Lawmakers Move to End Discounts for SunPass Users

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL - It's a convenient way of zooming past long lines.

And if you use SunPass often enough, you also get discounts on your tolls. You get up to 5 percent off if you use it more than 40 times a month, and double that if you go through more than 80 tolls.

However, under a newly-filed bill, the discounts could go away.

Fabienne Chiocchio travels on Florida's Turnpike to and from the Orlando area all the time, and she's outraged.

"It's too much. It's too much for people now. I think they should wait to see how the jobs and everything, the economy is going to go up or not," she said.

The economy is exactly why lawmakers are acting.

They want to raise more money to help tackle a $4 billion deficit.

There are even critics who think the whole idea of a discount is bad business.

"In the private sector, they would charge more for a convenience of time savings that SunPass provides. Traditionally, we've been charging less. All we're saying is, let's treat people the same, let's treat them fairly," said Doug Callaway, Floridians for Better Transportation.

Still, the cost of an average commute is skyrocketing.

Take it from Chiocchio who says lawmakers ought to raise taxes on the wealthy before looking at tolls on the highway.

"Gas is going higher, so now, if people have to pay a lot of money for tolls, it's going to be a disaster," she said.

The bill would also eliminate the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, allowing the state to hike tolls and eliminate discounts on even more roads in Central Florida.

The legislation has yet to make it to either the House or Senate floor for a vote.

Opponents say they're hopeful that won't happen, because the Capitol's Republican leaders have pledged not to raise fees or taxes as a way of balancing the budget.

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