During the busiest January since 2009, the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority collected 82,490 tolls.
It was the most paid tolls in the opening month of the year since 85,015 crossed the bridges in 2009.
It was only the fifth time January tolls topped 80,000 vehicles. The record for January is 85,603 in 2007.
GIBA reported January tolls were up 4 percent and 2,83 vehicles from 79,637 in the same month a year ago.
January traffic also jumped 14,252 tolls and 21 percent over the 68,238 arrivals in November. It was the largest month-over-month January increase since 2004.
"It's our first snowbird month," said Jim Cooper, executive director of the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority.
The January increase follows an up-and-down 2012, which included five monthly traffic declines and seven increases.
January traffic was No. 4 all time for the month trailing only the historic high point of 2007-09 when the opening month of the year never brought fewer than 84,763 vehicles.
Gasparilla Island paid tolls usually rise every month from January through the apex in March, which has attracted more than 100,000 vehicles nine years in a row.
The year 2012 closed out with an annual total increase 1.4 percent and 11,609 more vehicles than 2011 or about 967 per month more on average.
The all-time annual record of 904,766 was set six years ago in 2007.
Traffic has remained steady despite two $1 toll increases the past 16 months equaling 50 percent of the $4 toll before the boosts.
Traffic stability is more important after voters rejected a proposed property tax increase Nov. 6, 2012, and tolls became the only established revenue stream to pay for the estimated $31.9 million bridge project.
Bonds and a State Infrastructure Bank loan could be added to the financing mix in the coming months. The SIB loan was expected to come through three months ago but Gov. Rick Scott has been slow to grant approval.