Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

SunPass not compatible with other states' EZ-Pass, but was cheaper

How popular is the SunPass? According to data from Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, more than 5 million SunPass transponders are in use throughout Florida, meaning that roughly one in three Floridians has a SunPass, a nice convenience for those of us who use them.

But avid road-trippers know that several states and even some parts of Canada use the E-ZPass system for toll roads, allowing motorists to travel through tolls seamlessly, making a trip from New York to Illinois, or from Maine to Canada, for example, less of a hassle. Considering the number of tourists who use Florida roads throughout the year, some folks wonder why Florida chose the SunPass system rather than E-ZPass.

Reader Carol Gannon of St. Pete Beach posed this question to the Doc, noting that the convenience to Floridians, as well as visitors, would be a huge plus.

We got in touch with Christa Deason, spokesperson for Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, who filled the Doc in on the time line in terms of the early days of collecting tolls electronically and how Florida ended up with the SunPass.

In the mid 1990s, just a handful of states were using the technology. As each state chose a system, it selected one that best suited its needs. For example, Texas was the first state to implement electronic toll technology in 1989, but when New York selected its E-ZPass system in 1993, it turned out to be incompatible with the Texas technology.

Deason said that when Florida was looking at its options in 1996, the system that would eventually be known as SunPass offered the most customer-friendly features such as display of account balance and audible tones that provide immediate feedback, and it cost the state millions less than other systems.

"While changes to transponder features have been made over the years, those original features were important in helping to facilitate rapid adoption of this new technology. Equally as important is the fact that the winning bid for the SunPass system was $29 million lower than the next highest bid, which happened to be E-ZPass technology," Deason said.

The SunPass folks say that while it's probably true that visitors from the northeast might want to see their E-ZPasses accepted here, Florida customers haven't indicated much of an interest in making the SunPass system compatible with other states. And eventually, all electronic toll collection technology will become "interoperable," probably within the next decade, Deason said.

Crumbling Coffee Pot bridge will be fixed

If the road on the east side of the bridge that goes over Coffee Pot Bayou to Snell Isle seems to you to be caving in, you're not mistaken. Reader Nancy Sanford has noticed it and says it is a return of a problem that occurred several years ago.

"I've resorted, again, to pulling a little to the left to avoid the shock absorber bashing one gets on the right front tire mostly, but also to the rear right. I remember that I was told the problem was scheduled to be repaired back when this first happened shortly after the bridge was refurbished, and it was fixed. But the problem has returned,'' Sanford wrote the Doc.

Thomas Gibson, the city of St. Petersburg's engineering director, says repair work has been scheduled to begin Nov. 15 on both approaches to the bridge, as well as to the bridge superstructure and substructure. This will involve replacement of the crosswalk pavers so workers can fix the settlement problems. One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained at all times, Gibson says. Work should last about two weeks.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.

SunPass not compatible with other states' EZ-Pass, but was cheaper 11/06/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 1:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017

    Blogs

    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  5. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.