Select vets' toll-free status spreads from Dallas to TxDOT TRs
By Peter Samuel
2012-08-30: Just a week after a Volvo dealership and NTTA announced toll-free rides for Legion of Valor members on tollroads in the Dallas metro area, Texas DOT is upping the patriotic ante by announcing toll-free trips for "select veterans." This includes disabled veterans and recipients of the Purple Heart medal and congressional Medals of Honor.
Whereas the waiving of tolls for Legion of Valor medalholders in the Dallas area only meant about 12 people driving toll-free (actually Volvo paying their tolls) the TxDOT veterans toll waiver affects some 7,360 drivers in the Austin area and about 161,000 Texas-wide.
Toll roads where these veterans will be able to drive free of charge in the Austin area are: MoPac Loop 1, SH45 North, SH45 Southeast and SH130 (Segments 1-4). These are known as the Central Texas Turnpike Project.
Also going toll-free for special vets are other TxDOT pikes - the Camino Colombia TR, SH255 north of Laredo and Loop 49 in Tyler.
Cost of the special vets gesture is put at close to $1 million a year.
Today's decision is an initiative of the state governor Rick Perry. The announcement said: "Governor Rick Perry recently called on the Transportation Commission to begin implementing a program that would help support Texas veterans getting around Texas with less financial burden."
Perry is quoted as saying: "Our veterans are motivated by a higher calling that is rooted in the fundamental values of our nation. In Texas, we understand and appreciate the sacrifices the men and women of our armed forces make in defense of our freedom, and we consider it an honor to support them."
A permissive law was passed back in 2009 (HB3139) which gives toll authorities the right to offer vets free rides.
Also in support of the move Phil Wilson, executive director of TxDOT: "We are able to celebrate our freedom each and every day due to the unwavering sacrifice of our military's brave men and women, so making it a bit easier for them to move through our great state is the least we can do. We thank Texas veterans for their service and hope the free use of our toll roads recognizes the price they paid for our freedom."
A prediction: Houston next.
on disabled vets: