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State Road 836 toll hike to be reconsidered

The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority board of directors voted 9-3 Tuesday to reconsider the controversial toll increase on the Dolphin Expressway (State Road 836), which it tentatively approved last month.

Currently, drivers traveling between Florida’s Turnpike and the area near the junction of 836 and I-95 pay $1.75. Under the higher toll rate approved March 19, drivers would pay $2.10. Under a reconsideration motion for a lower toll rate, the cost would be $1.80.

The final vote on the lower rate is now scheduled for June 18.

If the lower rate is approved, it would take effect when all-electronic tolling begins in the summer of 2014. At that time, cash will no longer be accepted.

The decision came at the end of a two-hour meeting at MDX headquarters following a push by some board members against the higher toll rate passed March 19 and pleas by members of the public to have tolls reduced. The board’s vice chair, Shelly Smith Fano, moved to reconsider the increase, and she was seconded by board member Maritza Gutierrez, the prime force behind the effort to reconsider the increase.

Gutierrez said the toll increase came at a bad time because it “hurt the community” during an economic downturn. The board’s chairman, Maurice Ferre, who favored the higher tolls, was among the three members who voted against the reconsideration motion.