Unelected CTRMA board votes to raise toll taxes on 183-A

Posted in Central Texas, Commentary, Road Issues, Transportation, Williamson County at 3:05 pm by wcnews

The representatives of Gov. Perry, the Williamson County Commissioners Court, the Travis County Commissioners Court, and the CTRMA board itself decided to raise toll on 183-A today. (Those elected officials above are who appointed the members of the CTRMA BoD). Ben Wear at the AAS has the story, Agency approves January toll hike, annual bumps starting in 2013.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board today approved a 20-cent toll increase on the 183-A turnpike that will take effect Jan. 1. In addition, it approved a policy that likely will mean tolls on 183-A and any other future agency tollways will have annual inflationary increases.

In January, the toll at 183-A’s Park Street plaza will go from $1.35 to $1.55, meaning that what is now a 4.5-mile-long road will have a total toll of $2. In 2012, when a several-mile extension north of RM 2243 should open, the Park Street toll will decrease to $1.25 and a new toll point north of New Hope Road will begin charging 95 cents. The 11.7-mile road’s overall toll at that point will be $2.70.

Beginning with January 2013, tolls, absent action by the agency board, will increase by a percentage equal to the annual growth in the consumer price index for urban areas. Over the past five years, the cumulative increase in that index was 15.2 percent.

The difference between this and what’s being proposed at the statewide level is that those that would vote for that will be directly accountable to the people. These folks are not. It’s much easier to raise taxes, especially when it’s not needed, if your not accountable to the voters. 20 years is a long time not to have the gas tax raised a single cent, which is why these toll road toll taxes will continue to rise and rise and rise.


  1. jomoma said,

    November 19, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Since when is raising tolls raising taxes? Your statements seem to suggest that since these folks have are raisingn their toll rate, it is the same as raising taxes. This is not the case. It is unfair to compare one to the other in such general terms. I am not suggesting the toll rates should be randomly increased, I am certainly not for that, but if you are going to make a statement that is so general, that you are not really making a specific point, except to paint an unfavorable picture, why not just say you don’t like it, instead of waxing poetically and suggesting in very general terms that you are not in favor of tolls being raised.

    As well, these toll roads have to be financed through bonds. The bond holders require a certain profitability level to provide the financing to build roads. Perhaps this is a rate raise that is required of the toll road folks in order to maintain an A+ rating with the financiers. There may even be a requirement in the financing that requires a specific rating every year to ensure the interest rate on the millions of dollars that are already financed does not increase. This would simply cause additional toll rate increases to ensure the payments can be made. Kind of like the interest rates growing on folks with credit card problems.
    We all know that since the gas taxes are not being raised, there must be some way to finance any new roads in Texas. We know that TxDOT has no real money left over for building new roads. Heck, they are lucky to continue to maintain the roads they have now.
    How does Central Texas continue to improve its infrastructure if new roads are not continuing to be built ,to accomodate growth? Either everyone pays additional gas tax on every gallon that is consumed, or rates go up on toll roads, and those rates only affect those that use the toll roads. No one is forced to travel on a toll road. Everyone is aware of that.

  2. wcnews said,

    November 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Thanks for your comment. Tolls in my opinion are taxes, in this case levied on a smaller constituency. Taxes are in the eye of the beholder, I refer to them as toll taxes. The crux of my post was about the unaccountability of the BoD and how easy it is for them to do this without having to worry about a backlash. The rest of what you say, much of it I’ve been saying for years, (see the archives). Without raising the gas tax we will just continue to pay higher and higher toll taxes.

  3. jomoma said,

    November 19, 2009 at 11:25 am

    So you disregarded my suggestion that these folks on this board may not have had any choice? Or are you suggesting that it was simply done because they could? Do you have any data that suggests either scenario? While you are making the statement that this board has passed this rate increase because they could without any backlash, are you suggesting that they did because they have no one to answer to, or just because they could? I am curious if you are basing your opinion on fact, or what you think is going on…

  4. wcnews said,

    November 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Everyone has a choice, if they didn’t like this they could have resigned. The BoD members were put there by a political entity, gov, commissioners court, or the BoD itself to uphold a certain agenda. It’s not that they’re doing this because they could. They probably believe what they’re doing is the right thing, and that’s their prerogative. It’s just that the citizens, those that have to drive this road and others like it, have no recourse to the board. It is my opinion therefore, that the board, because of that, operates in a different mindset then one that would be directly accountable to the people.

  5. Eye on Williamson » CTRMA general counsel has law license suspended, resigns said,

    February 9, 2010 at 10:45 am

    […] And they have since instituted automatic annual toll increases as well, Unelected CTRMA board votes to raise toll taxes on 183-A. […]

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