Southern Connector switches to sticker tag style Palmetto Pass

GREENVILLE, SC – The Southern Connector is switching to a new “sticker tag” transponder in an effort to reduce the number of replacement transponders it issues and provide an environmentally responsible method for disposing of those transponders once they are taken out of service.

The new sticker tag Palmetto Pass replaces the long-used white hard case transponder box that allows users faster access at toll plazas along the Southern Connector, said Pete Femia, the road’s general manager.

One of the main reasons the hard case transponder will be replaced is the limited battery life of the hard case transponder, Femia said. The old transponder battery wore down after seven to eight years. The new sticker tag Palmetto Pass has no internal battery and will last much, much longer.

In addition, the sticker tags are much smaller and take up only a small space on the windshield of the vehicle he said. In the future, these sticker tags will make Palmetto Passes interoperable with toll roads in other states.

Femia said the vast majority of the hard-case Palmetto Passes have been replaced, but people who have not made the change yet can call 1-866-PALPASS (725-7277) or go to the Southern Connector’s main office located at the West Toll Plaza, 3050 Southern Connector, Piedmont, S.C. All new account holders will be issued sticker tags unless they also use the Cross Island Parkway in Hilton Head, S.C.

The Southern Connector was initially added to the State Transportation Improvement Plan in the 1960s to open southern Greenville County to industrial development. It was discussed for decades and considered vital for the economic growth of the county, but funding was never available.

The state Department of Transportation decided to address the issue in the 1990s while also looking at how to fund other long-term road projects including the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, the Conway Bypass near Myrtle Beach and the Bobby Jones Expressway in North Augusta. The DOT asked bidders to respond with creative ideas to build and pay for the road. A toll road idea was implemented.

The 16-mile Southern Connector was opened in 2001, eight and a half months ahead of schedule and under budget. The road was built with private money through a unique public-private partnership. No tax money was used for construction of the road, but the state owns the highway, while the Association has the right to collect and retain tolls under a license from the State through 2051.

The Southern Connector is an important asset for Upstate South Carolina. Upstate lawmakers have leveraged the Connector in the past decade as the local match to help pay for more than $406 million worth of roadway improvements including I-385 widening and building the roads at CU-ICAR.

Go to www.southernconnector.com for more information.

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