Destin Chamber, County Commissioners oppose dissolving Mid-Bay Bridge Authority

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM.

Operators of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority are closely watching Senate Bill 1132 as it makes its way through the Florida Legislature.

"The portion we are concerned with that impacts the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority and Okaloosa County is sections 26 and 27," Mid-Bay Bridge Authority Executive Director Jim Vest told county leaders during their March 19 meeting.

A portion of the bill would create the Regional Toll Authority Act, while others would create separate three-county authorities that would be responsible for the maintenance and operation of toll systems throughout the state of Florida. Along the Panhandle, Bay, Okaloosa and Walton counties would be combined into the Okaloosa-Bay Regional Tollway Authority.

Given the movement of the bill, Vest has received support from the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce and the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners, who have both issued resolutions opposing sections 26 and 27 of SB1132.

Destin Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Shane Moody told The Log that this isn't the first time the chamber has issued a resolution of support for the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority, and it wouldn't be the last.

"We're opposed to any legislation that would dissolve the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority," he said. "If you look at the Destin area and south Okaloosa County, the only real positive road projects have been the Mid-Bay Bridge connector and bypass."

"They have also forged a great relationship with Eglin Air Force Base and that relationship is vital," he added.

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