012619_toll 3

Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons, from left, and county commissioners Jerome Clark and Cap Fendig put in the last day of toll on the F.J. Torras Causeway September 23, 2003.

Cap Fendig helped lead the charge to eliminate the toll both to St. Simons Island in 2003 after the money collected to pay for the causeway was collected.

Fendig is now asking his fellow Glynn County commissioners to explore the possibility of another toll to St. Simons Island. The booth would be operated by the county, with an estimated $2 million to $3 million generated from the toll going directly into the county’s general fund.

“The county has the discretion to set rates,” he said.

Fendig said he researched the state law that allows local municipalities to install toll roads and collect the proceeds.

During a recent meeting, Fendig asked fellow commissioners permission to contact Chris Tomlinson, head of the state toll authority, to get more information.

“I was inquiring what we could do and our obligations,” he said.

At this time, Fendig said he is uncertain if the county can even set up a toll booth and collect a fee.

Fendig said if commissioners choose to collect a toll to the island, it would cost about $5 million to build the booth and technology needed to read license tags and sent motorists a bill they can pay online.

It will be nothing like the toll booth to Jekyll Island or the old one to St. Simons Island, he said. Instead it would be set up like the Peach Pass in the Atlanta area.

During a recent Zoom call to state officials to discuss a toll booth, Fendig said there was never any mention of any support required by the state delegation in the General Assembly to establish a toll to the island.

If a toll is collected, Fendig said he doubts if it would affect tourism to St. Simons. Instead, at least a portion of the money will be used on the island to pay for clean and safe parks, more trees and road improvements and enhance tourism.

There is still more research to help commissioners get a better understanding of the law, he said, and the pros and cons of collecting a toll.

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