AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas transportation officials are removing all new tollway projects from a significant 10-year construction plan, including what would have been additional toll lanes on Interstate 35 through Central Texas.
The Texas Transportation Commission unanimously voted Thursday to scrap all tolled projects from its Unified Transportation Program. The decision came despite pleas of nearly a dozen political, civic and business leaders in Central Texas to keep the I-35 express lanes in the plan.
The commission had received pressure from Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who were responding to conservative, anti-toll activists arguing that Texas voters assumed new toll projects would cease when they approved two constitutional amendments directing more tax dollars to the state Transportation Department. Those amendments state that influx of money can’t go toward toll projects.