News & Information
August 10, 2007
Small increase. Big improvements. Coming soon.
Don't Forget: The 25¢ Rate Increase Takes Effect September 3, 2007
New Rates for Standard Two-Axle Vehicles
For the most part, the increases are 25¢ system-wide, but there are some exceptions. For example, entrance and exit ramps currently tolled at $1 will remain unchanged for standard (two-axle) vehicles. In addition, the Ship Channel Bridge rates will remain unchanged in order to bring mainlane toll rates and the Ship Channel Bridge toll rates closer to equal.
2007 Toll Increase: The Facts
The Harris County Toll Road Authority is responsible for getting hundreds of thousands of drivers where they need to go each day-quickly and safely. Unfortunately, current tolls no longer provide the funds required to keep our toll roads in top shape and expand the system to meet the future mobility needs of our region. This is why Harris County Commissioners Court approved a system-wide 25¢ toll rate increase, effective September 3, 2007.
This increase represents only the third such increase in the Harris County Toll Road Authority's 20-year history, a testament to HCTRA's reputation as one of the most cost-effective, well-run systems in the nation.What Your Tolls Pay For
Tolls collected on HCTRA roadways are used to fund maintenance and upkeep of the existing toll roads and to meet future expansion needs-without using tax dollars. All revenue generated from tolls is used to finance six major categories: operations, maintenance, construction projects, connectivity, debt service, and future projects.
In 2006, over 50 percent of toll revenue went toward maintenance, construction and connectivity projects, as well as new initiatives designed to enhance the future mobility of our region. Here's a preview of what's ahead at HCTRA to keep you up to speed:
Recent or Ongoing Enhancements/Capacity Improvements
- South Sam Houston Tollway widening ($140 million)
- West Sam Houston Tollway widening from White Oak Bayou to east of West Road ($9.1 million)
- Sam Houston exit to SH 249: additional EZ TAG lane ($2.1 million)
- Hardy Toll Road pavement reconstruction and widening ($21.6 million)
- Westpark Tollway Dynamic Message Signs ($2 million)
Proposed Future Enhancements/Capacity Improvements
- Continued conversion of cash and coin lanes to EZ TAG lanes
- Additional electronic signage to better communicate in real-time with drivers
- Real-time traffic cameras to facilitate better traffic management, faster response, and safer roads
- Expansion of the Sam Houston widening between Gessner and West Road
- Addition of two lanes to West Sam Houston Tollway, north of Briar Forest
- Direct connector southbound SH 249 to westbound Sam Houston Tollway
Thanks to legislation recently enacted by the Texas Legislature, HCTRA has the go-ahead to move forward on $4.5 billion in planned route expansions, some of which have been on hold for several years. These proposed mobility-enhancing new projects include:
- Beltway 8 Northeast
- Hardy Extension into downtown
- Hempstead Highway (US 290) Managed Lanes
- SH 288 Managed Lanes
- Fairmont Parkway
- Fort Bend Extension to 610