via The Daytona Beach News-Journal

FL - County chair proposes eliminating beach driving tolls for Volusia residents

Volusia County Chair Jeff Brower is continuing his push to expand beach driving and has come up with an idea to eliminate tolls for drivers who live within the county.

"I will propose, for the Council's consideration, that locals merely show their license to the toll takers. If you live in Volusia you drive right through," Brower posted on Facebook. "No need for a complicated system. This is easy and fair."

The Volusia County Council will discuss the idea at Tuesday’s meeting.

County officials estimate beach pass sales will generate $6,781,279 in revenue this fiscal year.

The county raked in an average of $6.5 million from beach tolls in 2018 and 2019, but beach visits plummeted in spring 2020, when the county enforced a 44-day closure to vehicles to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier figures are available, but the data is muddied by a change in fee structure that went into effect in 2018.

Daily fees doubled in price from $10 to $20, leading many locals to instead spring for the marginally pricier annual passes. Annual passes cost $25 for residents and $100 for everyone else. Inlet access tacks on another $20 yearly.

The impact of a proposal like Brower's is difficult to quantify, as county officials don't collect data on the purchasers of daily passes, which account for the majority of revenue. Daily beach tolls brought in $3.1 million in 2020 and $4.6 million in 2019.

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