Monday, February 28, 2011

TxDOT's pig in a poke goes to market: "Not enough drivers, pointedly truckers, are using the SH 130 toll road to bypass Austin."

State to pursue marketing of 130 toll road


KLBJ Radio
Copyright 2011

The state group overseeing the Texas Department of Transportation generally seems to agree with most people in the Austin area that not enough drivers, pointedly truckers, are using the SH 130 toll road to bypass Austin.

Toll rates for trucks will be cut 25%, or by about $7, starting tomorrow morning. "It would become effective on March 1. This does not end our efforts to bring more trucks to the toll system," Central Texas Turnpike System Director Mark Tomlinson says.

But that is not quite enough for Transportation Commissioner William Meadows. "We do have a goal of making sure that this facility parallel to Interstate 35 does function the way it was intended to, which is to act as a traffic reliever," Meadows says. He believes there needs to be more done to entice drivers on the long haul into using the toll road and bypassing the thick traffic of downtown Austin. "A marketing strategy that would again result in us being able to meet the demand which is us being able to shift traffic to that facility," he said.

Tomlinson says he and his staff are working on a solution.

"Meeting with the trucking industry and individual trucking companies to ask for their input about other incentives, other changes in the way we manage toll roads that might bring future truck traffic," Tomlinson says.

Considered as part of those marketing efforts are suspended tolls on the 130 and 45 toll roads east of I-35, in addition to the reduction in truckers' tolls and additional signs to be posted on I-35 to remind drivers the toll roads are there.

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