NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Get ready to pay to drive on Interstate-35E, between I-635/LBJ Freeway to Denton. The state legislature has given the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) the power to make some of the lanes in I-35E toll lanes.
Essentially TxDOT would partner with private companies to pay for expanding the roadway. For decades, the expansion has seemed out of reach because of the $4 billion price tag.
“I-35E [expansion] has been planned for 20 years but we’ve never been able to get over the financial hurdle,” said Rider Scott with the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition.
Scott says the expansion is overdue and there is no other way to pay for the project. “The legislature has approved sweeping legislation in Senate Bill 1420 that will allow the Texas Department of Transportation to allow ‘congestion priced managed lanes’ to bring private equity to build that project, long needed.”
According to Scott, the toll lanes would pay for the road and benefit divers. “Two managed lanes will be available, in the middle, for drivers if they so choose,” he explained. “They will be guaranteed the right to travel at 50 mph which during peak rush periods can be a boon to many of our drivers.”
The toll road option would basically mean that private companies, looking to invest in the growing and relatively safe toll road market, would put up the money for the expansion. In turn, they would recoup their money from the collected tolls.
The plan would include four free lanes, in each direction and new lanes on the access road.
The new authority would go into effect in September and Scott says they hope to start asking for bids very soon after that.