Miami-Dade County

MDX: We’ll give back $2.1 million in tolls

“Welcome to Miami” sign located on the toll taker eastbound on 836 approaching downtown Miami.
“Welcome to Miami” sign located on the toll taker eastbound on 836 approaching downtown Miami. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

At least a little bit of the sting of last year’s unpopular $52 million highway toll increase should disappear in December. The Miami Dade Express Authority has authorized refunds averaging about $75 to 30,000 drivers enrolled in its frequent-customer program who spent $50 or more to drive on its highways during the first six months of the year.

Another 7,000 or so will get smaller refunds, MDX said.

The refunds total about $2.1 million, somewhat less than the $3 million preliminary figure MDX officials used when it announced plans for the refund in June.

But MDX spokesman Mario Diaz said the program will continue in 2016, so additional refunds are expected next year.

“There’s no end date on it right now,” Diaz said. “Drivers who register in the program will continue to share in whatever savings we realize through increased efficiencies.”

The refund money is left over from the toll increase. Most of it is a result in an upgrade of MDX’s credit rating, which enabled it to borrow money more cheaply than expected. But the agency’s balance sheet also benefited from increased traffic and some surprisingly low construction bids.

More than 82,000 drivers signed up for the frequent-customer program. About 46 percent of them qualified for a rebate. The sign-up period ended in August, but enrollment will open again in 2016, possibly as early as January, Diaz said.

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