TxDOT works to bring toll discounts back to truckers on SH 130

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Interstate 35 is a major artery in our city, but is often clogged with traffic. The Texas Department of Transportation says it has a solution.

The department again wants to lower tolls for big rigs on the SH 130 toll road, hoping to push truckers off the interstate. The stretch of I-35 that runs through downtown from U.S. 183 down to SH 71 is the most congested stretch of roadway in Texas, according to TxDOT.

During a pilot program in 2013, the number of trucks on SH 130 rose 44 percent. But the program ended when the funds dried up.

Without the toll discount, truck drivers like Clifford Williams can’t foot the bill.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Toll Road Troubles

  • The company that operates the SH 130 toll road is still trying to fight its way out of a big financial hole.
  • Last month, Moody’s Investors Services announced it considers the toll road project ‘in default’ for failing to make is full debt payment for June.
  • KXAN reported in June that the SH 130 Concession Company was $1 billion in debt but only had a little more than $3 million in cash on hand.

“I have taken it on occasion when traffic gets extremely backed up, which is usually each and every day,” he said. “But I cannot afford, at that price, to take it three times a week.”

Williams says if he could utilize the toll road more it would mean more productivity and would like to see the program come back.

“It would save me approximately one to two hours depending on the day, week or event going on in Austin.”

If approved by the Texas Legislature the truck toll discount program would cost $20 million per year. It would most likely start in September 2015.

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