Truckers driving on SH 130 in Texas from Georgetown to U.S. 183 and SH 45SE will be receiving some financial reprieve. Toll rates are being decreased by up to two-thirds of the current rate starting April 18.
On March 31, the state legislature passed the Truck Toll Discount Program in an effort to relieve congestion on Interstate 35. Discounts will occur in two phases. Phase 1 will run from April through Oct. 31 and include a 33 percent discount. Truckers with a TxTag will pay $16.08 rather than $24.12. Pay-By-Mail (PBM) drivers will pay $21.41, down from $32.07.
From Nov. 1 through Aug. 31, 2017, a savings of 67 percent will be issued to TxTag users only. Those with the tag will pay only $8.04. However, PBM drivers will still pay the $21.41 rate from Phase 1.
Discounts are being offered after the state legislature approved to provide $18.7 million over two years for reduced tolls on large trucks. Only SH 130 and SH 45SE are affected by the discount approval. All other toll roads near Austin will continue to operate at their normal rates.
“By getting some of these big rigs to use SH 130, during peak hours, we will help ease some of the gridlock we see on I-35 through Austin,” said Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director James Bass in a press release. “This will get drivers to their destinations quicker by saving them time that otherwise would be spent in traffic.”
But will truckers take advantage of the discount?
OOIDA Member Sean O’Rourke told Land Line when he plans to use SH 130.
“Never,” O’Rourke said. “I’m not driving on a toll road if there’s another route that’s free.”
O’Rourke acknowledged that truckers driving through the area more frequently may find a use for the discounted SH 130, but the company he drives for avoids tolls whenever possible. In some cases, O’Rourke will drive on a toll road if the route is quicker and time is an issue. Otherwise, he finds driving on alternate routes that are toll-free to be more cost efficient.
This is not the first or second time truckers have received a discount on SH 130. According to TxDOT spokesperson Mark Cross, trucker incentives were placed Dec. 21, 2011, to Jan. 25, 2012; Feb. 4, 2013, to March 3, 2013, and; April 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2013. During the last discount, truck toll transactions increased more than 36 percent, according to TxDOT.
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