Tolls On the Way for New 18-Laner in Texas

After speeding construction by using county toll revenues, a 23-mile long, 18-lane freeway has opened in Texas.
October 31, 2008, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Amid a burst of confetti and a release of balloons, some 400 supporters and road-building professionals Tuesday applauded the consummation of Texas' biggest freeway project - $2.8 billlion, 23 miles long and the first to have a tollway down the middle."

"The two center lanes of the rebuilt Katy Freeway in each direction from Texas 6 to the West Loop will operate from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., but drivers will need two or more people in the car."

"Tolls will not be introduced until probably late April, giving the Harris County Toll Road Authority several months to gauge the likely demand, said authority spokeswoman Lawanda Howse. When the trial run is over, she said, tolls that increase with traffic volume will be collected via EZ Tag or TxTag for vehicles not meeting occupancy requirements for free rides. Transit vehicles will use the lanes at no charge."

"Elected officials attending the celebration included Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. John Culberson, who, with former County Judge Robert Eckels and county infrastructure director Art Storey, had pushed the idea of including toll lanes and using county toll road revenue to speed completion of the work."

"Culberson said the job was completed in five years and four months, compared to a likely 10 years or more with conventional funding."

"'And without a single federal earmark,' he added."

Thanks to Streetsblog

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Published on Thursday, October 30, 2008 in The Houston Chronicle
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