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Why Am I Still Paying Tolls in North Texas?



Q: Shouldn’t area toll roads – especially the Dallas North Tollway – be free by now?

A: Understandably, this is one of the questions we’re asked most often. NTTA’s road construction is funded by tolls – never taxes. We sell bonds to finance the original construction, and we’re obligated to repay those bonds.

So, once those bonds are paid in full (decades later), why doesn’t the state just take over those roads and remove the tolls?

It seems like a simple solution, but there are other important factors that proposal misses.

The Texas Department of Transportation gets its road funding from taxes you pay when you buy gas. (The Texas Legislature approved the current gas tax rate in 1991.) Revenue from gas taxes determines how much TxDOT has available to spend on roads. Despite the growing demand for roads in Texas, consumers here are paying less in gas taxes, because their vehicles are increasingly more fuel efficient. That puts TxDOT at a fiscal disadvantage for new road construction, and it strains the state’s ability to maintain the roads already under its management. (An article on the Texas Comptroller’s website sums it up.)

If tolls were removed from NTTA’s roads, the state would have to figure out another revenue source for maintaining our roads. Ongoing maintenance of roads may sound easy, but it is critically important to the quality and safety of your drive. Roads are billion-dollar investments, and it’s crucial to maintain them to protect your investment, just as you perform ongoing maintenance on your home or car to keep them in tip-top shape and help retain their value.

To help bridge the demand for reliable transportation options, NTTA has planned $200 million in improvements to our roads in 2019. We’ve already added new lanes on sections of the Dallas North Tollway and the President George Bush Turnpike, and we’ll continue work to widen the Bush Turnpike throughout the year while also adding lanes to the Sam Rayburn Tollway.

Besides road maintenance and repaying original construction costs, the tolls you pay on NTTA roads fund our life-saving Roadside Safety Services, which helped more than 23,000 stranded drivers in 2017. Just dial #999 for help 24/7 on any NTTA road.

We hope this clarification helps. Drive safely!