AUSTIN (KXAN) — A steady stream of ReportIt tips about TxTag troubles over the past few years inspired KXAN investigators — who had previously investigated the tollway in 2018 — to see what’s been done to fix issues and which problems persist.
More than two dozen journalists investigated some of the most common driver dilemmas, efforts to hold vendors accountable as well as solutions being explored at the Texas Capitol and in other states.
Not only did these stories air throughout the week of May 7 on KXAN, but we compiled them into an extended special report, which you can watch above.
Explore the digital versions of these stories below or on our main TxTag Troubles page:
Latest TxTag contractor penalized millions, but driver complaints persist: TxTag said it’s seen improvements in the toll system since switching vendors, although it has had to hold some accountable over the years for “deficiences” in their work.
‘Highly misled and misguided.’ Capitol leaders react to TxTag viewer tips: We analyzed years of ReportIt tips about TxTag to find major themes, then took those straight to lawmakers who have the power to do something about it.
700+ TxTag complaints sent to KXAN in a month. Here’s the impact: Leading up to our project launch, we asked Texans to share how toll issues affected them — and saw a huge response, which we sent to the Texas Department of Transportation after its leader told us “Let’s take a look at those specific details and get solutions.”
$381M generated from Austin-area tolls last year. Which roads made the most?: Austin has 10 toll roads, some of which are operated by TxDOT and the rest by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. This story’s data interactives break down the revenue in a variety of ways so you can see which roads generated the most, what years had the most, and how fees and refunds play into it.
‘Still happening.’ Top TxTag complaints detail double billing, website glitches: People getting double-charged on toll roads, and having issues getting them resolved because of customer service or website issues, continue to be a problem KXAN viewers report. TxDOT has taken a number of steps over the years to address them.
‘It ain’t working.’ TxTag auto pay problems leave some drivers with big bills: Drivers with auto pay set up expect to have their tolls taken care of automatically, but sometimes issues mean they’re racking up fees without realizing it. TxDOT shared oftentimes this is a driver issue, but previous vendors played a role as well.
Why are TxTag customers getting pay-by-mail bills?: If you have a TxTag, you shouldn’t be getting a bill in the mail that tacks on an extra fee. But the fact that we have two tolling entities in our area — and many more across the state — can cause confusion for some and can pose a challenge if their are problems with a tag.
1M already use Austin toll roads daily, and it could double by 2040: Despite some reported issues, people are using toll roads — a lot — in the Austin area. We break down just how many are on the roads (and expected to use them in the future) and what other toll roads are in the works.
Money, politics and TxTag: Abbott donors on oversight board: As with other boards in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott appoints, and the Senate confirms, those who serve on the Texas Transportation Commission. The five currently there collectively donated $1.5 million to the governor over the years, and have little to no transportation experience, which some say is a good thing.
Director: TxTag vendors doing better, but still not satisfied: KXAN worked for weeks to reach the TxDOT executive director to talk with him about viewers’ TxTag Troubles. He finally spoke after a public meeting about holding vendors accountable, “tremendous progress” that the system has seen and a desire to “further improve the customer experience.”
Tollway fixes once again face bumpy ride at Texas Capitol: In the past, lawmakers have made changes that affected Texas’ toll system, but those efforts haven’t always been easy. That continues this session, where we break down the eight bills being considered.
Best practices: North Texas tollway’s human-centered approach: Some people, including those who work for CTRMA, choose to use The North Texas Tollway Authority’s TollTag, even in the Austin area. We look at what’s working for this toll authority that’s even been recognized internationally for its excellence.
Why Wisconsin’s no-toll road solution may not work in Texas: One reason for having toll roads, and the gas tax, is to help pay for transportation projects in Texas. But as drivers trend toward electric vehicles, we looked at how other states handle this kind of funding, and how toll roads may stick around in Texas.
Toll problems not unique to Texas. How other states hold vendors accountable: Texas isn’t the only state with toll roads, and some others have even had issues with some of the same vendors we’ve used in the past. We look at the common thread of problems and the solutions other states have tried.
Why two dozen KXAN journalists took on TxTag troubles … again: Get an inside understanding of why, after doing a large investigation in 2018, KXAN took another look at toll problems — and the challenges we faced along the way to put this project together.
KXAN’s “TxTag Troubles” investigative project launched May 7, 2023. Following related reports in recent years, our team rededicated its resources to this major consumer issue, after hundreds of viewers complained to us about resurfaced billing and customer service problems with the state’s tollway operator and its contracted vendors. During our reporting, the Texas Department of Transportation began reaching out to viewers who had contacted KXAN to resolve their issues, and state lawmakers renewed their approach to fixing future TxTag problems.
For any questions or issues with your TxTag bill or account, please reach out to TxTag first. You can call their customer service line at 1-888-468-9824, chat with a representative online, submit an online inquiry, or stop by in-person at a customer service center.