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It could get cheaper to drive on the First Coast Expressway

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to reduce tolls for a full year.
Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to reduce tolls for a full year.

Frequent drivers on the First Coast Expressway could receive further discounts on tolls.

After establishing a six-month program to save certain commuters about $10 a month on tolls, Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to expand the program next year.

As he campaigns for re-election, DeSantis on Wednesday said he will ask the Legislature in 2023 to give frequent SunPass and E-Pass users a 50% monthly credit for a full year.

“We’re very fortunate that when you lead the nation in tourism, you know those folks pay taxes and that’s part of the reason we can have such a low tax burden statewide and do a lot of this,” DeSantis said while at the Florida Department of Transportation District 6 headquarters in Miami.

DeSantis said the proposal could affect about 750,000 Floridians who frequently commute and save an average commuter about $550 a year.

Under the program announced earlier, toll discounts took effect Sept. 1 for cars, SUVs and pickup trucks when the motorists are in good standing with their SunPass or other Florida transponder accounts.

The governor’s office said average commuters could save about $60 over six months, with savings depending on how frequently they use toll roads. The plan provides 20% bill credits to motorists who have at least 40 toll transactions a month and 25% credits for people who hit toll roads 80 or more times a month.

Roads in the plan include the turnpike, the Sawgrass Expressway, Alligator Alley, the Polk Parkway, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the I-4 Connector, Veterans Expressway, the First Coast Expressway, the Garcon Point Bridge, the Pinellas Bayway and express lanes. It also will cover parts of the Beachline East, the Beachline West, the Western Beltway, the Southern Connector Extension, the Seminole Expressway and Wekiva Parkway.

The program, which is expected to cut state toll collections by $38 million, does not include roads that are part of the Miami-Dade and Central Florida expressway authorities. DeSantis said he hopes to expand the toll roads where motorists would be eligible for discounts.