For the second year in a row, thousands of drivers will get a holiday bonus from the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.
On Tuesday, the authority's board approved the MDX Advantage Program — which pays drivers a dividend for riding the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority's highways, which include the Dolphin/836, Gratigny/924, Airport/112, Don Shula/874 and Snapper Creek/878 expressways.
This year, the MDX will mail 54,000 people who registered for the program a total of $5.5 million, up $3.3 million from last year’s kitty. Each driver will get 30 percent of what they spent — as long as they spent more than $100 in tolls from July 1 to June 30 and registered their SunPass transponder with MDX.
“We are extremely excited that we are doing this,” said Louis Martinez, the chairman of the 13-member board. “We are a lean and mean authority that takes great pride in being efficient.”
The checks should arrive by mail in December, Martinez said. The average check will be about $100.
The program came as a way to ease some of the public anger toward MDX's 2014 decision to raise tolls by $52 million.
Last year, 38,000 drivers received a cut of $2.2 million. The average check was $75.
This year, 112,000 people registered for the rebate for the program, but only 55,000 people qualified. Tolls on Florida’s Turnpike, the Rickenbacker and Venetian causeways and the express lanes on Interstate 95 don’t count.
Martinez said the $5.5 million represent a surplus after satisfying the maintenance and operational expenses.
“It is nice to be able to give our clients a present just before the holidays,” Martinez said.