Beginning Nov. 1, certain veterans will be able to drive toll-free on toll roads managed by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
The Qualified Veteran Discount Program was unanimously approved by the CTRMA board at its July 25 meeting, and will remain in effect through 2021, but must be reauthorized to continue past 2021.
“While the Mobility Authority relies on toll revenue rather than taxing authority to deliver mobility solutions for Central Texas, we are pleased to be able to offer this program to veterans who have served our country,” said CTRMA Board Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein.
Participating CTRMA roadways include the 183A Toll, 290 Toll, the 71 Toll Lane and the future 183 South and SH 45 SW toll roads. Qualified veterans include disabled veterans and Purple Heart, Legion of Valor or Medal of Honor recipients. In order to participate in the program and have tolls waived, veterans are required to register with CTRMA using an online portal before using the toll roads.
Participation is limited to one license plate per veteran, and that vehicle must be associated with a qualified specialty license plate and electronic toll tag account (TxTag, EZ TAG, TollTag, K-Tag, Pike Pass, or BancPass). Acceptance into the program requires that all outstanding tolls incurred prior to Nov. 1 are paid in full.
CTRMA advises that veterans should be aware that toll charges incurred on the MoPac Express Lane will not be waived under this program.
TxDOT offers free tolls on roads it operates, for any vehicle that has a designated license plate for a disabled veteran, a Purple Heart recipient, a Medal of Honor recipient or a Legion of Valor member — all of whom are eligible to receive military-designated license plates for free. Unlike the CTRMA program, there is no toll tag requirement with TxDOT.
According to CTRMA officials, TxDOT gives up about 2.4 percent of its toll-accrued funds because of the veteran toll waiver.
Due to its one-vehicle limitation, CTRMA officials say it won’t have to relinquish as much financially. Tracie Brown, the authority’s director of operations, told the board in May that about $1 million in toll revenue would be lost in the first year, rising to $2.5 million in 2025. CTRMA says it will have about $61 million in toll revenue from electronic toll tags this year, along with an additional $14.4 million from pay-by-mail tolls.
State Rep. Tony Dale, a Cedar Park Republican, said he has pushed for CTRMA to offer the toll waiver, citing the large veteran population in his district. In 2009, legislation was passed and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry to allow toll agencies statewide to waive the tolls but did not require it.
For more information about the Qualified Veterans Discount Program visit www.mobilityauthority.com/faq/veterans.