Tropical Storm Isaac is the kind of storm Gasparilla Island will take every time.
Expected to drench Southwest Florida as it developed into a hurricane, TS Isaac peeled off before hitting Gasparilla Island directly.
The island still absorbed roughly 4 inches of rain and a three-day loss of tourism but Isaac's aftereffects were otherwise relatively benign in a month where beachgoers flock to the island's five beaches.
The South Bridge pilings await the bridge load they will be carrying.
"Surprisingly, even though our traffic was deeply reduced by about 5,000 vehicles during the three days of Tropical Storm Isaac exposure, the monthly GIBA traffic count came back strong and we ended up with a plus-3 percent versus the same period last year for August," said Jim Cooper, Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority executive director.
GIBA traffic counts have never been more important to islanders as paid tolls are so far the primary source of revenue to pay for the $40 million bridge project.
Paid August traffic tolls failed to crack the Top 10 list for the month, according to GIBA, but did surpass those posted in August 2011. The 48,343 paid August tolls, were an increase of 1,387 over the same month a year ago when 46,956 vehicles arrived on Gasparilla Island.
What: GIBA workshop
When: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30
Where: Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium
Why: Swing Bridge
Who: Open to the public
What: GIBA Board meeting
When: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 2
Where: Boca Grande Community Center Woman's Club Room
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
The year-over-year August increase was the sixth such monthly traffic expansion in the first eight months of 2012. The 607,830 vehicles to pay GIBA tolls through August are 11,446 or 2 percent more than the 596,384 to come to the island over the first eight months of 2011.
Looking down the road, Gasparilla Island traffic tends to bottom out with its slowest month in September before picking up each month in the fourth quarter.