TAMPA - Hillsborough County officials seemed to throw cold water Wednesday on a proposal to reconstruct the Friendship TrailBridge through a public-private partnership.
Enthusiastic commissioners approve the first piece of an incentive package they hope will persuade Amazon.com to build a 1-million-square-foot assembly and distribution center in the Ruskin area.
The thin funnel briefly dangled from a storm cloud over Old Tampa Bay between the Gandy and Howard Frankland bridges shortly after lunchtime.
Dive teams concluded their search of Lake Jovita with nothing of evidentiary value to report in the 20-year-old unsolved slaying of 12-year-old Jennifer Odom.
A new electronic tolling system will be in place beginning this Friday. The Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority has scheduled the conversion of the Selmon Expressway to All-Electronic Tolling for the night of September 17, 2010. At that time, all drivers will not have to slow down or stop at any toll booths or toll plazas. All drivers will be billed by one of two electronic methods – using a SunPass or We Bill You.
“Converting to all-electronic tolling has been a goal for the Selmon Expressway for a number of years, and since the current equipment is more than 30 years old with no available replacement parts, now is the time make the switch,” said Sue Chrzan, THEA communications manager.
SunPass is accepted on most toll roads in Florida, and a smaller and less expensive SunPass, the Sunpass Mini, was recently introduced. The SunPass Mini is a sticker that may be purchased at Publix, CVS or AAA locations for $4.99. Once the SunPass account is activated with $10, the account will be credited $4.99 - making SunPass technically free.
With “We Bill You,” occasional drivers, or a driver who does not wish to get a SunPass, the Selmon Expressway takes a picture of the vehicle’s license plate and a bill is mailed to the address on the license plate registration.
The Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority sites several benefits to All-Electronic Tolling including:
• Cost savings – drivers who use SunPass will save 25 cents at each tolling point versus those who choose “We Bill You” by video toll collection. All drivers should see some savings by using less gas without stop-and-go traffic around toll booths.
• Convenience – no cash or exact change needed, and no rolling down your window in the rain.
• Time Savings – no waiting in line to pay or slowing down around toll plazas.
• Safety – 58 percent of all accidents occur at toll booths; since there will be no toll booths, accidents are expected to be reduced.
For more information about the AET conversion and SunPass, please visit http://www.SaveOnTolls.com.
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