Opinion/Editorial
From the Office of State Senator Glenn Hegar, District 18

For Immediate Release
July 11, 2007
Contact: (512) 463-0118

To Toll or Not to Toll

This is a question many of my constituents have been asking lately regarding SH 99: The Grand Parkway. Is SH 99 going to be a toll road? The short answer is that as new lanes are added north of I-10 and south of FM 1093, these new lanes will be tolled. Hopefully, within ten years the entire Grand Parkway will be completed as a new loop around the outer Houston area.

Principally due to a lack of adequate funding options, our choices become very simple. Build SH 99 as a toll road or wait decades before we can realistically start construction. With the tremendous growth occurring in our area and the federal mandates to reduce our air quality issues, it is extremely important to build SH 99 as quickly as possible.

Many of you may remember that in 2005, the new overpasses built at Kingsland and Highland Knolls were proposed to be tolled after construction of the overpasses had already started. Fortunately, we were in Legislative Session at the time, which gave me time to find a way to stop the conversion of these overpasses into being tolled. During that session, I came to an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation that these overpasses and the entire segment south of I-10 and north of FM 1093 would remain free. This section of SH 99 will remain free, even if new lanes are eventually added many years down the road. Additionally, any existing lanes south of FM 1093 and north of Highway 59, will also remain free.

Hopefully, this clears up some of the confusion on the future plans for expanding and building the Grand Parkway. Currently, my office is still researching the cost and areas that may need sound walls along the Grand Parkway. Once, we have that information, then we will try to make sure local residents receive any information that I receive.

Thank you for all of your questions and concerns. My office is here to serve you and to further answer your questions or concerns.

Glenn Hegar
State Senator District 18

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