FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/31/2016
Rep. Celia Israel's Efforts to Get Trucks Off IH-35 Finally Pay Off
Texas Transportation Commission Approves New Discount Program for Trucks on SH 130
Austin - The Texas Transportation Commission approved a new, two-phased discount program today, encouraging trucks to avoid downtown Austin traffic on IH 35 by using SH 130.
"While this item is not a silver bullet, it is one more tool to increase mobility in our urban core, " Israel said. "While we in the legislature have been wringing our hands over congestion and safety, we have done little to provide immediate relief. Funding a program to reduce the tolls on the TXDOT portions of SH130 and SH 45 SE for truck traffic represents a concrete action to improve congestion without actually requiring more concrete."
Starting April 19, all trucks on state-owned portions of SH 130 and SH 45 will only pay the three-axle rate, a 33% discount for 18-wheelers, Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM. The alternative route will go from costing 4 and 5-axle trucks $21.41 to $16.08 during this period.
Beginning in October, trucks who use a TxTag to pay their tolls will be eligible for an additional discount, allowing them to pay the same rate as regular cars, or 66% less than they are currently charged to use the tolled bypass. Trucks with TxTags will only pay $8.04 once the program is in its second phase.
State Rep. Celia Israel initially tried to implement the program legislatively, but end-of-session deadlines kept HB 594 from reaching the floor of the Texas House during the 84th Legislative session. Refusing to give up on such a popular effort, Rep. Israel worked with Sen. Kirk Watson to get the program included in a budget rider directing TxDOT to fund the discounts through the sale of real and surplus property.
Now that the incentive program has received final approval from the Texas Transportation Commission, Rep. Israel says she is glad that she can provide some much needed relief for Central Texans stuck in traffic on the state's most congested roadway.
"This may not solve all of our traffic problems, but we owe it to Central Texans to do everything we can to think creatively and use existing resources as efficiently as possible," Israel said.
Rep. Israel also said she applauded the Transportation Commission's collaborative work with the Department of Public Safety to ensure trucks use the alternative route safely.
Contact: Jennie Kennedy