Central Texas mobility agency analyzing toll discount program for veterans plus 3 other updates from its April 25 meeting

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The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority will study the impact of offering toll discounts to veterans who use toll roads in Central Texas over the next three months.

Agency staffers provided an update to the board during the April 25 meeting, at which board members also heard a briefing on MoPac traffic counts and time travels. Here are 4 items from the meeting.

1. The Mobility Authority could offer discounted or free tolls to qualified veterans.

The Texas Legislature approved a bill in 2009 that allows toll entities to offer a discount program for qualified veterans. As of November 2017, the state had 318,500 registered veterans license plates.

In the next three months, the agency will look at the financial impact the program would have on toll revenues and whether any limits would be recommended. Currently, the agency loses about $1.2 million annually for tolls waived to first responders, registered vanpools and buses, said Tracie Brown, director of operations.

2. No changes will be made at the Winsted Lane entrance to MoPac.

After the southbound MoPac express lane opened in October, travel times for vehicles heading west on Enfield Road to Winsted to enter southbound MoPac have increased. The agency has been monitoring travel times during peak periods and reported those travel times have almost reduced back to normal, said Jeff Dailey, the Mobility Authority’s deputy executive director.

Nine alternatives to improve the entrance were studied, but the most feasible option to add a lane on Winsted would cost about $5 million but only provide a 5- to 10-minute reduction in travel times, Dailey said.

3. Traffic has increased on MoPac since the express lanes opened.

The board did not discuss a report on traffic volume increases, but members were presented with information on how traffic has increased in both directions on MoPac since the opening of the express lanes last October.

4. Travis County’s Elroy Road project is moving forward.

The Mobility Authority board approved authorizing a $4.5 million general engineering consulting services contract with Atkins Inc. The project is funded by Travis County through an interlocal agreement. The total cost of the project is $28.8 million to build a four-lane road east of SH 130 and south of Hwy. 71. Construction is slated to begin in 2019.

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Amy Denney
Amy has been reporting in community journalism since 2007. She worked in the Chicago suburbs for three years before migrating south and joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2010. Amy has been editor of the Northwest Austin publication since August 2012 and she is also the transportation beat reporter for the Austin area.
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