All-electronic tolling is coming to more Miami-Dade expressways and bridges next year.
Later this month, the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority plans to hold four public workshops to advise residents about the introduction of all-electronic tolling on heavily traveled State Roads 836 and 112 the Dolphin and Airport expressways in 2014.
And the county is negotiating with the Florida Department of Transportation about a plan to stop accepting cash and start collecting tolls electronically via SunPass on the county-run Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne and the Venetian Causeway to Miami Beach.
By the summer or fall of 2014, no more cash will be accepted on the 836 and 112 expressways, and their toll plazas will be removed, said Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) Executive Director Javier Rodríguez.
Tolls on both will increase for most drivers because once the new system is operational, they will pay a toll no matter where they enter or exit, with tolls increasing with the length of their drive. Currently, motorists driving west on 112 dont pay a toll, while those on 836 encounter the first westbound toll plaza after Northwest 97th Avenue.
Rodríguez said MDX board members would set a new toll rate, either 65 or 70 cents, in March after the public has weighed in.
Currently, the toll plaza price on 836 and 112 is $1 for SunPass users. After the new tolls are approved, drivers will have to pay an additional toll at a new electronic collection point to be installed near 57th Avenue, Rodriguez said.
The impetus for doing all-electronic tolling, open-road tolling, is to equitably toll everybody who uses the facilities, he said
Rodriguez added that MDX will explore the possibility of providing discounts for frequent users, particularly those who travel the entire length of 836 both ways. Between 8 and 9 percent of the estimated 150,000 daily users of 836 travel the entire length of the expressway. Most, however, take the road for short stretches and do not pay a toll because they exit before they encounter a toll plaza.
MDX officials say only about 40 percent of drivers on its roads actually pay a toll.
Other MDX expressways, such as the Don Shula, Gratigny and Snapper Creek, stopped taking cash in 2010 when they switched to all-electronic tolling. MDX decided to delay the conversion of 836 and 112 until the bulk of the reconstruction of the 836-Palmetto Expressway interchange was finished.
Drivers who dont have SunPass or do not want to acquire a transponder can still use the toll roads. They will be billed later via the Toll-by-Plate system.
Under Toll-by-Plate, which is handled by SunPass, drivers without a transponder will receive a bill that shows a photo of their vehicles license plate captured by cameras attached to the toll gantries.
Rodriguez said the increased toll revenue wound allow MDX to improve maintenance of its roads, expand them or build new roads in the future. MDX does not receive gasoline tax, property, federal or county tax money.
At these meetings were advising people formally of not only what the rates may be, but what the money will be used for, Rodriguez said.
Cindy Polo, the MDX spokeswoman, said her agency is rolling out a print, radio and television publicity drive aimed at attracting members to the public meetings scheduled for later this month at various locations around the county.
In mid-December, FDOT took the first major step to allow SunPass customers to use their devices outside Florida, a plan that eventually will include the major toll roads of the huge E-Z Pass system in the Northeast. Florida and North Carolina officials reached an agreement that will allow SunPass and Quick Pass users to use their transponders in either state beginning July 1.