Unless billionaire and space-travel entrepreneur Elon Musk is going to build his levitation tube from Key Largo to Key West, or Disney in Orlando decides to put in a monorail for the same route, we have few options to exert any control over traffic flow on the Overseas Highway.
A study for a toll on our scenic but fragile “main street” now appears to be an item on the agenda for the June 21st Monroe County Commission meeting.
Hopefully, County Commissioner Heather Caruthers will find some support from fellow board members in formally exploring this possibility.
It may take some fortitude to speak up on this issue, but there is little argument that traffic on U.S. 1 is becoming a liability for Monroe County and its residents.
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Anything that can be done to put some value on a visit to the Keys by nonresidents could limit traffic volume, especially on holiday weekends.
It should be a privilege to drive the Overseas Highway and/or bring a boat to the Florida Keys.
Residents pay county taxes; day trippers and roadside campers pay little or nothing.
It goes without saying the revenue raised is sorely needed for costs of bridges, landscape, maintenance, and law enforcement.
We need our elected officials to look ahead at how we are going to pay for raising the roadbeds necessitated by rising sea levels that are occurring regardless of what side of the global warning argument you are on. (Spoiler alert: Netflix’s “Bloodline,” shot in the Florida Keys, took a shot at this issue in its final episodes).
It is encouraging to see the county board and separate municipalities giving this issue the attention that is needed before the trip to the Keys is viewed as an ordeal rather than the unique journey to the sea, first envisioned by Henry Flagler.