Commentary

Texas continues pioneering role in tollroads

Texas is showing that it is still the nation’s trailblazer when it comes to toll roads. From a press release from the Texas Department of Transportation:

In just a few weeks, motorists can enjoy an easier, faster, shorter commute in north Austin and Round Rock instead of their daily crawl through congestion. On Nov. 1, approximately 25 miles of the region’s first toll roads will open nearly a year ahead of schedule, the Texas Department of Transportation announced today.

Tollroads often allow new capacity to be built faster than under conventional, tax funded approaches. The revenues can be used to leverage private capital and make the projects attractive for private operators who are more nimble and flexible. In Texas, they go a step further–all new road projects first have to be evaluated based on whether they can be funded through tolls before they can tap into tax revenue.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.