AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

The forum just turned ten years old! Where has all the time gone?

Author Topic: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?  (Read 1276 times)

Guysdrive780

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 148
  • Just another guy

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Last Login: April 15, 2019, 07:22:42 PM
    • Drive on Transportation
Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« on: December 24, 2018, 02:36:44 PM »

The State of Texas overall has 25 toll roads within its borders.

Did you know that these toll roads are operated by different tolling authorities because there are around 20 different tolling agencies in the state including TXDOT itself and excluding the Public Private Partnerships we have with companies like Cintra.

With this amount of toll roads I wanted to start this chat, does anyone think that we should centralize the toll roads into one authority?
Logged
I run the DOT Youtube Channel, Part time Worker for TXDOT, College Student studying Civil Engineering (Traffic Engineering). Please Keep in mind, I do not represent TXDOT and all opinions I say are my own and not TXDOT's

vdeane

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 9891
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Latham, NY
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 09:12:48 PM
    • New York State Roads
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2018, 03:02:37 PM »

Probably.  At the very least, their transponders should all be combined - from what I've read, interoperability between other states and Texas is currently a nightmare because of that.
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

Guysdrive780

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 148
  • Just another guy

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Last Login: April 15, 2019, 07:22:42 PM
    • Drive on Transportation
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2018, 03:22:39 PM »

Probably.  At the very least, their transponders should all be combined - from what I've read, interoperability between other states and Texas is currently a nightmare because of that.
We did use to have a Texas Turnpike Authority but was turned into the North Texas Tollway Authority. The NTTA is classified as a State agency but it only operates in certain counties which are Dallas, Tarrant, Johnson, Collin, and Denton Counties.

TXDOT has the Toll Operation Division in Austin that deals statewide with Toll Projects that are more statewide like Toll 45 or manage lanes in Dallas. But I always wanted all of the Toll Roads not to be run by TXDOT and just another agency for that.

It used to be a lot worse as a lot of the Toll Tags before hand where not going to work in other parts of the State. But after the state passed laws changing that, it doesn't matter what toll roads you got on. It didn't matter until the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority then came to the NTTA and made a deal which allowed NTTA toll tags become comparable in Oklahoma. This made the NTTA's toll tag the most powerful in the state for a few years until thew Federal Government finally stepped in 2012 and passed MAP-21 which forced states next to each other to make toll tags compatible. I didn't find out about that law until I was driving on the Kansas Turnpike and the Ticket Machine wasn't working automatically like it was so I got a Ticket anyway and when I got to Topeka to get of the Turnpike, the guy taking my money told me that my Toll Tag now works there, So I was happy about that and I moved on with my trip.
Logged
I run the DOT Youtube Channel, Part time Worker for TXDOT, College Student studying Civil Engineering (Traffic Engineering). Please Keep in mind, I do not represent TXDOT and all opinions I say are my own and not TXDOT's

plain

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 661
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Richmond Virginia
  • Last Login: April 22, 2019, 12:21:35 AM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2018, 04:09:17 PM »

Maybe, as long as they don't try to pool revenues like Maryland and Oklahoma do. Because there are several toll roads in Texas that generate a lot LESS money than the others (more money drainers than Oklahoma I believe). It would be nice to use the same transponders on all of them like vdeane said though.
Logged
Newark born, Richmond bred

wxfree

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1021
  • Age: -1
  • Location: Over there
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 05:16:08 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2018, 04:16:25 PM »

Probably.  At the very least, their transponders should all be combined - from what I've read, interoperability between other states and Texas is currently a nightmare because of that.
We did use to have a Texas Turnpike Authority but was turned into the North Texas Tollway Authority. The NTTA is classified as a State agency but it only operates in certain counties which are Dallas, Tarrant, Johnson, Collin, and Denton Counties.

TXDOT has the Toll Operation Division in Austin that deals statewide with Toll Projects that are more statewide like Toll 45 or manage lanes in Dallas. But I always wanted all of the Toll Roads not to be run by TXDOT and just another agency for that.

It used to be a lot worse as a lot of the Toll Tags before hand where not going to work in other parts of the State. But after the state passed laws changing that, it doesn't matter what toll roads you got on. It didn't matter until the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority then came to the NTTA and made a deal which allowed NTTA toll tags become comparable in Oklahoma. This made the NTTA's toll tag the most powerful in the state for a few years until thew Federal Government finally stepped in 2012 and passed MAP-21 which forced states next to each other to make toll tags compatible. I didn't find out about that law until I was driving on the Kansas Turnpike and the Ticket Machine wasn't working automatically like it was so I got a Ticket anyway and when I got to Topeka to get of the Turnpike, the guy taking my money told me that my Toll Tag now works there, So I was happy about that and I moved on with my trip.

To clarify, NTTA is not a state agency.  It's a political subdivision.  NTTA, which is a regional tollway authority, and each regional mobility authority, is defined by law as "a body politic and corporate and a political subdivision of this state."  The regional authorities are political subdivisions, because they may not be entirely inside another political subdivision, such as a county, which could assume control of it.  As political subdivisions, they have their own governing bodies that have authority over the entire system.  The Toll Operations Division is a division of TxDOT, which is a state agency, and the county toll road authorities are county agencies.
Logged
All of my posts represent my personal opinions and the official views of any governmental agency that has good sense.

Brandon

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 10248
  • Mr. Accelerator is our friend; Mr. Brake is not.

  • Age: 42
  • Location: Joliet, IL
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 09:17:19 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2018, 06:30:17 PM »

At the very least, one transponder that is OTA & EZ Pass compatible.
Logged
"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." - Ramsay Bolton

Illinois: America's own banana republic.

Screw the KSA; Stand with Canada.

Guysdrive780

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 148
  • Just another guy

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Last Login: April 15, 2019, 07:22:42 PM
    • Drive on Transportation
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2018, 02:01:17 PM »

I don't think I can think of any other state like Texas as we do it so differently here. Did you know that the Collin County Toll Road Authority Exist? They won't collect tolls until they build the outer loop which is kind of in limbo right now. But they will use the same system That the NTTA uses. But honestly I rather have a unified agency take the reign. I can understand that money could go back into paying the local road funds but I still want to pay one agency and not a bunch with different rules.
Logged
I run the DOT Youtube Channel, Part time Worker for TXDOT, College Student studying Civil Engineering (Traffic Engineering). Please Keep in mind, I do not represent TXDOT and all opinions I say are my own and not TXDOT's

wxfree

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1021
  • Age: -1
  • Location: Over there
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 05:16:08 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2018, 08:36:00 PM »

I agree that it would be nice to have a single system with a single set of rules.  Are non-tag users allowed?  Is cash accepted?  Are tags from other states accepted?  Every toll road in the state should have the same answers.

However, there are reasons we ended up with all these different authorities.  Houston wanted more toll roads than the statewide agency wanted to build.  Later, Dallas didn't want the toll money they were paying to disappear into a black hole in Austin.  I don't know how to address these issues, especially in such a large state with regional toll roads in disjointed areas and not the traditional cross-state turnpikes.  Our toll system focuses on charging locals much more often than travelers.  That's why we got to pay-by-mail so easily, since so few of the users are from other states.  Maybe it makes sense to keep control and the money under local or regional authorities.

Maybe NTTA should become NTRMA and the regional tollway authority model abandoned.  Regional mobility authorities are able to do other things besides building toll roads (although they tend to favor toll roads since they pay for themselves and the authorities have no taxing power).  NTTA should be granted those additional powers and the state should have a single type of regional toll authority instead of a single one of the first type and all the others as the second type.  This wouldn't change the number of authorities and the overlap between them, but it would make the system simpler and enable NTTA to help the DFW area in additional ways.

Of course I really think the best system would eliminate the tolls and the redundant layers of government agencies and instead use a proper tax funding mechanism that actually works.  I don't understand this idea that the fuel tax no longer works because the rates haven't been increased in decades.  We'd rather impose a whole new type of tax at extra-high rates on a few roads instead of just raising the tax to a level that works.  That's like throwing away a car that won't start because it's out of gas and buying a new one instead of just filling the tank.
Logged
All of my posts represent my personal opinions and the official views of any governmental agency that has good sense.

Guysdrive780

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 148
  • Just another guy

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Last Login: April 15, 2019, 07:22:42 PM
    • Drive on Transportation
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2018, 08:59:07 PM »

Of course I really think the best system would eliminate the tolls and the redundant layers of government agencies and instead use a proper tax funding mechanism that actually works.  I don't understand this idea that the fuel tax no longer works because the rates haven't been increased in decades.  We'd rather impose a whole new type of tax at extra-high rates on a few roads instead of just raising the tax to a level that works.  That's like throwing away a car that won't start because it's out of gas and buying a new one instead of just filling the tank.

I can explain why we have them in the first place. More people are buying more fuel efficient cars now days and there are a lot less people and the amount of them is increasing. The gas tax hasn't increased nor decreased and because of inflation, our amount of revenue has decreased and its only going to go down in the future.

If TXDOT builds roads, It needs funding and our primary source of funding is the fuel tax but we are a lot slower at building projects because we need to wait and raise the funding to build the road in the first place. Therefore, our process may take 10 to 30 years to get the project off of the ground.

With the NTTA though, They can do a lot more projects a lot more quickly than TXDOT does. The NTTA could just take out a loan and then build the road. Then toll people and easily get it's money back. I worked with someone that didn't like Toll roads but understood the purpose of the NTTA as they do on average get a lot more projects done then TXDOT can in the same amount of time. in Tyler, TX, the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NETRMA) wanted another outer loop around Tyler. But TXDOT didn't have the money to build that themselves, so the NETRMA built what is now Toll 49 themselfs which is open today and operating. 

Toll roads just get built faster and in a growing state like Texas, Its crucial that we keep accommodating for future growth.
Logged
I run the DOT Youtube Channel, Part time Worker for TXDOT, College Student studying Civil Engineering (Traffic Engineering). Please Keep in mind, I do not represent TXDOT and all opinions I say are my own and not TXDOT's

wxfree

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1021
  • Age: -1
  • Location: Over there
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 05:16:08 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2018, 09:20:21 PM »

I have no problem with things like local governments borrowing money to build schools, water lines, and roads to accommodate an increasing population and then paying it back as the tax base and user fee base grow.  That makes sense to me.  On the other hand, saying that the fuel tax doesn't work because the rate is too low is what I compare to replacing a perfectly good car because it's out of gas instead of just filling the tank.  Maybe it's a good idea to borrow money to build roads and pay it back as tax revenues increase with increasing traffic (and the fuel tax rates keep up with changes).  This may be especially true if construction inflation is higher than the rate of interest.  However, with a statewide system maybe you can raise the revenue needed to expand the system as needed without borrowing money while taxing at a reasonable rate.  We have seen that happen.  There is nothing inherent in the fuel tax that says it can't be increased or that means a tax-funded road can't be funded until decades after it's needed.  A government agency should always be struggling for revenue because it incentivizes efficiency, and if it's overwhelmed with money that probably means they're overtaxing the people.  But there's no rule that says an agency must be funded at a level that doesn't enable it to do its job.  These are policy decisions that are treated like unsolvable problems.
Logged
All of my posts represent my personal opinions and the official views of any governmental agency that has good sense.

Scott5114

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 7980
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Norman, OK
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 07:18:19 PM
    • Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2018, 06:03:57 PM »

I think combining the toll road authorities is a no-brainer when it comes to increasing efficiency. There's no need to have so many different offices handling toll revenue and administration, and if all of the authorities adopted a uniform transponder system it would provide benefits to the traveling public.

If there is an objection of toll road dollars from one metro being spent elsewhere, it is possible to structure the combined authority into several regions, each of which can only spend money collected from that region. Although this would lead to waste when the money has the cash on hand to build a necessary project, but must issue bonds anyway (and pay interest) because the cash is from the wrong region.

Maybe, as long as they don't try to pool revenues like Maryland and Oklahoma do. Because there are several toll roads in Texas that generate a lot LESS money than the others (more money drainers than Oklahoma I believe).

Oklahoma has found cross-pledging (using money from one turnpike to fund another) useful to build toll projects that would not be feasible to stand alone, but which would be too expensive to build as free roads. The archetypical example is the Cherokee Turnpike, which bypassed an old segment of SH-33. Old 33 was dangerous for the amount of traffic it carried due to the hilly topography it crossed, which caused it to have been built with lots of curves. Bypassing the route with a straighter one was expensive because of the same topography. OTA was able to step in and build a turnpike, which doesn't pay for itself financially, but got the job done of making travel in the area safer.
Logged

UCFKnights

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 424
  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Last Login: April 21, 2019, 03:54:39 AM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2018, 07:33:30 PM »

I don't think I can think of any other state like Texas as we do it so differently here. Did you know that the Collin County Toll Road Authority Exist? They won't collect tolls until they build the outer loop which is kind of in limbo right now. But they will use the same system That the NTTA uses. But honestly I rather have a unified agency take the reign. I can understand that money could go back into paying the local road funds but I still want to pay one agency and not a bunch with different rules.
Florida does have a good number of tolling agencies, along with a few different agencys issuing their own transponders, although all transponders are compatible within the state (which I guess is not the case in Texas?)

We got Florida Turnpike Enterprise, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, Tampa Expressway Authority (all using SunPass), Lee County Express Authority (issuing LeeWay), Central Florida Expressway Authority (which used to be separated between Orlando and Osceola County, both with their own seperate passes, but E-Pass took over the O-Pass in the merger). There is separate interopability agreements for out of state use (LeeWay works with SC's system, and E-Pass accepts EZ Pass and offers E Pass Xtra that adds EZ Pass compatibility).
Logged

kphoger

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 9909
  • Location: Wichita, KS
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 04:59:15 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2018, 02:24:28 PM »

The NTTA could just take out a loan and then ... easily get it's money back

Actual results may vary.
Logged
Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.

bmorrill

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 51
  • Location: West "By-God" Texas
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 11:56:44 AM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2018, 10:57:13 AM »

The NTTA could just take out a loan and then ... easily get it's money back

Actual results may vary.

Ah, love me dem toll road bonds! Unfortunately, so does everyone else who buys Municipal Bonds and they're snapped up as soon as they hit the counter.
Logged

J N Winkler

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 6208
  • Location: Wichita, Kansas/Oxford, Great Britain
  • Last Login: Today at 01:49:38 AM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2018, 06:10:21 PM »

My understanding has been that all of the transponders in current use in Texas (TollTag, EZ Tag, and TxTag) are interoperable with each other.  They are certainly interoperable with K-Tag per the KS/OK/TX interoperability agreement.  I have never understood why PikePass has continued to be interoperable with TollTag only for so long, because OTA is also a signatory to that agreement.

As for merging toll agencies in Texas, I don't see that working.  There are at least four (historically at least five) different types of tolling entities in Texas, including at least one not already mentioned:

*  Regional toll authorities (e.g. NTTA)

*  County toll authorities (e.g. HCTRA, Collin County Toll Road Authority)

*  Regional mobility authorities (e.g. CTRMA, CCRMA)

*  Tolling districts (e.g., the agency that oversees the Sabine Pass toll bridge)

*  Private toll roads (e.g., the now-defunct Camino Colombia Toll Road)

With multiple examples in each category, that is a hell of a lot of fiefdoms, each of which will bitterly resist any pooling of funding or liabilities that it does not see as working in its own parochial interest.  And, as Wxfree points out, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the fuel tax as the mainstay for highway finance.  The vast bulk of vehicles on the road still burn liquid hydrocarbon fuels, even if efficiency has improved, and it makes sense to adjust the marginal tax rates since the decline in purchasing power due to inflation does not in any way track increases in VMT or fuel volume consumed.  Over time I think Texas should progress toward using tolls not as a primary means of financing capital expansion but rather as a method for regulating traffic demand on congested urban freeways.

For the tolling entities in Texas, I would rather see unification of business processes to benefit toll road users and the contracting community.  It would have the following elements:

*  A common transponder platform (substantially accomplished already with interoperability), possibly with elimination of cash-only toll facilities (i.e., each toll entity would be required to offer a means of instantaneous payment via transponder, and possibly also pay-by-mail)

*  A common sourcing platform for engineering and construction services that is fully accessible both to contractors and the general public (CivCastUSA.com largely fulfills this function for many RMAs and county toll authorities, but e.g. NTTA has its own sourcing platform)
Logged
"It is necessary to spend a hundred lire now to save a thousand lire later."--Piero Puricelli, explaining the need for a first-class road system to Benito Mussolini

Guysdrive780

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 148
  • Just another guy

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Last Login: April 15, 2019, 07:22:42 PM
    • Drive on Transportation
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2018, 01:42:51 PM »

I always thought that TXDOT should let go of its Toll Operations division and combine that with the NTTA and make the NTTA a statewide system like when the Texas Turnpike Authority Existed back when I-30 was built or I-20. I feel the state should have continued that
Logged
I run the DOT Youtube Channel, Part time Worker for TXDOT, College Student studying Civil Engineering (Traffic Engineering). Please Keep in mind, I do not represent TXDOT and all opinions I say are my own and not TXDOT's

wxfree

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1021
  • Age: -1
  • Location: Over there
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 05:16:08 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2018, 04:13:31 PM »

I always thought that TXDOT should let go of its Toll Operations division and combine that with the NTTA and make the NTTA a statewide system like when the Texas Turnpike Authority Existed back when I-30 was built or I-20. I feel the state should have continued that

The same problems would reappear.  Initially, the Texas Turnpike Authority had projects in Houston and Dallas.  Houston wanted more toll roads than TTA wanted to build, so they set up their own authority.  Later, as the only place with state toll roads, Dallas didn't want toll money to disappear in Austin and got their regional authority.  I think the problem is structural.  Even after all the toll road development, the systems are still regional.  As large a state as this is, the regions are a long way apart.  Maybe a statewide authority makes more sense if a statewide toll road is the only project, or is the backbone of the system, or if some roads cross the state and others connect different regions.  Since all of the roads are either in urban areas or are anchored around urban areas and don't connect different areas, regional control eliminates some problems.  No one area is incentivized to pursue dominance over the whole system, or needs to convince the other areas to go along with their plans.

There should be a single set of rules regarding payment options and user restrictions.  We are getting to statewide interstate tag interoperability, making all three brands usable in other states.  Progress is being made, and other things could be improved, but I have doubts about whether a statewide administrative system would work well for a road system that isn't also statewide.  This is particularly true given that this is a matter of control and money.  Houston probably doesn't think that an appointee from San Angelo should have one-fifth of the voting power on a commission that determines how they build roads and use the money (or even Tyler, if they have to be from somewhere that has a toll road).
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 04:19:09 PM by wxfree »
Logged
All of my posts represent my personal opinions and the official views of any governmental agency that has good sense.

J N Winkler

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 6208
  • Location: Wichita, Kansas/Oxford, Great Britain
  • Last Login: Today at 01:49:38 AM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2018, 04:31:43 PM »

I think a statewide tolling authority could work if it were entirely facultative in character.  One possible model is for the individual toll operators to retain control over their respective funding pots and projects, but to be required to hand over each toll project to the statewide authority to design, build, finance, and operate on a turnkey basis under the parameters of a project agreement that is similar in format and goes down to the same level of detail as a California freeway agreement.  (It would have basically the same amount of geographical information as a TxDOT schematic, but also include verbiage specifying access points, utilities, mitigation, and the respective parties' responsibilities for each.)

It would still take an element of compulsion to institute such a system, however, because inevitably some tolling entities would think they could operate their facilities more efficiently than a statewide operator, notwithstanding the latter's ability to access greater economies of scale.  Others might accept that efficiencies are at least conceptually achievable, but be wary of changing from being a large agency dealing with small consultants and contractors to being a (relatively) small agency dealing with a large agency.
Logged
"It is necessary to spend a hundred lire now to save a thousand lire later."--Piero Puricelli, explaining the need for a first-class road system to Benito Mussolini

wxfree

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1021
  • Age: -1
  • Location: Over there
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 05:16:08 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2018, 04:58:35 PM »

What about a statewide payment system, since that is really the only contact people have with the toll authorities?  There would be one set of rules regarding payment options, one mail payment system, and one tag system.  The brand and logo on the tag don't matter, so you could get whichever you want, but the accounts would all be consolidated.  Regarding things such as pre-payment amounts and low balance thresholds, there could be options, the way NTTA has, to replace the options the different authorities give.  A single system would be inherently brought into interstate interoperability as a unit, and mail billing drivers would get one statewide bill.  It would function as a statewide system as far as most drivers could tell, and regional branding and control would be unaffected.
Logged
All of my posts represent my personal opinions and the official views of any governmental agency that has good sense.

Guysdrive780

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 148
  • Just another guy

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Last Login: April 15, 2019, 07:22:42 PM
    • Drive on Transportation
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2018, 10:37:57 PM »

There is a reason why TXDOT has separate Districts in every part of the state to work on that part of the state. If we rebuild the Texas Turnpike Authority, It wouldn't surprise me if we would do the same and separate it into different districts
Logged
I run the DOT Youtube Channel, Part time Worker for TXDOT, College Student studying Civil Engineering (Traffic Engineering). Please Keep in mind, I do not represent TXDOT and all opinions I say are my own and not TXDOT's

nolia_boi504

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 61
  • Location: Houston
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 07:51:50 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2019, 07:25:51 PM »

At the very least consistency within a single metro area would be ideal. Let's face it, the 3 legs of the Texas triangle are spread more apart than cities in multiple states in other parts of the country.

I'm not sure of the other authorities, but HCTRA offers a convenient option of adding a temporary plate pass (for out of town visitors, parents, borrowed car, etc). However the feature doesn't work on Fort Bend or TXDOT tollroads, and caused us to rack up several violations. Also, imagine explaining to people unfamiliar with the area which roads to use or not to use.

It really is a hassle and is embarrassing to explain how to (or often not to) use our toll road systems to out of town guests. I'd like to believe our roads are superior to other states and take pride in them. But unfortunately the poor experience proves otherwise.

I guess from a local user perspective it means less vehicles (traffic) on the roads. But that's alot of revenue that could potentially be made by the toll authorities, which can translate into better roads, and (dare i say) less frequent increases in rates for us.

Pixel 3

Logged

Bobby5280

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1613
  • Location: Lawton, OK
  • Last Login: Today at 12:29:41 AM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2019, 09:00:43 PM »

The last time I checked the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's PikePass tag does NOT work on all Texas toll roads...yet.

PikePass interoperability was first added with NTTA roads in the Dallas Fort Worth area. The PikePass would not work on any other toll roads elsewhere in Texas as well as not work on the toll road at DFW Airport.

Just this past November the OTA announced an agreement with Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority for the OTA PikePass to work on those roads. That still leaves other toll roads in Texas NOT compatible with PikePass. The OTA hopes to get more toll roads in the Austin and Houston areas covered by PikePass sometime in 2019.
Logged

J N Winkler

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 6208
  • Location: Wichita, Kansas/Oxford, Great Britain
  • Last Login: Today at 01:49:38 AM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2019, 10:18:22 PM »

Just this past November the OTA announced an agreement with Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority for the OTA PikePass to work on those roads. That still leaves other toll roads in Texas NOT compatible with PikePass. The OTA hopes to get more toll roads in the Austin and Houston areas covered by PikePass sometime in 2019.

You should be asking OTA some hard questions about why PikePass interoperability with Texas is so piecemeal.  K-Tag became interoperable with all of the Texas transponders at the same time.  The interoperability relationship actually works better for my K-Tag than reads on native infrastructure in Kansas.  When I went to Dallas last October, the two PGBT tolls posted right away while one Kansas Turnpike toll posted incorrectly and the other posted about 10 days after the trip.
Logged
"It is necessary to spend a hundred lire now to save a thousand lire later."--Piero Puricelli, explaining the need for a first-class road system to Benito Mussolini

kphoger

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 9909
  • Location: Wichita, KS
  • Last Login: April 23, 2019, 04:59:15 PM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2019, 10:22:21 PM »

You know, I bought a PikePass instead of a KTag a few years ago, because I fully expected PikePass to become fully interoperable in Texas before KTag did.  Oops.
Logged
Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.

Bobby5280

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1613
  • Location: Lawton, OK
  • Last Login: Today at 12:29:41 AM
Re: Should Texas Combine its Toll Road Authorities?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2019, 11:25:25 PM »

The TX Tag setup appears to work all across Texas. I don't understand why the OTA couldn't just set up an interoperability arrangement through that agency. Is the RFID format/tech in OTA window stickers the same as TX Tag?

I still think there should be one single nation-wide standard of toll road RFID transponders. We have a unified standard on credit cards. There are many different kinds of credit cards, debit cards and retailer cards. But they all use the same kind of magnetic strip on the back or chip inside the card. Without a unified standard any checkout counter would have a literal Christmas tree of card swipe bull crap hanging all over the place for a bunch of different, incompatible cards. Yet this is essentially what we have with out stupidly goofy toll roads.

Yeah, congress may have passed some law about toll tags years ago. Great job on actually enforcing that law. Freaking morons.
Logged

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.