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For Whom the Road Tolls: Swap Out That Old SunPass by 2016

We've been hearing a lot about train travel lately, but much is happening that's relevant to road warriors who drive their own vehicles as well. To all SunPass drivers with the old battery-operated transponders, don't forget to get a new one before January 2016.

By December 31 of this year, the electronic toll equipment in the lanes that reads these transponders will be removed and the older transponders will no longer register transactions.

While it may seem like there's plenty of time, there won't be once the holidays come rolling in.

And if you don't have a new transponder by then, you're guaranteed to have to deal with more bureaucratic red tape. Save the red stuff for thoughts of cranberry sauce and beets at Thanksgiving.

About 100,000 of you are using SunPass' older models. These classic gadgets can be swapped at no cost for a a permanent sticker tag or a portable model that can be used in multiple vehicles. Because it has no batteries, the newer portable models are slimmer and don't beep when a toll is paid. While it may be annoying that you won't know if the transponder has worked in the toll without beeping, the transponder is supposed to last longer without the need for a battery. Go to the SunPass swap website for more information on making the switch happen.

While Florida apparently has 600 miles of toll roads, more than any other state, Federal Highway Administration data shows that we're 21st per capita in lane mileage for non-interstate freeway miles.

Tolls are not without their controversy. While The Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) celebrated its 100th anniversary in October of this year, the Miami Expressway Authority (MDX) has gotten backlash for decisions like spending $8,000 per palm tree to import from Arizona for landscaping on the Dolphin Expressway.

· Even Lexus drivers can't afford these tolls [Sun Sentinel]
· Old SunPass transponders won't work after Dec. 31 [Naples Daily News]
· Hoyt L. Prindle III: Florida's toll road obsession fails to serve transportation needs [TBO]