AUSTIN (KXAN) — The only toll road operator in Texas that doesn’t offer discounts to veterans is currently working to develop a program that could be implemented this fall.
“I come from Kingsland which is about a 66-mile trip from my house to here,” says Army veteran Bobby Galyon, who uses US 183A toll to reach the Veteran Affairs office in southeast Austin.
“It’s a struggle. Even not coming here is a struggle. So then when they have to get here a little faster, take the toll roads,” says Galyon.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says because most of its projects are self-funded and there’s no constant source of money coming in — such as a dedicated portion of the gas tax — they have to make sure their system revenues could financially support a veteran discount program.
According to its calculations, once implemented, in its first year, veterans will save approximately $1 million on CTRMA tolls. By 2025, they’re expected to save $2.5 million.
CTRMA says if implemented, the discount would only apply to 183A, US 290 the Manor Expressway, State Highway 71 and 45SW, but the MoPac express lanes would be excluded from the program since its priced on supply and demand. Discounts on MoPac could potentially diminish the available capacity of the express lane.
“They’ve given a lot, got a lot of friends that have given a lot,” says Galyon, “Every little bit helps. Every little bit helps.”
Participation would be limited to one vehicle per household. The vehicle must be associated with a qualified license plate and electronic toll tag account. Unpaid tolls must be fully resolved prior to acceptance into the discount program.
Participants would need to use CTRMA’s online portal to register, which is currently in development. Participants would also need to notify CTRMA of any change to their license plate or tag number. Failure to do so may result in charges to the associated toll tag account.
This move stems from a 2009 state law that allowed toll agencies to establish a veteran discount program for certain veteran classes (disabled veterans and Legion on Valor and Medal of Honor recipients).