The Texas Dept. of Transportation has a holiday gift for truckers using Texas 130 and Texas 45 Southeast in the form of considerable toll discounts.
Starting today and running through Jan. 4, large trucks will be subject to the same tolls as cars, a third of what truckers normally pay. Cars, depending on whether they are equipped with an electronic toll tag or not, pay between $6.44 and $8.53 to travel the 56-mi. eastern bypass.
TxDOT is using the discounted tolls to determine what permanent price breaks might mean to traffic on the toll roads and on Interstate 35 through Austin and Round Rock. Officials will look at the truck traffic numbers during this lower-price interval, TxDOT spokeswoman Karen Amacker told the Austin Statesman, then “we’ll have a better understanding of possible paths forward.”
Amacker said that though usage of toll roads has increased in the five years they have been open, it has put little dent in I-35 congestion or the number of big rigs that pass through the heart of the city. TxDOT is considering lowering truck tolls to the automobile rate, or eliminating tolls on big rigs entirely.
In March of this year the Texas Transportation Commission reduced tolls on trucks from four times a car toll to three times a car toll.
Figures released Friday by TxDOT showed only a slight uptick in October truck traffic on Texas 130 and Texas 45 Southeast this year when compared with last year.
TxDOT will post electronic message boards about the price break this week on the approaches to Texas 130 north of Georgetown and to Texas 45 Southeast near Buda, officials said, and publicize it directly to the trucking industry.