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Texas Transportation Agencies Trying to Get Trucks on Toll Road SH 130
Every day Central Texans see more congestion and a slowing of traffic on I-35 -- and part of that is attributed to the amount of big rigs on the interstate.
There have been several solutions presented, including a possible freight shuttle that we told you about earlier this week, but there has also been talk of an incentive program to encourage truck drivers to use toll road SH 130.
Joshua Knight is a commercial truck driver who uses the interstate at least twice a month.
“I-35 is a mess and always backed up,” he says.
He’s not exaggerating. According to one report, about 7,000 trucks travel along I-35 during the morning and evening rush hours.
George Garver is the mayor of Georgetown and also on the policy board for the Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization or CAMPO, an organization that discusses issues affecting traffic in our area and possible solutions. Garver, along with the Mayor of Round Rock, looked at several options to present to the board. Garver says, “In that list of options was an opportunity assisting with the fees to see what could be done.”
At this point truckers like Joshua Knight say it’s too expensive, “We have to pay a highway use tax, for every mile I drive in Texas, I have to pay a tax on it, for every gallon of fuel I burn I have to pay tax on it and now you want me to pay an extra $20 to drive on a road.”
But while subsidizing the toll for truckers seemed like a good idea, Mayor Garver says it isn’t feasible. He estimated it could cost more than $26 million a year, assuming 3,500 trucks use the toll each day. “When the numbers began to be apparent as far as the cost, that option is not easily achievable,” He says. “It will take a lot of cooperation between agencies to make something like that a reality and in lieu of that we’re going to continue to live with more congestion than what most of us would like to see on I-35.”
There are several other agencies trying to find a solution -- TxDOT and the University of Texas also released a study on truck use on Texas toll roads.
By Lydia Pantazes