By fall, toll collection on the Venetian Causeway will convert to Sun Pass, and island residents will be turning in their C Pass transponders.
Miami-Dade County’s Causeway Division — which oversees tolls on the Venetian and Rickenbacker causeways — is making the change on the Rickenbacker first, said Michael Bauman, causeways division chief for Miami-Dade Public Works.
Bauman says his best guess is the Rickenbacker transition will happen in June or July, and the Venetian change-over will take place around October.
As residents of the Venetian islands know, if you live on the causeway, you can purchase a C Pass transponder and pay $24 a year to cross the Venetian Causeway. If you don’t live on the island, the annual fee is $90. Without a transponder, it costs $1.50 every time a car crosses the toll booth on the west end of Biscayne Island.
After the conversion to Sun Pass, Venetian residents will still pay the $24 annual fee. There is no increase in tolls planned.
C Pass owners must renew their pass each May, and this year will be no different. During the summer, the county will begin an informational campaign on the change to Sun Pass, Bauman said.
“You’ll renew as normal,” he said. “When we get closer, we’ll advise everyone with an active account about the changes.”
The county will hold meetings with causeway homeowner groups and also have representatives visit condos on Biscayne and Belle Isle to give residents the opportunity to turn in their C Pass transponders have their Sun Pass converted to work at the causeway toll booth.
After the transition, the county will continue to maintain one toll booth lane east and west for drivers paying cash, but the Sun Pass devices will work on all lanes.
It should enable smoother traffic flow, Bauman said, but the county still wants the toll plaza to serve as a “calming” influence to ensure the causeway doesn’t become a speedway.
It’s a road that has lots of bicycle and foot traffic, in addition to being completely residential.
“It’s important that we don’t turn it into a throughway,” Bauman said.
In addition to no longer needing two transponders, the new system will allow people to renew and pay their annual fee online, without having to mail in paper work to prove residency, Bauman said.