Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More toll road conversions in store for Arlington and Mansfield

Texas officials take step toward tolls on 170, 360


Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Copyright 2008

Environmental studies approved by the federal government years ago for future freeway extensions of Texas 170 near Alliance Airport and Texas 360 in Arlington and Mansfield will be updated so the projects can be built as toll roads.

The Texas Department of Transportation, which owns the rights of way and existing frontage roads for both projects, on Tuesday gave the North Texas Tollway Authority permission to conduct the environmental studies.

The roads have already passed environmental muster once, but federal law requires that the records be updated if a project is changed from a freeway to a toll road, a state official said.

The roads are among more than a dozen projects that the tollway authority intends to undertake in the coming years to improve mobility in the Metroplex.

The Transportation Department also asked the tollway authority to provide a timeline for conducting a market valuation of both roads. State law requires the two agencies to mutually agree on a valuation -- or dollar value -- before a road can be built as a toll project.

Why? In many cases, the tolls can be used to pay for not only the road in question, but also others in the region.

GORDON DICKSON, 817-685-3816

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