The yellow brick road from Milton to Gulf Breeze is in dire need of some traffic to drop green into the toll booths, but that is just the start of its problems.
Garcon Point Bridge, which operates as the Santa Rosa Bay Bridge Authority, is waiting with bated breath if Mellon Bank in New York will raise the toll from $3.75 to $4 or $4.25 in the near future.
"Right now that decision is made by the bank," said Morgan Lamb, chairman of the Authority. "They work with the traffic consultant and then recommend if we need to raise the toll to meet the revenue necessary."
As of 2011, the bridge had trouble making its semi-annual payment to the bank and basically went into default.
With the authority going into default with the bank, leaders like Rep. Doug Broxson stepped in to help get some necessary items for the authority to operate without fear of retribution.
Last December the bridge authority reorganized thanks to Broxson's efforts to figure out a way to pay off the bridge's $550 million debt.
In June of 2011 the bridge when into default when they could not make its $2.2-million dollar payment.
The bridge, which connects Milton to Gulf Breeze, was built in 1996 with $95-million in bonds.
Last year the bridge authority learned the bonds themselves would not have been paid off until 2089 as they were structured, but as of now nothing has been done to restructure the debt.
"We are kind of in a holding pattern" Lamb said. "We were given some commitments by the Bank of Mellon which they have not come through with like an operating budget."
While the bridge is operating it is accruing an unsecured debt to the Florida Department of Transportation, who will ultimately take over the bridge when it is paid off.
After the authority missed its payment, Mellon Bank took over paying the bills.
As the board reorganized itself, Rep. Broxson told everyone this would be a challenge and that patience was necessary.
“This is going to be a challenge,” Broxson said. “There are a lot of moving parts.”
When the bridge first opened the toll was $2 in 2001 and has since nearly doubled.
At $3.75 the bridge is the highest toll in the state.
While there have been concerns about the number of trips across the bridge, it does seem like the number of trips are increasing.
In September of this year there were 103,146 compared to just under 99,000 in September 2011.
The increases for August, July, June, May, April have also been similar as have the revenue.
So far in 2012 the bridge has generated $3.8-million dollars.
The bridge itself only saves drivers roughly three miles by using the bridge to get to Pensacola Beach, compared to the old way through Pensacola via Scenic Highway.