Traffic and revenues remained aloft in May, which boasted the third-most paid traffic tolls for the month in Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority records.
Jim Cooper, GIBA executive director, credited the attraction of the first Tarpon Festival weekend May 17-20 for the surge in island vehicles.
"The newly organized and highly successful four-day tarpon tournament and art show appears to have helped GIBA in its first year by adding about 1,200 additional toll vehicles and producing about $6,000 in additional GIBA toll revenues," Cooper said.
Gasparilla Island motorists have had to run a gauntlet of construction equipment while trees were removed, pilings driven and the way was cleared for the temporary detour on the South Bridge to open Friday. Traffic delays, however, have been minimal.
May toll revenue increased 3 percent increase over May 2011 with a 2 percent increase in traffic.
"More vehicles equals more revenue," Cooper said.
Through May, the eighth month of GIBA's fiscal year, more than 13,000 vehicles arrived on island compared with the same time during fiscal year 2011.
What: GIBA Board meeting
When: 9:30 a.m. July 23
Where: GIBA admin building
Why: Bridge replacement project
Who: Open to the public
GASPARILLA ISLAND BRIDGE AUTHORITY
LIMITED AD VALOREM TAX AND BOND REFERENDUM
Island residents can approve or reject a .30 millage increase on the Nov. 6 ballot. Funds would help pay for the new bridges.
In addition to toll revenues, shall Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority levy an annual limited ad valorem tax not exceeding 0.30 mills to secure bonds, to be issued in one or more series in a principal amount not exceeding $48 million, bearing interest at not exceeding maximum legal rate, maturing not more than 30 years from issuance to finance/refinance costs of replacing existing fixed and swing bridges and roadway replacement?
Yes - For Bonds
No - Against Bonds
The 74,793 vehicles arriving in May provided the sixth increase in the past seven months. May traffic was up 1,431 paid tolls or 2 percent over the 73,361 vehicles in May 2011.
Traffic always peaks in Gasparilla Island in March, which this year generated the second-most tolls in island history at 110,396 - just behind the all-time monthly high-vehicle mark of 110,963 in March 2007.
The May traffic count was down 13,384 tolls or 15 percent from April, which is normal as the island empties of part-time residents during the summer season.
GIBA toll plaza traffic is still up 2.5 percent compared with 2011 through May. The toll will go up $1 with a 20 percent bump Oct. 1 to $6.