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NTTA delaying all-electronic conversion of Dallas North Tollway


Motorists won't be asked to keep the change on the Dallas North Tollway after all, at least not for another year.

The North Texas Tollway Authority voted Monday to delay plans to eliminate all toll booths on its busiest road, and instead will keep existing toll booths in use until 2011.

The authority announced plans for the conversion to an all-electronic toll collection system in June 2007. At the time, the move generated national headlines, and officials said the move would require closing 87 booths and finding new jobs for more than 400 toll-booth operators and cash-room workers.

The move is part of a massive expansion at NTTA, which now operates three major toll roads and a pay-bridge over Lake Lewisville. It has nearly a dozen other new roads or new segments in planning stages or under construction.

NTTA officials said the decision to delay the Dallas North Tollway conversion was based on a desire to preserve cash and to allow another year to find out how the public is reacting at other locations. Some newer segments of the toll system have never had toll booths, and conversions along the Bush Turnpike will not be delayed.

The experience so far has been mixed for NTTA and its drivers. Many drivers have complained about onerous penalties for unpaid tolls they say they didn't know they incurred.

Others have embraced the use of TollTags and the ability to speed through toll plazas without stopping to pay with cash.

NTTA interim executive director Janice Davis said delaying the transition on the Dallas North Tollway "is a prudent decision that allows us to gather more information about the response to [all-electronic toll collection] prior to converting our busiest roadway. It also allows us to delay about $40 million in spending during these tough economic times."

[sarcasm]Maybe in another two years they'll have less false violations.[/sarcasm]


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