City officials in the suburban area north of Dallas are
questioning TxDOT about toll rates and congestion associated with a proposed extension
of State Highway 121.
City Manager George Purefoy of Frisco, TX, wrote to the
Texas Department of Transportation earlier this month questioning why truckers
may be asked to pay 173 percent more for tolls on the proposed road than they
do on other regional toll roads. HE also asked about possible congestion
problems caused by drivers avoiding the toll road.
"(The rates) will not only drive the lower income drivers
off of the toll road, but the large vehicles as well," Purefoy wrote in the
The state Highway 121 extension has been proposed as a
26-mile toll road running through parts of Denton and Collin counties. The
section through Frisco will be about eight miles long.
TxDOT has been negotiating with Cintra of Spain - one of the
two principal investors in the Indiana Toll Road and Chicago Skyway - as the
builder and operator for state Highway 121.
Cintra has agreed to pay $2.1 billion up front for the right
to collect tolls on Highway 121 for 50 years - and that means setting a toll
rate. Exact terms and rates have not been finalized.
Area tolls previously estimated by the North Texas Toll
Authority at $1.10 for trucks using the cash lanes could become $3 tolls under
Cintra's operation, Purefoy wrote.
Drivers using a TxTag, which requires a pre-paid account for
tolls, could see tolls of $2.25 instead of an estimated 85 cents.
The Frisco City Council had previously withdrawn its support
for a tolled extension of state Highway 121 after TxDOT set its sights on
attracting private investors.
"There have been a large number of public comments made to
the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the Texas Department of
Transportation, and to private consultants overwhelmingly against the proposed
SH 121 toll road project since 2004," Purefoy stated.