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Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, oversees Texas transportation and is headquartered in Austin. The Texas Legislature created the organization in 1917, although the agency has had several names throughout the past century.TxDOT is run by a five-member commission and an executive director selected by the commission. Commission members are appointed by the governor, with the advice of the Texas Senate, and serve overlapping six-year terms.The department is divided into 25 districts, each of which oversees construction and maintenance of state highways. Austin’s district includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson counties.In Austin, the organization encompasses entities including Capital Metro; the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, known as CAMPO; the city’s transportation department; and the chamber of commerce. TxDOT organized the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign, which began in 1986. Also, it runs the TxTag program, which bills drivers for highway tolls by scanning a sticker on the driver’s windshield at toll stations.

Toll Break to Pull Big Rigs Off I-35?

SH 130 .jpeg
courtesy SH 130 Concession Co.

If you drive on I-35, state transportation officials hope you’ll see fewer big trucks next month than you do today.

The state Transportation Commission approved a substantial toll reduction for 18-wheelers that circumnavigate the city on the Texas 130 and Texas 45 toll roads. Instead of paying $33 to bypass Austin, trucks will pay $11 or less.

“The goal is to give some traffic relief to Interstate 35 through the Austin metropolitan area,” said Mark Cross, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman. “35 between state highway 71 and U.S. 183 in Austin is the fourth most congested highway in the state.”

The big-rig toll discounts run from Feb. 4 to March 3. TxDOT says its contracts with the toll road owners prevent a permanent reduction.

Cross says the discount period will produce some valuable data about truck traffic patterns. It may also convince truckers that bypassing Austin’s congestion is worth the money, even without the discount.

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