List of toll roads in Texas

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Toll roads
State Highway 1 markerState Highway CTP markerWestpark Tollway marker
Various toll road markers in use in Texas
Highway names
Interstates: Interstate Highway X (IH-X, I-X)
US Routes: U.S. Highway X (US X)
State: State Highway X (SH X)
Loops: Loop X
Spurs: Spur X
Recreational: Recreational Road X (RE X)
Farm or Ranch
to Market Roads:
Farm to Market Road X (FM X)
Ranch-to-Market Road X (RM X)
Park Roads: Park Road X (PR X)
System links

There are approximately 25 current toll roads in the state of Texas.[1] Toll roads are more common in Texas than in many other U.S. states, since the relatively low revenues from the state's gasoline tax limits highway planners' means to fund the construction and operation of highways.[citation needed]

Background[edit]

Toll roads, sometimes are seen as a recent addition to travel options for commuters. However, this is not the case. In fact the need for, use of, and discussion of toll roads can be traced back to 1939. According to Richard Weingroff at the Federal Highway Administration:

In the 1939 report to Congress, Toll Roads and Free Roads, the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) rejected the toll option for financing Interstate construction because most Interstate corridors would not generate enough toll revenue to retire the bonds that would be issued to finance them. In part, the report attributed this conclusion to "the traffic-repelling tendency of the proposed toll-road system." Although some corridors had enough traffic to support bond financing, the report predicted that motorists would stay on the parallel toll-free roads to a large extent. That conclusion was called into question when the first segment of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, from Carlisle to Irwin, opened on October 1, 1940. It was an instant financial success. Following World War II, the turnpike's continued success prompted other States to use the same financing method. Each State established a toll authority to issue bonds. Revenue from the bonds provided the funds, up front, to pay for construction. Toll revenue allowed the toll authority to repay bond holders with interest and finance administration, maintenance, and operation of the highway.[2]

The use of this toll system is related to the state of Texas as one might infer. For the state of Texas, and more specifically Central Texas has seen a significant growth in recent years. The United States Census Bureau reports that in 2010 Texas had a population just over 25 million citizens.[3] It is estimated that the population grew over five percent in just three years to nearly 26.5 million people. This growth is great for the state of Texas, but has exposed an area of concern. This area of concern is the infrastructure; specifically the lack of thoroughfares that can effectively move the increased vehicle traffic. An answer that that has been provided to address this concern is the implementation of toll roads. While not a recent phenomena toll road construction is more prevalent now than in recent years.[citation needed]

The toll roads in Central Texas are governed through the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), which is stated to be the creating agency for transportation models to keep up with todays population growth. to promote future road construction which is to alleviate traffic issues within Travis and Williamson Counties[4] Texas is one of few states that has allowed private toll roads.

The idea that toll roads should be privatized, is an idea that stemmed from European models that are evident in Spain, Italy, and England. The European model is called a, BOT or build operate transfer; which is simply a public–private ownership of a roadway (toll road). The idea of a BOT is that a private company will fund, design and construct the planned toll roads and will operate them at the beginning of a project until their contract is fulfilled with a government, in which at the end of the contract the toll road will go under the ownership of...[such] government.[5] Despite the fact for which the CTRMA stands for or wishes to promote, there are many opposers to the expansion of toll roads within Central Texas.

Opinions[edit]

A pro belief for toll roads mentioned in The Texas Tribune was, "that tolls: are "vital" to the state's future mobility planning as Texas tries to close the gap on road funding shortfall.[6] The article explains how the gas tax (38.4 cents per gallon of gas) hasn't been increased since 1993 and costs of building roadways has increased throughout time supporting the construction of toll roads.[6]

A con to one of the Central Texas toll projects is that the company that runs the SH 130 toll road has been said by Moody's business rating to have the possibility of defaulting on its debt in 2014 therefore Moody's lowered the business rating to B1.[7] A B1 classification "indicates that the business is pretty risky to lend money to".[8] The sponsors of the toll road are Zachary (a San Antonio, Texas based company), which sponsored 65%, and Cintra (a company based out of Spain) that sponsored 35%. The lenders to the project: TIFIA program under the Federal Highway Administration which contributed $475 million, and several other banks that funded $686 million.[6][7]

Despite the fact that the partner companies (Cintra and Zachary) are defaulting on debt, the chairman for the SH 130 (130 Toll) Concession Company reiterated that in time the project would, "prove a wise investment as drivers look for an alternative to Interstate 35."[6] Even though traffic volume has been low on SH130 Krier (Chairman for the SH 130 Concession Company) went on to state that the company, "...is pretty confident that in the long term, this is going to be a huge transportation asset for the region."[6]

TxDOT is in favor of the toll roads, claiming that it simply does not have the funds to provide the anticipated service requirements of the Texas populace.[9] Phil Russell, director of TxDOT's Texas Turnpike Authority Division, said in a statement, “We simply can’t continue to rely on the gas tax as our sole source of highway funding. In fact, projections are that the state gas tax would need to be raised 600 percent to meet our transportation needs over the next 25 years. Texans tell us that they want relief from traffic congestion now, not later. Toll roads allow us to build roads sooner.” [10]

Moratorium[edit]

Due to the enduring controversy over the future of Texas toll roads, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a moratorium on all new toll roads in Texas in 2007. The moratorium effectively banned all new proposals for toll roads for two years, until 2009. However, this moratorium was deemed the "Swiss cheese moratorium," as it had a multitude of exemptions placed in it.[11] Specifically, the exemptions allowed almost all the projects in the North Texas/Dallas regions to go forward. The primary concern leading to the moratorium was that the state was hurting taxpayers in the long run by deviating from its tollway authority model and contracting out roads entirely to private companies. Many legislators saw this as problematic, as the primary function of these toll roads would not be to serve the public but to serve as an instrument of profit for private corporations. These companies could raise tolls to whatever the market could bear with little or virtually no public input, and the tolls would continue long after the construction costs were paid for.

Operating agencies[edit]

State-operated toll roads[edit]

Interchange betwen Interstate 35 and State Highway 45

The Toll Operations Division of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) operates the Central Texas Turnpike System (CTTS) as well as other toll roads around the state. TxDOT established the Grand Parkway Transportation Corporation for the purpose of developing the Grand Parkway toll project, a portion of which is now open.

Regionally-operated toll roads[edit]

Regional tollway authorities are political subdivisions of the state established by two or more counties. The North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) operates all toll roads in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex.

County toll road authorities[edit]

County toll road authorities (TRAs) are established by single counties. A county toll road authority is a division of the county in which it is established.

Authority Creation date Notes
Brazoria County Toll Road Authority (BCTRA) 2003 Does not yet operate any toll roads
Collin County Toll Road Authority (CCTRA) 2010 Does not yet operate any toll roads
Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority (FBCTRA) 2000
Fort Bend Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority (FBGPTRA) 2009 Branch of the FBCTRA; created to take over a major two-thirds portion of Segment D of SH 99 (Grand Parkway), located in Fort Bend County, from TxDOT;[12] TxDOT retains operation of the remaining, minor, portion of Segment D located in Fort Bend County.
Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) 1983
Montgomery County Toll Road Authority (MCTRA) 2005 Does not yet operate any toll roads

Regional mobility authorities[edit]

In 2001 the State Legislature authorized the creation of the regional mobility authorities (RMAs). These authorities are designed as a means for individual or multiple counties to build, operate, and maintain local toll roads or other transportation projects. These authorities are authorized to issue bonds as well as designate local revenue sources to pay for the initial costs of the projects. The primary purpose for creating the RMAs was to reduce the time and bureaucratic "red tape" in the toll road building process.


Name Creation date Counties of operation [13]
Alamo Regional Mobility Authority ARMA 2003 Bexar
Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority CCRMA 2004 Cameron
Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority CRRMA 2006 El Paso
Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority CTRMA 2003 Travis and Williamson
Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority GCRMA 2004 Grayson
Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority HCRMA 2005 Hidalgo
North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority NETRMA 2004 Bowie, Cass, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood
Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority SURRMA 2012 Delta, Hunt and Lemar
Webb County–City of Laredo Regional Mobility Authority WCCL-RMA 2014 Webb
Name Creation date Counties of operation [13]

Airport toll roads[edit]

The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport operates International Parkway as a toll road.

Privately managed toll roads[edit]

Sections 5 and 6 of State Highway 130 extend from SH 45 to I-10. The highway is owned by the State of Texas and is operated by the SH 130 Concession Company.

Motor assistance programs[edit]

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has provided a program to assist disabled drivers. The HERO Program, is a combined effort of "the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, operates the Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) Program—a free roadside assistance program that provides aid to stranded motorists, minimizes traffic congestion and improves highway safety along Interstate 35 in Central Texas... The program is being paid for through a combination of federal and state funds, and it costs roughly $2.3 million a year to provide the service."[14] The Houston area has a similar Motor Assistance Program (M.A.P.) operated by a partnership with Houston's METRO, Texas Department of Transportation, Harris County Sheriff's Department, Houston Automobile Dealers Association, Verizon Wireless and Houston TranStar[15][16]

Operational costs[edit]

The cost of operating and maintaining the roads ways used by commuters is quite costly. Yet, these cost are often not considered when the need for a road strikes the public's mind. To this end (financing), tolls collected help the end be reached. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is charged with the management and construction of toll ways of toll ways in central Texas. According to the CTRMA's Financial/Investor Information information page, "The Mobility Authority uses innovative financial strategies to expedite the funding of needed transportation projects. Our nationally recognized, award-winning approach is using a mix of toll revenue bonds, government loans, toll equity grants, right-of-way donations and other funding sources to develop a transportation network that will help address the region's growing congestion problems."[17] Detailed earnings and investment statements are available for each road under the CTRMA's authority. Use of funds generated by the commuters in central Texas are explained here, as well. One use/benefit of the toll system is the HERO Program.

List[edit]

Number Length (mi) Length (km) Southern or western terminus Northern or eastern terminus Formed Removed Notes
Loop 1 Toll 3 5 Parmer Lane in Austin SH 45 (toll) in Austin Operated by CTTP; continues southward as a non-tolled freeway
SH 45 Toll 0 0 Operated by CTTP
Loop 49 Toll 0 0 Operated by NETRMA
SH 99 Toll 0 0 Operated by multiple agencies; TxDOT operates a small portion of Segment D in Fort Bend County from Fort Bend Westpark Tollway / FM 1093 northwards to US 290 and Segment I-2 located in Chambers County; FBGPTRA operates the major portion of Segment D in Fort Bend County from Fort Bend Westpark Tollway / FM 1093 southward to I-69 / US 59
SH 130 Toll 0 0 Owned by CTTP; managed by the State Highway 130 Concession Company, LLC.
183A Toll Road 10.7 17.2 US 183/SH 45 (toll)/RM 620 in Cedar Park US 183 in Leander 2007 current Operated by CTRMA
SH 242 Toll 0.14 0.23 0.1 miles (0.16 km) west I-45 0.1 miles (0.16 km) south of SH 242 proposed Under construction; one-way direct connector exit ramp from I-45 northbound onto SH 242 westbound; Projected opening in 2015; Being built by MCTP and will be operated by MCTRA
SH 242 Toll 0.14 0.23 0.1 miles (0.16 km) south of SH 242 0.1 miles (0.16 km) east of I-45 proposed Under construction; one-way direct connector entrance ramp from SH 242 westbound onto I-45 southbound; projected opening in 2015; being built by MCTP and will be operated by MCTRA
SH 255 Toll 0 0 Operated by TxDOT
SH 289 Toll 0 0 Operated by TxDOT
290 Toll Road 0 0 toll road portion in the Austin area is operated by CTRMA
SH 550 Toll 0 0 Operated by CCRMA
Addison Airport Toll Tunnel 0.303 0.488 Dallas North Tollway I-35E Operated by NTTA
Chisholm Trail Parkway 0 0 Operated by NTTA
Dallas North Tollway 0 0 Operated by NTTA
Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road 0 0 Operated by FBCTRA
Fort Bend Tollway 0 0 Operated by HCTRA
Fort Bend Westpark Tollway 0 0 Operated by FBCTRA
Hardy Toll Road 0 0 Operated by HCTRA
International Parkway 0 0 Operated by DFWIA
Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge 0 0 Operated by NTTA
I-10 Toll (Katy Tollway) 0 0 Operated by HCTRA
Mountain Creek Lake Bridge 0 0 Operated by NTTA
President George Bush Turnpike 0 0 Operated by NTTA
Sam Houston Tollway 0 0 Operated by HCTRA
Sam Rayburn Tollway 0 0 Operated by NTTA
Westpark Tollway 0 0 Operated by HCTRA
  •       Future

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Batheja, Aman (July 4, 2014). "As Perry Exits, Texas GOP Shifting Away from Toll Roads". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ Weingroff, Richard. "Ask the Rambler: Why Does the Interstate System Include Toll Facilities?". Highway History. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ "State & County QuickFacts: Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ "About the Mobility Authority". Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ Poole, Robert. "How Private Toll Roads Work". LexisNexis Academic. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Batheja, Aman. "State Invites More Toll Roads Amid Signs of Resistance". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "SH 130 Sponsors Plan Contingent Equity Draw". LexisNexis Academic. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Rating Definitions". Moody's. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ "TxDOT Running Out of Cash for New Roads". Dallas Morning News. [full citation needed]
  10. ^ Texas Tollways[dead link]
  11. ^ "Perry Signs Legislation to Halt Private Toll Roads". Dallas Morning News. [full citation needed]
  12. ^ Sturdivant, Robert Ed (February 29, 2012) (PDF). Fort Bend Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority Financial Report for the Year Ended September 30, 2011 (Report). Fort Bend Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority. http://www.guidrynews.com/12March/08712FBParkwayAudit.pdf. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  13. ^ a b TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - REGIONAL MOBILITY AUTHORITIES - A PARTNERSHIP FOR PROGRESS (p.4)
  14. ^ "HERO Program". Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Motorist Assistance Program (M.A.P.)". Metropolitan Transit Authority. Retrieved December 13, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Motorist Assistance Program". Houston TranStar. Retrieved December 13, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Financial/Investor Information". Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]