Mortimer L. Downey, Deputy Director of the United States Department of Transportation to Speak at Lee County Variable Pricing Inauguration August 3, 1998

FORT MYERS , FL, July 20, 1998 --Lee County Commissioner John Albion confirmed today, that Mortimer Downey second in command of the United States Department of Transportation will be in Lee County for the August 3rd, Variable Pricing Inauguration ceremony. In a non-traditional and innovative move for a local county government, Lee County Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration, and the Florida Department of Transportation, will introduce Variable Pricing on two of the county's toll bridges at 9:00 a.m. during the inauguration ceremony. A Variable Pricing will be implemented in Lee County to manage traffic congestion and improve air quality in the face of one of the highest population growth rates in the country. Non-traditional, innovative strategies that make more efficient use of existing roadway facilities, such as Variable Pricing, need to be a part of the local, regional, state and federal long-term transportation solution,@ says Lee County Commissioner John Albion. The Variable Pricing Program, formerly called the Congestion Pricing Program, is one of four federally funded implementation grant projects to study ways to reduce congestion on the nation's roadways. These grants are funded by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). Recent legislation, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which builds on the groundbreaking work that was accomplished under ISTEA was signed by President Clinton on June 9, 1998. The intent of the Federal Government with ISTEA and TEA-21 is to study ways to use the existing roadways more efficiently, decreasing the demand to build expensive roadways throughout the country. At the same time, the reduction in demand for new roads, vehicle emissions, and fuel consumption brought about by this program will benefit the environment greatly. By varying the tolls during the Variable Pricing Discount times : 6:30 a.m. - 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and offering the toll reduction of 50%, the County provides an incentive to motorists so they will choose to travel at off-peak times, thereby reducing the number of vehicles using the toll facilities during the rush hours. This reduction in tolls is very unique. Usually, this type of program pricing involves price increases during peak hours. So, the Lee County motorists are really receiving a double bonus with the Variable Pricing Program. For more information on this program call the LeeWay Service Center at 941-533-9297, or check the Web site at