On Wednesday, the Baldwin County Bridge Company significantly hiked the tolls on its Beach Express bridge connecting Orange Beach to point north on the Foley Beach Express.
The fare increased from $2.75 to $5. For prepaid accounts, it rose 20 cents to $2.22. However, the rate for Orange Beach residents remained $1.
The hike came on the heels of an Alabama Supreme Court decision overturning a lower court's decision temporarily halting the construction of a new bridge between the Beach Express bridge and the long-existing WC Holmes Memorial Bridge, which carries Alabama Highway 59, the main thoroughfare to and from Gulf Shores.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show" on Wednesday, Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon said he had anticipated the toll bridge company's decision. However, he put the blame squarely on Gov. Kay Ivey and her administration.
"We all knew that was going to happen," he said. "John Cooper knew that was going to happen. They told us it was going to happen. And why would it not happen? If they now have an expiration date on their toll bridge, and that's the only way I know how to describe it. They are going to make as much money as they can between now and the time the state thinks is a price worth condemning."
"What bothers me is people are raising cane," Kennon continued. "Well, you know what? You need to be calling the Governor's office because they're the ones who walked away from our negotiated free toll for everybody in Baldwin County. That was a done deal. All the state had to do was sign on. They walked away from it to build their bridge, knowing that this toll was going to go through the roof probably for the next three years."
"Don't call me," he added. "Call the Governor."
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.