demand,” said Cindy Polo, an MDX spokesperson.

Opponents call tolls an expensive and inefficient way to raise money. The cost of gear alone for the new plan is expected to run $30 million.  A gas tax, critics say, would make more sense.

Some drivers, tapped out by tolls, were livid.

“You spend so much money on tolls every day, it’s ridiculous,” said Frank Stigh as he pumped gas at a station in West Miami Dade. “All month you spend a fortune on tolls, you spend enough money on gas already, and you got to spend more money on tolls!”

Having to pay more tolls more often, critics say, will cause more of us to exit the expressway.

“When people realize how much this is going to cost, they are going to get off the 836 and the 112 and start taking surface streets, “said Garcia of the group “Roll Back Tolls.”  The result, Garcia said, will be even greater traffic congestion in communities dealing with already crowded streets.

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