PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) - Tired of traffic of Interstate 35, but hate the tolls on State Highway 130?
A proposal at the Capitol could coax you to that less-traveled stretch and ease congestion on the Austin-area's main artery. The idea is to eliminate tolls on SH 130.
"Oh, I would use it," said Paul Arguello, a Pflugerville driver asked about the pitch. "Definitely use it. It would be faster."
The stretch of SH 130 in Pflugerville sees about 43,000 cars a day - about a fifth of what I-35 sees in Central Austin. Even with that smaller number, there is money to be made.
"These trucks - it's going to cost them over $100 in one trip to go up and down it," said Eric Belota, another driver.
The Central Texas Turnpike System says SH 130 tolls bring in $100 million annually, and within a decade it should be $250 million a year.
The bill is authored by Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin. Under his plan, lawmakers would use $1.5 billion from the state's rainy day fund, if Texas is able to get a new $1.5 billion federal grant.
The $3 billion total would be used to purchase the 41-mile, privately-operated portion of the road from Mustang Ridge to Seguin. The remainder would be used to pay off a chunk of what the Texas Department of Transportation borrowed a decade ago to build the upper 49-mile section between Mustang Ridge and Georgetown.
Workman's plan is considered a long shot at the Capitol though, but it was assigned the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
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