Texas DOT set to lower truck tolls to help reduce congestion

Updated Apr 6, 2016
Interstate 35 through East Austin, Texas.Interstate 35 through East Austin, Texas.

The Texas Transportation Commission has approved a measure that would reduce truck tolls in certain areas in an effort to move trucks off of higher volume roadways to ease congestion.

The thinking is that trucks have been opting for certain roads in an effort to avoid paying tolls, and thereby exacerbating congestion issues on other roadways.

The discounted tolls will be for SH 130 from the I-35 exit in Georgetown to the U.S. 183 exit in Buda and for SH 45 SE. The savings range from 33 percent to 75 percent and are part of the Truck Toll Discount Program approved by the Texas legislature.

A total of $18.7 million has been provided over two years (subject to availability) to provide the discount.

“By getting some of these big rigs to use SH 130, during peak hours, we will help ease some of the gridlock we see on I-35 through Austin,” says Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Executive Director James Bass. “This will get drivers to their destinations quicker by saving them time that otherwise would be spent in traffic.”

The program is offered in two phases, with the first running April 18 – Oct. 31, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Trucks with four axles or more receive a 33 percent discount on SH 130/SH 455 SE between Georgetown and Buda.

The second phase will run Nov. 1 – Aug. 31, 2017, with trucks getting savings between 33 percent 75 percent on the same routes.

“While this item is not a silver bullet, it is one more tool to increase mobility in our urban core,” says Rep. Celia Israel. “While we in the legislature have been wringing our hands over congestion and safety, we have done little to provide immediate relief. Funding a program to reduce the tolls on the TxDOT portions of SH130 and SH 45 SE for truck traffic represents a concrete action to improve congestion without actually requiring more concrete.”

In another effort to reduction congestion, TxDOT recently launched the website TexasClearLanes.com as a way to keep motorists updated on the agency’s efforts to ease traffic congestion. It offers details on major road projects and ways motorists can help to reduce congestion.