AUSTIN (KXAN) - AUSTIN (KXAN) – Truckers who take two Central Texas toll roads in February will get a break on the price they have to pay.
Texas Transportation Commission voted Thursday to reduce tolls from Interstate 35 to U.S. 183 and State Highway 45SE for trucks.
Starting Monday and ending March 3, truckers who drive nonstop between Georgetown and Buda on the SH 130/SH 45SE toll bypass will pay the passenger vehicle toll rate of $11 or less. For trucks with four axles or more, the discount provides more than a 67 percent discount. The toll discount for trucks is extended as an incentive to reduce truck traffic on I-35 through the Austin area.
TxDot spokesperson Kelli Reyna says, "We think if they try it they'll like it. We're excited to see if they get out there and pay $11 or less to drive 56 miles, it's worth it."
I-35, from SH 71 to US 183, is the fourth-most congested roadway in Texas.
"Our goal is to address congestion and help people get to their destinations faster than sitting on I-35 through Austin," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "This is a great way to have trucks try SH 130 and see its benefits."
The Texas Department of Transportation first offered the truck toll discount in late 2011 ending in January 2012. During that time, truck toll transactions increased more than 49 percent on both SH 130 and SH 45SE, and toll transactions for passenger vehicles increased 10 percent for the same period over the previous year.
Trucker Sonny Montgomery says, "It's a good idea because you only have the one artery running through Austin, I-35. Normally you pay five or ten times what a car pays, I would think every trucker in the country would take advantage of that."
Toll rates on other Austin-area toll roads, including Loop 1, SH 45N, US 183A, US 290 East and SH 130 Segments 5 & 6 (from Mustang Ridge to Seguin) will remain unchanged during the promotion.
TxDOT said it cannot offer the discount permanently because it must repay debt on toll revenues pledged.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
A Lago Vista couple faces child endangerment charges after authorities found their home covered in feces and garbage.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Cold temperatures forecast for Saturday morning have prompted Georgetown officials to cancel the parade associated with the annual Christmas Stroll. The Stroll, however, will go on.