Toll rates will be increasing starting Jan. 1 for several Central Texas toll facilities.
On Wednesday the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority announced the rate increases based on the Consumer Price Index. The rate increases are 1-3 cents per toll gantry—the typical increase for the agency, which manages Toll 183A, Toll 290, SH 71 and MoPac express lanes.
The highest increases of 3 cents will be at the Park Street gantry in Cedar Park, making the total toll $1.54, and the Giles gantry on Toll 290, making the total toll $1.18.
On MoPac the minimum toll rate will also increase to 30 cents per segment, or 60 cents for the entire trip between Parmer Lane and Cesar Chavez Street.
“We’re trying to align this with 183 North’s minimum toll rates when 183 North comes online in the next approximately five years from now,” said Bill Chapman, the agency’s chief financial officer.
The 183 North project in Northwest Austin will add two toll lanes to US 183 in each direction, connecting to Toll 183A at RM 620 and to the MoPac express lanes.
Chapman said the agency plans to increase the minimum toll rate on MoPac by 5 cents each year for five years until it reaches 50 cents, which is the minimum toll rate proposed for 183 North. The goal is to avoid driver confusion if someone is driving on both toll facilities, he said.
Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein said the agency did contemplate having no toll during off-peak hours or overnight but did not want to confuse drivers on when the lanes were free.
“When we look back on it now we feel like we set it a little bit arbitrarily low just because we didn’t have the history or experience on it,” he said. “We’re really adjusting our thinking on the base rate at this point.”
On SH 45 SW, which is a new toll facility under construction in Southwest Austin slated to open in early 2019, the agency’s board of directors approved setting the opening toll rate at $1. The roadway will connect MoPac and FM 1626 and will have just one toll gantry.
Other toll increases happening Jan. 1 affect the pay-by-mail rates that drivers without a toll tag pay. Currently, drivers pay 33 percent more through pay-by-mail transactions versus the toll tag rate, and that will increase to 50 percent more.