June 2012 was notable for Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority achievements: the demolition of the South Bridge, establishment of a detour bridge and continued free-flowing traffic on and off island.
But Gasparilla Island's attractions were no match for blustery and soggy Tropical Storm Debby, which drenched the island for five days and detoured tourists to indoor pursuits.
"No surprise, our GIBA traffic count dropped by about 4 percent in June due to Tropical Storm Debby, which lasted five days and wiped out a weekend," said Jim Cooper, GIBA executive director. "No one comes to the island, especially cash-paying weekend beach-going day trippers, when we are experiencing constant 25 to 40 mph winds and storm rains."
A trio of Orion Construction workers help guide the giant pipe being laid in preparation Tuesday for the new South Bridge with the aid of a chain guided by a giant crane, not shown.
GIBA's toll traffic loss on the storm days was about 2,700 vehicles, he said.
"But for the storm, GIBA should have been up by about 400 vehicles in June," Cooper said.
June traffic dropped off more than 14,000 vehicles compared with May and was down 2,319 vehicles from the same month a year ago.
What: GIBA Board meeting
When: 9:30 a.m. July 23
Where: GIBA admin building
Why: Bridge replacement project
Who: Open to the public
GASPARILLA ISLAND BRIDGE AUTHORITY
LIMITED AD VALOREM TAX AND BOND REFERENDUM
Island residents can approve or reject a .30 millage increase on the Nov. 6 ballot. Funds would help pay for the new bridges.
In addition to toll revenues, shall Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority levy an annual limited ad valorem tax not exceeding 0.30 mills to secure bonds, to be issued in one or more series in a principal amount not exceeding $48 million, bearing interest at not exceeding maximum legal rate, maturing not more than 30 years from issuance to finance/refinance costs of replacing existing fixed and swing bridges and roadway replacement?
Yes - For Bonds
No - Against Bonds
Not since 2003 have there been fewer vehicles paying tolls to access Gasparilla Island in June.
The 60,700 vehicles arriving in June was just the second monthly decrease in the past eight months.
Traffic always peaks in Gasparilla Island in March, which this year generated the second-most tolls in island history at 110,396 - just behind the all-time monthly high-vehicle mark of 110,963 in March 2007.