Residents and visitors evacuating South Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma won’t have to pay tolls starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott told the Herald/Times the governor’s order applies to all Florida roadways and toll systems “until further notice.”
Scott said in a statement he wants “to keep traffic flowing.”
“Ensuring the safety of Florida families and visitors is our top priority and suspending tolls statewide will help people quickly evacuate and make it easier for all Floridians to access important hurricane supplies to ensure they are fully prepared,” Scott said.
“FDOT has been in constant contact with local districts and stands ready to provide traffic assistance alongside the Florida Highway Patrol and their law enforcement partners,” he added. “We are continuing to closely monitor the developments of Hurricane Irma and will continue to take aggressive action to keep our state safe.”
Monroe County and coastal areas of Miami-Dade County are beginning evacuations Wednesday.
The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority said earlier this afternoon it was waiting for an order from Scott before suspending tolls on its roads.
Tuesday morning, several Democratic lawmakers from Miami-Dade County called on Scott to suspend the tolls.
“People in Miami-Dade County preparing for a possibly severe natural disaster should not have to choose between buying vital emergency goods like water, candles, and batteries and paying tolls,” Reps. Kionne McGhee, Nick Duran and Robert Asencio of Miami and Rep. Daisy Baez of Coral Gables said in a joint statement.
Last October, Scott suspended tolls only in counties with mandatory evacuations in the hours before Hurricane Matthew grazed Florida’s Atlantic Coast, although MDX also suspended its tolls ahead of that storm.