GARCON BRIDGE SHIFT APPROVED — Steve Taylor
Governor Ron DeSantis last Thursday signed a bill that would clear the way for moving Northwest Florida’s Garcon Point Bridge into the state turnpike system. The Santa Rosa County Bridge was the subject of a long-running legal fight between bondholders and the state because the bridge did not generate enough toll revenue. The Florida Department of Transportation last year agreed to pay $134 million to take control of the bridge and to end the litigation. The Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Authority, which was created by the Legislature in 1992, issued bonds in 1996 to build the bridge over part of Pensacola Bay. The lack of toll revenue to fully pay bondholders was complicated by the fact that the authority effectively became defunct in 2014. The bill formally transfers authority over the bridge to the Department of Transportation and repeals the Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Authority. It also gives the department the power to transfer the bridge to the turnpike system.