DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — The Destin Youth Council, made up of Destin High School students and area teenagers, is working to get a toll discount for students using the Mid-Bay Bridge.
The youth council said 18 students in Destin attend Niceville High School and 24 students in Niceville attend the Destin High School Charter campus. Each student of driving age uses the Mid-Bay Bridge for daily travel.
“A Destin Youth Council member and a Destin resident spends an average of $90 a week traveling to Niceville as a dual-enrollment student and a member of the cheerleading squad,” states the proposed resolution. “Another Destin Youth Council member and Destin resident spends an average of $45 a week to travel to Niceville as he is enrolled at the Collegiate High School at the Northwest Florida State College.”
The youth council is urging the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority to make changes to toll fees for eligible students.
- Reducing the cash transaction rate without SunPass from $4.00 to $3.00 for high school students
- Reducing the SunPass discount rate from $3.00 to $2.50 for high school students
- Reducing the monthly transaction threshold for frequent users from 35 to as low as 20 trips per month for high school students with SunPass to qualify for the frequent user discount rate of $2.00
Hundreds of students not attending either Niceville or Destin High School also use Mid-Bay Bridge for extracurricular activities such as sporting events making daily toll payments an added budget item for local families with driving teenagers.
“Having to cross the bridge daily costs a great sum of money creating a financial hardship to families especially those with high school students involved in athletic and various other activities,” states the proposed resolution.
The Destin City Council unanimously approved to support the proposed resolution at the March 20 meeting.
In a petition for change, the youth council has gained 321 signatures in support of the toll reductions.
The youth council will now take the petition and resolution to the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority for consideration.
The youth council said if approved, stickers for student vehicles will be distributed from the eligible schools.
Destin Councilman Jim Bagby urged the young leaders to reach out to State Representative Pat Maney and the Destin Harbor Fleet for extra assistance in gaining a toll bridge discount for locals.