ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A war is brewing between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX). The CFX has fired the first shots over the bow after its board voted to end all discounts for high-volume toll users, and replace it with a Customer Loyalty Discount.
Board Chairman Welton Cadwell says they are rebating 5 percent more than the current program. "It'll be replaced by a larger discount, if you are using EPass."
"I certainly encourage them to get an EPass -- the SunPass customers that want to continue to do that, that is absolutely fine. But if you want to save money, and you live in Central Florida, and the majority of your trips are on Expressway roadways, then you need EPass, because you are going to save money."
Here's the problem, according to Cadwell: "The state would collect that money if you had a SunPass, take a large cut out of it, and then send us the difference."
The state is charging CFX more than CFX charges the Turnpike Authority, meaning CFX is handing over as much as $7 million a year to the state Turnpike Authority, and its higher agency, the FDOT.
Board Member and Seminole Commissioner Brenda Carey says that money then is gone. "That money that they are paying may go outside of our Central Florida area to do projects in Jacksonville or Tampa or Miami."
It's the perfect time to check and see whether you use EPass or SunPass, then make a decision on what is best for you. EPass is free, but it can be much more difficult to find. SunPass is readily available in retail stores like Publix. The CFX feels like they are getting the short end of the bargain since they charge less for collection than the state does, and 64 percent of users on their road system use SunPass, not EPass.
The CFX is also declining to merge collections with the state agency. Chairman Cadwell told FOX 35 it was a simple math equation for them. The state was repeatedly offering terms for the merger that would lose millions in revenue each year for the CFX. While EPass is not offered in retail stores, you can get one here.