AUSTIN (KXAN) - On any given day, trailer trucks take up a lot of highway space, squeezing out smaller vehicles trying to get around Austin. A problem that only seems to get worse as the city grows.
Beginning Monday, the Texas Department of Transportation is testing a month long program they hope will lure trucks off the interstate and onto toll roads SH130 and the SH45 connector north of Austin.
"We're offering all trucks that normally have four axles the two axle rate," said Kelly Reyna with TxDot, "Which is a savings of 67 percent for some vehicles".
Reyna said last year's discount worked with an estimated 49 percent increase in truck traffic on SH130 from the year before, turning a $20 to $25 fee into a maximum toll of $11.
"It really is a substantial savings per trip for those vehicles," added Reyna. "We're really hoping that with this incentive, truckers can go out there, they can try the new roadway, see if they like it".
Joe Lykes' trucking company has been moving heavy loads across the south for 25 years. He says discounts on SH130 are useful.
"The toll road is definitely a resource that does help us expedite that shipment," said Lykes. "Especially during that rush hour time".
During a daily course of business, however, too many stops on SH130 is an inconvenience for Lykes' company, regardless of the discount.
"On a regular basis we're running down I-35, or if there's an accident on I-35 we know to avoid that area then we will take the toll," he said.
Lykes says some truckers could get more use of the toll roads than he does, especially with so many independent contractor drivers calling their own shots. In the meantime, TxDot hopes the discount will work as well as last year.
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