Toll Road Offers Fast Cash to Texas
Texas stands to receive $100 million from the private operators of a state toll road for raising its speed limit to 85 miles per hour, a contractual payoff that is drawing criticism from consumer groups.
The Texas Transportation Commission voted Aug. 30 to bump up the limit for a 41-mile portion of the 91-mile toll road between Austin and San Antonio, making it the fastest stretch of highway in the U.S.
The new segment of the toll road, State Highway 130, is set to open this fall and will be run by SH 130 Concession Co., a consortium of private road builders.
A contract the company signed with Texas in 2007 offers the state a one-time payment of $100 million for approving an 85 mph speed limit. The payout would have dropped to $67 million if the limit was set at 80 mph.
Some rural roads in Texas and Utah permit speeds up to 80 mph, and motorists on German autobahns average 84 mph.