The 25 percent discount includes all vehicles with five or more axles. Trucks with toll tags using the entire roadway will now pay $19.20 instead of the standard $25.60 - trucks paying by mail still get the discount, but will pay $25.59 with penalties included. The discounted rates are permanent.
The discount is intended to divert truck traffic from I-35, which travels directly through downtown Austin, in an effort to reduce congestion, pollution and road wear as well as increase safety. The first official report on traffic patterns has yet to be released, but the director of the Texas Turnpike Authority Division of the Texas DOT, Mark Tomlinson, said truck traffic on these roadways has already increased.
"The whole program is revenue neutral," said Tomlinson, acknowledging the state's responsibility to bond holders who helped fund the highways. However, he added that he hopes increased truck traffic will be revenue positive.