The North Texas Toll way Authority has given fair warning that an increase in fares is in the offing - probably in about a year and a half. Right now tolls are based on 10-cents per miles and new tolls are expected to go up 10% to 11-cents per mile for cars with toll tags. Cash users will pay a premium.
At present plans for the North Dallas Toll road to extend all the way to the Grayson County (that's where Sherman and Denison are) line. But other folks want toll roads too. Residents in eastern Dallas County want the George Bush Toll way extended south into Mesquite. Downtown Dallas boosters have been pushing quietly for years for a Houston Street Bypass that would allow cars to enter the southern end of downtown without having to drive through dowtown to get there.
Toll roads are increasingly the option of choice for building new transportation arteries. With gas prices high and rising an increase in gasoline taxes is deemed politically unacceptable. But the cost of tollroads keeps rising. Initial estimates for extending the Bush Toll road into eastern Dallas county doubled from $442 million to $772 million in two years. And engineers warn increased energy costs could drive even that amount higher.
Toll road boosters see them as rightly shifting costs to users. And they note that the projected increases in 2007 would only push the end-to-end cost of a trip of the North Dallas Toll way up to $2.30 from $2.10. The Toll way Authority also vows no more increases for another decade.