AUSTIN (KXAN) - Drivers along I-35 in the Austin-area complain about the main artery all the time. While there are grand plans on how the freeway could be made better, the Texas Department of Transportation is hoping an "incentive" will help relieve some of the congestion.
Starting April 1, 2013, TxDOT will be offering reduced tolls for trucks on State Highway 130 and State Highway 45SE for a period of one year. The pilot program will end on March 30, 2014. Truck drivers will pay the passenger vehicle (two-axle) toll rate.
If a truck driver were to take SH 130 from Seguin to Georgetown, the driver would have to pay around $18 in tolls, which is about 67 percent discount compared to the regular fare.
This yearlong discount follows several short-term discounts that TxDOT implemented in the past few months. During the last discount period (Feb. 4 - March 3), TxDOT saw close to a 50 percent increase of trucks using the tolls compared to the same time period in 2012.
TxDOT is hoping truck drivers will take advantage of the offer and help ease some of the traffic pains on I-35.
"By getting some of our big rigs off I-35, we are making Central Texas roads safer," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "Moreover, people driving on I-35 will see some most-needed congestion relief, which is going to help them get to and from work easier and improve their quality of life. At the end of the year we will have a full set of data to see the cost/benefits and look for other opportunities to extend."
The program is still waiting approval by the Texas Transportation Commission later this month.
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