A Toll Road Being Proposed For One Of America’s Greatest Scenic Drives
A Monroe County resolution is being brought up at a board meeting on June 21 to explore the possibility of charging people to drive US 1 through the Keys. Monroe County is where the Keys are located with Key West being the county seat.
Commissioner Heather Carruthers is leading the charge for “the exploration of a toll into the Florida Keys for non-residents to offset tourist impact, protection and improvement of water quality, and to support infrastructure investment to mitigate against rising sea level.”
The resolution states that “Monroe County and the Florida Keys is an extremely popular tourist destination with approximately 80 percent of visitors entering” on U.S. “The percent of those driving into the Florida Keys with a personal vehicle has increased by 12.8 percent from from 2015 to 2016.”
The county “believes tourists can contribute to preserving the destination by alleviating the negative impacts of the vibrant tourist-based economy.”
The county actually passed a similar resolution in 2010, but it had no effect and the road remained free, as it is today.
The Overseas Highway is the road linking Miami to the Keys and down to Key West. It’s a legendary road, full of bars, restaurants and other diversions. There’s so much along the highway that one entertaining thing to do is zig zag your way down to Key West, stopping for conch fritters, Cuban coffee, key lime pie, unique creations like a lobster reuben sandwich and rum runners.
For much of the drive, there is water visible on both sides of the highway and the road’s most famous stretch is the Seven Mile Bridge.
The road can get very crowded with tourists, especially from South Florida residents who drive down to the Keys and Key West on weekends.
Check out PubClub’s mile marker-by-mile marker guide to the Overseas Highway.