Lawmakers eye plan to move semis off I-35

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Lawmakers are considering a plan to move 18-wheelers off of Interstate 35. The new bill would give big rig drivers major discounts if they use the SH 130 toll road.

The House Transportation Committee on Thursday heard from local first responders who talked about the dangers of 18-wheelers on the interstate.

“Over the years, I’ve responded to several fatalities on I-35 involving tractor trailers,” said Tony Marquardt with the Austin-Travis County EMS Association. “They’re challenging from an access standpoint and a hazardous materials standpoint that can potentially present itself.”

Some people argue House Bill 594 would be a subsidy for a toll road. It would cost the Texas Department of Transportation $18.7 million a year in lost revenue.

Senators also heard how Austin has no planned route for 18-wheelers carrying hazardous materials. However, the city did say it is working on a plan and SH 130 is considered one of the options.

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