Hurricane Matthew: Gov. Scott suspends tolls in mandatory evacuation zones
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday afternoon that he's directed the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend traffic tolls in counties where there are evacuations for Hurricane Matthew.
"This includes all toll roads in counties with mandatory evacuations," Scott spokeswoman Taryn Fenske clarified to the Times/Herald. "Obviously this is fluid and will continue to change as counties issue evacuation orders."
As of 2 p.m., the only county that had declared a mandatory evacuation was Brevard County -- where a mandatory evacuation for the county's barrier islands takes effect at 3 p.m.
Scott tweeted that tolls on State Road 528 in Brevard County had been suspended, but his office hasn't mentioned any other affected roadways.
Tolls on State Road 528 in Central FL are being suspended right now. This road goes from Brevard County to Orlando.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 5, 2016
Voluntary evacuations have begun in St. Lucie, Flagler and Duval counties, Scott's office said in a noon update.
Hurricane warnings now cover almost the entire east coast of Florida, from the Miami-Dade and Broward County line north to Flagler County, just south of Jacksonville. Scott said this morning that the suspension of traffic tolls would depend on county evacuation plans.
"Evacuations have started to be ordered this morning and I expect more counties to order evacuations soon," Scott said in his statement this afternoon. "Protecting life and moving people to safety remains our top priority and today I directed the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend tolls as needed to keep traffic flowing. If there is an evacuation order in a county, all tolls will be suspended in that county."