Treasure Island officials plan to explore the possibility of collecting tolls again on bridges along the Treasure Island Causeway. Revenue is needed for bridge maintenance,
TREASURE ISLAND – In an effort to increase revenue for bridge maintenance, Treasure Island officials plan to explore the possibility of collecting tolls again on bridges along the Treasure Island Causeway.
Mayor Bob Minning told commissioners Jan. 7 that he and City Manager Reid Silverboard have been discussing ideas to increase revenue without increasing millage. One of the ideas discussed was returning the bascule bridge to a toll bridge.
“We’re exploring that,” said Minning. “It’s an avenue that we’re going to look at. Whatever we come up with in terms of background, or what have you, we’ll make sure it comes before the commission and we’ll workshop it thoroughly.”
Commissioner Phil Collins asked if the city could legally return to tolls on the bridge.
“Wasn’t one of the regulations with the money for the bridge that we not charge tolls?” he asked.
“There was an understanding with (the late Congressman) Bill Young that the tolls would come off the bridge,” said Silverboard. “As I understand it, that was never part of the grant and there never was a written agreement that the city would never have tolls.”
Minning said that would be among the things city staff would be researching.
Federal funds to build the bascule bridge and two others along the causeway were made possible by Young. Part of the agreement at the time was to eliminate tolls.
The city eliminated a $1 toll when the first span of the bridge opened in June 2006.
But since then, the city has struggled to find the necessary funds to maintain the three bridges.
Early last year, the city Public Works department and engineering consultant EC Driver began assessing an issue with four of the 16 hydraulic cylinders that control the opening and closing of the drawbridge. That work is still ongoing.
The city is also trying to find a way to finance the cost of recoating and repainting the three bridges.
The causeway first opened to traffic in 1939.
In 2002, a study indicated the three bridges needed to be replaced. Construction on the east and west bridges started in 2003 and was finished in October 2004. Construction of the new drawbridge started three months later.
Commissioners moved forward on a resolution Jan. 7 to reline eight stormwater outfall pipes in the Isles of Palms, Isle of Capri and Paradise Island at a cost of $62,018.
JTV Inc. of Pinellas Park will complete the work.
Plans call for JTV to clean the inside of the pipes, cut mineral deposits and roots, and install a liner ranging in thickness from .35 to .41 inches, depending on the diameter of the pipe.
Relining helps to improve the inside smoothness of a pipe, which helps to produce a more efficient stormwater flow.
City Commission candidates in two districts are running unopposed this year, which means no election of a commissioner will take place on Tuesday, March 11.
Tim Ramsberger, who represents District 2, and Alan Bildz, who represents District 4, will be sworn for new two-year terms on March 18.