Transportation commission lowers truck tolls on Texas 130, raises speed limits on its frontage roads
By Ben Wear
March 28, 2013
The Texas Transportation Commission unanimously decided Thursday to lower truck tolls on Texas 130 for the next year and to increase the speed limit on the tollway’s frontage roads near Mustang Ridge and Lockhart.
Starting Monday, all vehicles will pay the same toll rates on Texas 130 for its full 90-mile run from north of Georgetown to Seguin, about $17 for the entire trip (or 25 percent less for those with an electronic toll tag). Likewise, all vehicles will pay the same rates on Texas 45 Southeast. Larger trucks with more than two axles currently pay two to four times what cars and small trucks pay, and they will do so again starting in April 2014 unless the Texas Department of Transportation decides to continue the discounts.
The price cut, which will cost TxDOT an estimated $11 million in lost toll revenue over the next year, is meant to draw trucks away from congested Interstate 35, which parallels Texas 130 several miles to the west. TxDOT will draw that $11 million from the $140 million in lease payments it received from the SH 130 Concession Co. in return for the company’s right to build, operate and perhaps profit from the southern 41 miles of Texas 130. That section of road opened in October.
Speed limits on the Texas 130 frontage roads south of Texas 45 Southeast will rise from 55 to 60 mph through the town of Mustang Ridge, and to 65 mph for the 12 miles from south of Texas 21 to Caldwell County Road 218 southwest of Lockhart.
Those frontage roads for the first 10 miles or so are technically still U.S. 183 — the tollway was built on top of U.S. 183 between Texas 45 Southeast and just north of Lockhart — and that road had a 65 mph speed limit until the tollway’s construction started in 2009. The Caldwell County Commissioners Court had complained when TxDOT in August set an interim speed limit of 55 mph in that stretch, charging that the agency was attempting to influence people to use the 85 mph tollway instead.
After listening to the complaints, and conducting a follow-up speed survey, the commission decided to restore the higher limit for six of those miles (and bump up the limit to 65 mph on another six miles not in the old U.S. 183 corridor), and raise it to 60 for five miles in Mustang Ridge. TxDOT deputy director John Barton said the new speed limit signs should be installed in about a week.
“I want to say ‘thank you,’” Caldwell County Judge Tom Bonn told the commission Thursday. “Diplomacy worked.”