Traffic Inbox: Why is Osceola Parkway only partially tolled?

By Ryan Harper, Traffic Anchor
Last Updated: Monday, February 05, 2018, 2:04 PM EST

Philip Keller of Kissimmee wonders why the western seven miles of Osceola Parkway are not tolled.

  • Viewer asks why Osceola Parkway is not tolled all the way
  • It turns out Disney has a say on the matter

He writes:

"Why are there toll plazas at the Poinciana Exit on Osceola Parkway but then there are no toll plazas west of that area?"

Keller admits that driving on Osceola Parkway in the Kissimmee area will save you time.

"I work about three and a half, four miles away from here," said Keller. "Coming home at night, if I take 192 it can take about 20 to 25 minutes and it's all because of the traffic. Where, if I was able to take Osceola Parkway it would take me about 10 minutes."

However, he says it will not save you any money.

"I use 192 instead of taking Osceola to I-4 because I don't want to pay the toll," Keller said.

Osceola Parkway, also known as Osceola County Road 522, runs parallel to U.S. 192 and is currently a 15-plus mile road. It is partially tolled, with the last toll collected being an on-off ramp at Poinciana Boulevard and U.S. 192.

So why are the last seven plus miles to the west not tolled at all? It has to do with Walt Disney World.

Osceola County officials told me that back in the 1990s the county and Walt Disney World came to an agreement to finance the road together under certain conditions and one of those is that there cannot be a toll plaza collecting money within a certain number of miles from Disney property.

Now Osceola Parkway acts as a way to connect Disney property with both Interstate 4 and Florida's Turnpike in that area.

Keller says that may be why the tolls are so high. It is $1 to get on and off at Poinciana Boulevard and he wants the tolls to be more fair in the future.

"Lower the cost of the toll," said Keller. "Right now it's like 75 cents, a dollar each way. If they want to leave the toll the way it is, make it a little bit cheaper to make it easier for both the residents and the tourists that come here to get to and from I-4."

So, what's next?

It looks like a six-mile extension. Back in April, a feasibility study was conducted to eventually connect to meet the northern end and a potential segment to connect to State Road 417 as well.