With Hwy. 281 In Mind, Campbell Bill Aims To Restrict Future State Toll Projects

May 15, 2013

The Senate has passed a bill that prohibits the state’s transportation department from turning free roads into toll roads, but the "do-or-die" deadline is approaching fast for it to clear the House in time.

Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, authored Senate Bill 1029, which addresses the conversion of existing state roads into tollways. She said there are several highways throughout the state being eyed for this type of tolling, one of which is Hwy. 281.

"The concern is that TXDOT is going to come through and toll existing lanes, and this bill prevents that it doesn't prevent new building," Campbell said.

The bill leaves the opportunity open for the state to build toll roads within the boundaries of a few simple rules, one of which is that if toll lanes are constructed on an existing road, there must be at least the same number of free lanes available to drivers.

She said the bill excludes frontage roads as a factor in that equation.

Campbell knows she has a lot of work ahead of her as the bill must now pass out of a House committee and then the full House before this Saturday's deadline.