Lee County considering fully electronic tolls

Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Toll station on a bridge. Credit: WINK News

COVID-19 has changed another part of life: no toll booth workers when you drive over the bridges of Southwest Florida. The question for Lee County on Tuesday will be whether the toll booths should remain empty for good.

Turning the tolls electric can definitely prove convenient for drivers, but possibly less so for the people who work at the tolls and would lose their jobs. Not many cities in Florida still have in-person toll workers. Cities like Miami, for instance, have absolutely none. And in places like Cape Coral, in-person toll workers haven’t worked since before the pandemic.

Public opinion seems split, and the people WINK News spoke to who oppose the fully electronic tolls are vehement in their opposition.

“It’ll take a lot of jobs away, and we’re trying to keep jobs and get more jobs, and yeah it would definitely be taking jobs away,” said Jeff Potts. “Very negative thing.”

“Look at McDonald’s… McDonald’s got automatic machines… I hate ’em,” said a man who wished to remain anonymous. “I don’t use ’em. And I’m not the only one. But that’s the way things are going. We’re still going to need people, there’s no doubt about it.”

A recent study showed that electronic tolls reduce travel time by 43 seconds on the Cape Coral Bridge and 1 minute 26 seconds on the Midpoint Bridge.

The Lee County Board of Commissioners will be meeting at 1:30 p.m.

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