Toll Relief Bill Takes Action

A new toll relief bill has been signed into action.


Photo Juno Le

An illustration of a highway. Graphic developed on Canva.

Charlotte Stone, Print Managing Editor

Editor’s note: The following story was created as an entry for the FSPA Digital Quick Turn Written News Story contest. 

Along with the new year came a new set of laws that were put into effect on Jan. 1. Amongst these numerous bills was Senate Bill 6A—a bill for toll relief.

This bill instructs the Florida Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) to create a toll relief program. This program is effective from Jan. 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2023 for all Florida toll facilities that use a Florida-issued transponder or are capable of being operated with the SunPass toll system. Within the defined terms of the bill, an account that records 35 or more toll trips per transponder per month is eligible for credit equal to 50% of the amount paid for the transactions.

In simpler terms, this bill allows commuters who have at least 35 toll trips per month to be credited 50% of their tolls.

The bill also grants $500 million from the General Revenue Fund to the State Transportation Trust Fund. This will allow the Federal Department of Transportation (FDOT) to reimburse the FDOT, the FTE, and any other Florida toll facilities for the loss of revenue this bill will create.

The bill, originally proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in September of 2022, is projected to benefit up to 1.2 million commuters and save the average commuter up to $400.

“I promised Floridians that I would find additional ways to provide toll relief for Florida families,” DeSantis said after signing this bill in Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 15. “With this legislation, we are keeping that promise to help hardworking families keep more money in their pockets. I applaud the Florida Legislature for prioritizing this during the special session.”

In Tampa, the toll relief bill applies to the Veterans Expressway, Selmon Expressway and I-4 connector to the Selmon Expressway.

This bill has the potential to greatly affect many students at Robinson.

Due to Robinson’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, it accommodates many students who do not live in the designated Robinson school district. As a result, many students commute from West Chase, Brandon and even Riverview.

“As someone that travels an hour to get to school [the toll relief bill] is definitely helpful to consistent drivers. Especially teen drivers with extracurriculars, it really helps them out in getting to and from home efficiently. Going on the veterans consistently racks up a pretty penny and as a citizen of Florida this bill is really beneficial…” Vikas Pulickathadam (’24) said. “My band teacher in seventh grade had to transfer to another school due to the massive amount he had to pay for tolls on a monthly basis. It was sad to see him go, but good to know that the government is taking action on it.”

Although there are alternative routes to avoid toll roads, many students believe that they take too long and would prefer to take a quicker route that requires tolls.

“As a person who frequently takes toll trips just to get to school every day, I think this bill will do wonders. I take roads with tolls at least twice a day and yeah, I could save money by not taking these roads but that [would] just lead to me sitting in traffic for two hours, and I would prefer not to do that.” Riverview resident, Tammy Jerson (’24) remarked. “This bill would be a lifesaver for my bank account.”