AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a continuing effort to reduce traffic on Interstate 35 through Austin, the Texas Department of Transportation is offering a bigger discount to 18-wheeler drivers who take State Highway 130 toll instead of I-35.
Phase 1 started in April and Phase 2 starts Nov. 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2017. The discount program is applicable from the I-35 exit in Georgetown to US 183 exit in Buda and State Highway 45SE.
Lawmakers worked to secure $18.7 million to implement the discount program, but it’s not clear if there will be funding available to extend the discount after August 2017.
“By incentivizing truck drivers to use SH 130 during peak hours, we hope to help ease some of the gridlock we see on I-35 through Austin,” said Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director James Bass. “Diverting these trucks will not only benefit the truck drivers, but also commuters on I-35 who will have less traffic to contend with while trying to reach their destinations.”
One trucker told KXAN, “Most of the time, a lot of the guys would love to go by Austin if the toll would be a little cheaper and move convenient for truck drivers.”
Trucks with a valid TxTag that travel on SH 130/SH 45SE will get to pay the standard 2-axle rate ($8.04), which will save them 67 percent. Phase 1 initially had 18-wheelers paying a discounted rate of $16. The hours where drivers can get a discount is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Toll rates on other Austin-area toll roads, including Loop 1, SH 45N, 183A Toll, 290 Toll and SH 130 (from Mustang Ridge to Seguin) are not affected by this program.