Three-quarters of the way into 2012, the Gasparilla Island traffic totals remain encouragingly resilient.
Two tropical storms and some untimely weekend rains have failed to dampen island beach and fishing popularity, according to Jim Cooper, Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority executive director.
"GIBA September traffic count was down slightly at minus-396 vehicles due to rainy weather experienced over two weekends," said Cooper.
Jim Cooper, Gasparilla Island Bridge authority executive director, has been pleased with the progress Orion Marine Construction workers have made on the $40 million bridge project, including work on the Center Bridge, background.
Gasparilla Island traffic remains 11,066 vehicles and 1.7 percent above the first three quarters last year.
GIBA traffic counts have never been more important to islanders as paid tolls are so far the primary source of revenue to pay for the $40 million bridge project. Gasparilla Island voters will vote Nov. 6 on possibly increasing property taxes .30 mils to ease the reliance on toll revenues for rebuilding the three island bridges.
Paid September traffic tolls just made the Top 10 list for the month, according to GIBA. The 45,549 paid September tolls were the No. 10 all-time mark for thee month coming in well behind the all-time record of 50,393 in 2007.
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
What: GIBA workshop
When: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30
Where: Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium
Why: Swing Bridge
Who: Open to the public
What: GIBA Board meeting
When: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 2
Where: Boca Grande Community Center Woman's Club Room
Why: Bridge replacement project
Who: Open to the public
The year-over-year September decrease was only the third monthly traffic contraction in the first nine months of 2012.
A total of 641,936 vehicles paid GIBA tolls through nine months.
More paid tolls can be expected in the fourth quarter. Gasparilla Island traffic tends to bottom out with its slowest month in September before picking up each month in the fourth quarter.
If GIBA traffic stays the same as last year over the next quarter, it would work out to about an 850,000 vehicle count for the year, which would represent an 11,000-vehicle improvement over the past two years.