Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of the most common questions people ask about the HCTRA toll roads, projects, and programs. Click the question to read the answer.

If your question isn't listed below, try browsing the categories listed on the right, or using the search box located at the top of this page.

Are tax dollars used for the toll roads?

No tax dollars are used for the operation or maintenance of toll roads. 

Aren’t toll roads a form of double taxation?

No. No tax dollars are used for the operation or maintenance of toll roads.  Taxes are mandatory and are paid by both people who use the services they support - and people who do not. Tolls are about the ability to choose, which means drivers have the option to pay to use certain roads. Drivers weigh the typical time and stress-saving value of toll roads against the cost of the tolls, and make a decision based on their individual needs and abilities.

Can a single EZ TAG be used in more than one vehicle?

No.  Just as your license plate is unique to your vehicle, your EZ TAG is unique to your license plate.

The EZ TAG Agreement for your Harris County Toll Road Authority EZ TAG Account requires you to update your information if you change vehicles and/or license plates. Keeping your account information updated and maintaining your EZ TAG Account balance will ensure your EZ TAG continues to function properly - keeping you from receiving Toll Violation Invoices, which you could incur if your vehicle travels on the toll road system without being properly registered with an EZ TAG Account.

Can I use my EZ TAG in a rental vehicle?

No, because EZ TAGs cannot be transferred from vehicle to vehicle.  However, to temporarily add a rental car's license plate to your EZ Account and enjoy the designated EZ TAG lanes, simply log into your account online and go to the "Vehicles & EZ TAGs" tab to add a temporary vehicle or call us at 281-875-3279.

Since EZ TAGs cannot be transferred from vehicle to vehicle, you cannot use your EZ TAG in a rented vehicle. You do have options on the toll road when in a rented vehicle, however:

1.  Our new EZ Plate feature enables you to temporarily add a license plate number to your EZ Tag Account.

2.  PlatePass.com enables you to enjoy the speed and convenience of high speed non-stop toll road use while renting a vehicle throughout the United States - simply get in your rental and drive! In most cases, tolls will be charged to the credit card used to rent the vehicle - it's that EZ! Visit PlatePass.com for cost and details or call PlatePass customer service at (877) 411-4300.

3.  Use the cash lanes while you are driving a rental vehicle. NOTE: You will be subject to toll road violation assessments if you fail to pay the tolls. In this event you may receive a violation invoice from HCTRA, or the rental car company may elect to assess additional administrative fees directly. Please ask your rental agent for details.

Do I need to add my trailer to my EZ TAG Account?

As an EZ TAG Account holder, you are required to notify HCTRA of any changes to your account and vehicle information. Towing a trailer is considered a change to a vehicle and your account should be updated with this information. Multi-axle vehicles are charged a higher toll rate.

If you are towing the trailer temporarily, you can add the trailer to your account with EZ Plate. Learn more about how EZ Plate works here.

Note: Failing to update your account and vehicle information may result in toll violations.

How are multi-axle vehicles (trailers) handled?

Technology in dedicated EZ TAG-Only lanes can detect multiple axles on vehicles. If you have an EZ TAG, per your EZ TAG Agreement, you are required to notify HCTRA of any changes to your account and vehicle information. Additional axles, such as the addition of a trailer, are considered changes to your vehicle. Multi-axle vehicles are charged a higher toll rate.

Note: Failing to update your account and vehicle information may result in toll violations.

How do I delete or remove a vehicle from my account?

Please contact customer service so that a representative can update your account.

While a vehicle will always remain listed on your account, you can deactivate the tag or retire the vehicle thereby changing its status on your account. Simply log into your EZ Account online and change the "vehicle status" under the "Vehicles & EZ TAGs" tab or call Customer Service at 281-875-3279. When you contact customer service please provide the vehicle information or license plate number for the vehicle you wish to remove. If you have sold the vehicle being deactivated on your EZ Account, we recommend that you fax a Bill of Sale to HCTRA at (281) 874-0989 or (281) 877-0402. We also recommend submitting a Vehicle Title Transfer form with the Texas Department of Transportation to update motor vehicle records.

How do I get my statements for filing my taxes?

You can find all of your monthly EZ Account statements online on the "Account Activity" tab.

Monthly statements are always available online which makes preparing your annual federal tax return easier.

Just login to your account, click the "Account Activity" tab, then choose "Statements." You can print each of the past months' statements individually.  While searchable transaction activity remains accessible for three months, statements are available for the past 18 months.

Another option under the "Account Activity" tab is your yearly summary. This will total up all usage and re-bills on your account for a chosen year, for up to three years. Please note, this will include usage for all tags on your account.

If you have other questions or need further assistance, please contact customer service at (281) 875-3279 during normal business hours (M-F 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) or by e-mail.

How do I pay for a toll violation?

If you have received a mailed Toll Violation Invoice, you may pay online.  You may also pay by mail to the address shown on your invoice, or by calling 281-875-3279 during posted business hours. Please include the Toll Violation Invoice number, license plate and state on all documents and payments, along with a phone number and an email address where you may be reached.

To make payment for a toll violation event which has not yet been invoiced to you, please call 281-875-3279 to pay by credit card. Payment may also be made by US check or money order at one of our EZ TAG Store locations, or by mail to:

HCTRA – Payment Processing
7701 Wilshire Place Drive
Houston, TX 77040-5326

Payment cannot be processed without your license plate number, state and contact information. Include the date, time and location of the event, if possible. Please do not send cash!

How do I switch my battery tag to a sticker tag?

Call our Customer Service Department at (281) 875-EASY (3279) and speak to a representative.

Once your mailing information has been confirmed, new sticker tags will be mailed to you. When you receive the replacement kit, simply remove your old hard case EZ TAG(s) and return them to us using the pre-paid, pre-addressed return envelope you will find inside the kit. The kit also contains detailed instructions on how to remove and return your old hard case tags and install your new sticker tags.

How much does it cost to purchase a replacement EZ TAG?

A replacement EZ TAG will cost $10.00 to $15.00, per EZ TAG, depending on the number of EZ TAGs registered to your account.

Simply call us at 281-875-EASY or visit an EZ TAG Store location to purchase a new EZ TAG or login to your EZ Account online and follow these steps:

1.  Deactivate your current tag by changing the tag status to "Inactive" under the "Vehicles & EZ TAGs" tab.

2.  On the "Vehicles & EZ TAGs tab" select the "add a permanent vehicle" link and follow the steps.

What are my responsibilities as an EZ TAG account holder?

Your responsibilities are contained in the EZ TAG Agreement included as part of your EZ TAG Account application.

By using the EZ TAG you are agreeing to your responsibilities as an account holder.  Please be sure you read this agreement carefully and understand the terms and conditions. You will be notified whenever there is a change in the terms and conditions contained in the EZ Agreement. Likewise, if any of your information changes such as name, address, credit card, or vehicle information, it is your responsibility to notify us immediately. As an EZ TAG Account holder, you are also responsible for maintaining a minimum balance in your account as described in the Application and Agreement.

What forms of payment does EZ TAG accept?

Credit/debit cards or electronic funds transfer (EFT).

Paying by credit card is the most convenient way to maintain your account. You may also include a secondary credit card on the account should your primary card become inactive or expire. Keep in mind that credit and debit cards always expire at some point and you must keep your account payment information current to ensure uninterrupted service and avoid potential violations.  The Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) accepts American Express, Discover, Master Card, and Visa. Paying by automatic bank draft (electronic funds transfer or EFT) is also an option; always ensure the balance in your bank account is sufficient, otherwise your account is subject to an insufficient funds fee.  If an account reaches three (3) insufficient fund transactions in its lifetime, it is no longer eligible for the EFT option and will require a credit card to maintain your EZ account balance.

What forms of toll payment do you accept at the plazas and booths?

Depending on the type of lane you use, we accept nothing higher than a $20 bill, all coins except pennies and EZ TAGs.

  • "Full Service/Change Made" lanes are collector-attended; collectors will change bills, up to $20.
  • "Exact Change" lanes only accept coins in a machine (no pennies). EZ TAGs are only active in lanes marked with purple or yellow signs; not all full service or coin machine lanes are EZ TAG-enabled.

Be sure to pick the appropriate lane for your payment choice, also noting if your vehicle is too large for narrow lanes which are designated "cars only."

We do NOT accept credit or debit cards or personal checks in the lanes.

What happens if I go through a toll lane without paying the toll?

Pursuant to the Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 284, the owner or renter of record (not necessarily the driver) of a vehicle that passes through a toll facility is responsible for payment of all tolls. Failure to pay a toll is a toll violation, and is against the law.  HCTRA communications may refer to each instance of toll violation as a toll violation "event."

A toll violation event can result in a Toll Violation Invoice being sent to the registered owner/renter for the past-due toll amount plus fees. Independent of a Toll Violation Invoice, any toll violation event may also result in a traffic stop and the issuance of a traffic citation, which carries a significant fine plus court costs.

To pay your Toll Violation Invoice, or to pay an outstanding toll which has not been invoiced, see How do I pay for a toll violation?

Failure to resolve a Toll Violation Invoice may result in additional Toll Violation Invoices, fines, referral to a collection firm, withdrawal of eligibility to renew your vehicle registration, and/or other legal measures as defined by Texas law.

What happens if my EZ TAG is lost or stolen?

Per your EZ TAG Agreement, you are responsible for reporting the loss or theft of your tag.  Otherwise, you may incur fraudulent tolls on your account, for which you as the account holder will be responsible. 

As indicated in the application and EZ Agreement, you may replace any lost or stolen tags by purchasing a new tag.

A replacement EZ TAG will cost $10.00 to $15.00, per EZ TAG, depending on the number of EZ TAGs registered to your account. Simply call us at 281-875-EASY or visit an EZ TAG Store location to purchase a new EZ TAG or login to your EZ TAG Account online: select the "Vehicles & EZ TAGs tab," then select the "add a permanent vehicle" link and follow the steps.

What internet browser(s) does this site support?

HCTRA.org has been developed to support "Web Standards" so it will display and perform properly in the latest versions of most popular browsers as well as screen-readers and other accessibility devices. HCTRA.org has specifically been tested for Internet Explorer 7.0 and Firefox 2.0 for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X, as well as Safari on OS X. Functionality may or may not work as well on other and older browsers.

What is a Toll Violation Invoice?

A Toll Violation Invoice is an invoice sent to the registered owner or renter (not necessarily the driver) of a vehicle that traveled through a tolling location and did not pay the proper toll at the time of the transaction(s).  A Toll Violation Invoice reflects the date, time, and location of each toll violation event included in the invoice, as well as the past-due toll amount and any additional fees owed.

Failure to pay a toll is against the law.  Failure to resolve violations may result in fines, referral to a collection agency, withdrawal of your eligibility to renew your vehicle registration, and other legal measures as defined by Texas law.

To pay your Toll Violation Invoice, or to pay an outstanding toll which has not been invoiced, see How do I pay for a toll violation?

What is a Toll Violation?

Pursuant to the Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 284, the owner or renter of record (not necessarily the driver) of a vehicle that passes through a toll facility is responsible for payment of all tolls. Failure to pay a toll is a toll violation, and is against the law.  HCTRA communications may refer to each instance of toll violation as a toll violation "event."

A toll violation event can result in a Toll Violation Invoice sent to the registered owner/renter for the past-due toll amount plus fees. Independent of a Toll Violation Invoice, any toll violation event may also result in a traffic stop and the issuance of a traffic citation, which carries a significant fine plus court costs.

To pay your Toll Violation Invoice, or to pay an outstanding toll which has not been invoiced, see How do I pay for a toll violation?

Failure to resolve a Toll Violation Invoice may result in additional Toll Violation Invoices, fines, referral to a collection firm, withdrawal of eligibility to renew your vehicle registration, and/or other legal measures as defined by Texas law.

What vehicles require license plate TAGs instead of regular TAGs?

Usually vehicles that feature a solar coated windshield will need to display the EZ TAG on the license plate.

Vehicles known to require license plate mounted tags instead of regular sticker (or windshield) EZ TAGs are:

Audi A6 (2005-2006)

Chevrolet Lumina APV (1991-1996)

Chevrolet Venture (2005-2005)

Oldsmobile Silhouette (2002-2004)

Pontiac Montana (2002-2005)

Pontiac Transport (1995-1996)

The following vehicles have a limited amount of space for a windshield mounted EZ TAG and might require a license plate mounted tag:

BMW M5 Series (2005-2006)

Buick Rendezvous (2002-2006)

Chevrolet Venture (1997-2001

Mercedes Benz CL Class (2001-2006)

Mercedes Benz S Class (2000-2006)

Oldsmobile Silhouette (1997-2001)

Pontiac Aztec (2001-2005)

Pontiac Montana (1999-2001)

Pontiac Transport (1997-1998)

Volvo S80 (1999-2005)

(*Note: This list may not be inclusive of all vehicles that can not use a sticker tag. If you feel that your windshield mounted EZ TAG is not working properly, please contact EZ TAG Customer Service at (281) 875-EASY (3279) to speak with a representative about your specific tag needs.)

Where can I report accidents or hazardous conditions on the tollway?

Please call Roadside Assistance at 713-222-PEAT (7328). For emergencies requiring police, fire or medical service, 911 is always the number to call.

Free roadside assistance is offered on Harris and Fort Bend County toll roads. Learn more about the Roadside Assistance program, including hours of operation and types of services provided here.

Why can't the new EZ TAGs be removed from my windshield?

Sticker-type EZ TAGs generally become inactive once removed from the windshield and attempting to transfer these TAGs is likely to render them inoperable and place you at a high risk for receiving toll violations.

HCTRA does not advise attempting to transfer tags; we recommend the purchase of a new EZ TAG when replacing your windshield or purchasing a new vehicle to ensure your toll road access. If you do attempt this transfer, however, please be aware the tag is not likely to operate effectively by raising toll gates or registering at EZ TAG only lanes - you should check your account online or call a customer service representative within 48 hours of your first post-transfer toll road use to ensure your tolls are being posted properly.

Why does the website repeatedly ask me to log-in?

Your web browser security settings might be set too high.

When security settings in a browser are set to the highest levels, the browser does not allow third-party cookies to be used by any website.  Most websites, such as hctra.org depend on cookies for many things, including controlling a user's navigation from one webpage to another.  If your security settings are set too high, where they do not allow third party cookies, then multiple problems could occur, including being logged out inadvertently.

To troubleshoot this issue, we recommend reducing your privacy settings from "block all cookies" to the next highest setting, "High." You can also specify HCTRA.org as a "Trusted Site."

Using Internet Explorer:

  1. Select <High> on the privacy slider as designated above
  2. Specify HCTRA.org as a trusted site by doing the following
    1. In the same window, select the  <Sites> button
    2. On the next screen, enter "HCTRA.org" in the "Address of website" field, and then
  3. Select the <Allow>button.

Internet Explorer screenshot of how to fix your browser when repeatedly logged out

This will permit HCTRA.org, and only HCTRA.org, the ability to use cookies on your computer, and no other sites (unless also designated here).

Using Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Select <Tools>, <Options>
  2. Unselect the checkbox "Accept cookies from sites" select <Exceptions>
  3. Enter "HCTRA.org" in the "Address of website" field
  4. Select <Allow>.

Mozilla Firefox screenshot of how to fix your browser when repeatedly logged out

Why haven’t the roads “gone free”?

The County's toll roads have not "gone free" because the current user-fee based system provides adequate funding for maintenance and improvements to the existing roads, as well as funding for future expansion, without using tax dollars.

If the roads "go free," they are turned over to the state. The current state highway fund is dwindling, just as the demands on the state highway system itself are growing. The gas tax simply does not generate enough funding to maintain existing highways, much less build or maintain new ones.

Will the new EZ TAG work with my OnStar system or satellite radio?

Based on testing and review, yes your TAG should work in tandem with both the OnStar system and satellite radio programs such as XM and Sirius.

The EZ TAG operates on a completely different bandwidth, which should not cause radio interference. Also, the EZ TAG does not act as a transmitter and only modulates in the presence of a reader.