The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority—which manages Toll 183A, Toll 290, SH 71, SH 45 SW, the MoPac express lanes and Toll 183 S.—usually increases toll rates each year on Jan. 1, per the agency's toll rate policy. The agency's board took no action at the Oct. 30 meeting, meaning the new rates will go into effect.
In 2019, the agency opened two new toll facilities on SH 45 SW and Toll 183 S., and the rates will not be increasing on those two facilities.
The board also did not take action on changing its policy for increasing the base toll rate on the MoPac express lanes. The agency’s policy states it will increase by 5 cents per segment every year until the base rate reaches 50 cents. This is to ultimately align the base rate with the future base rate on the US 183 N. toll project. The board also considered freezing the rate at 30 cents per segment on the MoPac express lanes.
“I have heard this more than a few times when [the base rate] went up a nickel that did resonate; [drivers] did notice,” Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein said.
Ultimately the board did not take action on the toll rate, and the base rate will increase Jan. 1 to 35 cents per segment on MoPac.
Board members considered freezing the rate at the Park Street toll plaza in Cedar Park at $1.54, which is the highest in the system. Heiligenstein said that would make the rate more equitable.
“Without [revenue from the] Park Street [toll gantry], we couldn’t have built [Toll] 290, he said. “The toll rate per mile there is significantly higher. Without that gantry there would be no RMA as we know it. This is an opportunity for us to readjust that.”
Board member Mark Ayotte, a Cedar Park resident, agreed and proposed moving the 3 cents increase elsewhere in the system and freezing the rate at Park.
“It doesn’t change the revenue model,” he said. “It’s just moving pennies around in the system.”
However, board member David Singleton said he was not comfortable with shifting the burden of increased rates to drivers passing through the Crystal Falls toll plaza.
“It kind of undoes what we’ve been trying to accomplish,” he said. “We’ve always tried to be fair across the board.”
Drivers may use any Texas toll tag on Mobility Authority facilities, including TxTag and EZ-Tag, as well as the Kansas Turnpike Authority's K-Tag, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's PIKEPASS and BancPass, a reloadable toll sticker.
The Mobility Authority also now has prepaid registered accounts that allow customers who do not have an electronic toll tag to pay tolls automatically online rather than wait for a bill in the mail, according to a news release. Registered accounts receive a 25% discount on the toll rate. More information is available at www.mobilityauthority.com.