What is the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority?

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority) is an independent government agency authorized through state legislation in 2002 to improve the transportation system in Williamson and Travis counties. The Mobility Authority’s mission is to implement innovative, multi-modal transportation solutions that reduce congestion and create transportation choices that enhance quality of life and economic vitality.

I am confused by all the toll roads in central Texas. Who operates which roads?

In Texas, there are multiple transportation agencies that operate toll roads, issue their own toll tags, and do their own billing. In Central Texas, there are two: the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority).

Central Texas toll roads operated by the Mobility Authority

  • 183A Toll: An 11.6 mile toll road which extends from north of RM 620 to US 183 near the San Gabriel River in northwest Travis and Williamson counties. It has three tolled lanes in each direction and non-tolled frontage road lanes north of RM 1431.
  • 290 Toll (Manor Expressway): A 6.2-mile toll road along US 290 from US 183 to east of SH 130 in eastern Travis County. It has three tolled and three non-tolled lanes in each direction.
  • Express 1 Toll (MoPac Express Lane): An 11-mile stretch of variably-priced toll lanes, one in each direction, barrier separated and adjacent to the non-tolled general purpose lanes along MoPac between Cesar Chavez and Parmer Lane.
  • 71 Toll Lane: The Mobility Authority operates the 71 Toll Lanes, a 3.9-mile limited-access toll road along SH 71 between Presidential Boulevard at Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) and SH 130 near Onion Creek.

Central Texas toll roads operated by TxDOT

  • MoPac (Loop 1) North of Parmer
  • SH 45 N
  • SH 45 SE
  • SH 130
Why aren't the funds raised by the gas tax paying for new road construction?

The Federal government hasn't increased its portion of the gas tax since 1993, and Texas hasn't seen a state gas tax increase since 1991. Gas taxes are based on cents per gallon, not a percentage. Of the state gas tax of 20 cents per gallon, the Texas Constitution requires that 5 cents be dedicated to supporting public education. The remaining 15 cents per gallon state gas tax has lost nearly half its purchasing power to inflation since 1991. Because the gas tax is set at a static amount, decreases in consumer demand due to people driving less and/or driving more fuel-efficient vehicles will also show up as less revenue. Furthermore, Texas is also a "donor state" at the federal level, which means that it gets less in federal funding than it pays in federal gas taxes. When you factor in the state’s robust population growth and the resulting demand on the roadway infrastructure, funding has not kept up with the need for new or expanded roads, thus congestion has gotten worse. Because of this, alternative financing options are considered crucial to funding new projects. Of note, gas tax revenues collected by the state do not always return to the most congested regions. Regional Mobility Authorities use local dollars to meet local needs.

Will the construction of toll roads pose a threat to our environment?

Building any road – whether tolled or non-tolled – requires taking steps to protect the environment. As a local agency, the Mobility Authority recognizes the importance of protecting the natural resources that are unique to Central Texas.

The Mobility Authority is committed to working closely with environmental agencies, environmental groups, neighborhood residents and all interested stakeholders to ensure projects are developed in a manner that is consistent with community needs and environmental regulations.

It is important to note that many of the existing roadway corridors where toll roads are planned have outdated environmental control systems. As the toll roads are constructed and the older non-tolled roads are upgraded, modern water quantity and quality facilities will be constructed, improving water quality and reducing the risk of flooding. Reduced congestion also results in less vehicle idling time, meaning less air pollution.

How long does it take to complete an environmental study?

On average, a study takes between 2-6 years.

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