Governor Perdue Directs State Road and Tollway Authority To Honor 1980 Agreement and Discontinue Torras Causeway Toll
|Wednesday, June 4, 2003||
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Travelers To Saint Simons Will Use A Toll-Free Torras Causeway in 2004
Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today directed the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) to honor a 1980 agreement and discontinue the toll currently being charged for access to the F. J. Torras Causeway (Torras Causeway). The Torras Causeway connects travelers between U. S. 17 and Saint Simons Island, Georgia.
"I have directed SRTA to eliminate the toll on the Torras Causeway by year's end. I am pleased that beginning in 2004, travelers to one our state's favorite destinations will no longer be required to pay a toll," said Governor Sonny Perdue. Governor Perdue serves as the Authority's chairman.
The initial agreement signed in 1980 between the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration provided that: (1) no toll shall be charged for the use of the Torras Causeway after the Department has been repaid for its share of the construction costs and (2) after the date of the final repayment of debt on the causeway, the Torras Causeway shall be maintained or operated as a toll free facility.
Currently, funds from the toll total $8.3 million against total project debt of $1.7 million. In addition to the $1.7 million in toll funds required for debt repayment, SRTA has estimated that it will: (1) require approximately $1.9 million for plaza removal and restoration, bridge rehabilitation and roadway resurfacing costs to completely decommission the toll plaza and (2) hold the remaining funds in reserve for future bridge repairs and roadway maintenance to the Torras Causeway. Separately, the GDOT has confirmed that the 11 employees that work at the Torras Causeway will be reassigned to other duties.
"I have also asked State Senator Eric Johnson and State Representative Jerry Keen to work with SRTA, GDOT and local officials to prepare for the discontinuation of the toll," said Governor Perdue.
Governor Perdue also vetoed House Bill 503 (HB 503) today. This legislation would have exempted Glynn County residents from paying the toll until year's end.
"By ending the toll this year, Georgia will honor this agreement and the Torras Causeway will be operated as a toll free facility. Based on this announcement, I will veto House Bill 503," added Governor Sonny Perdue.