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Current law allows the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to contract with third party vendors to collect tolls for projects that are part of the state highway system. Mostly these tolls are collected by mail, or automatically processed electronically through the use of a toll tag that is connected to a credit or debit card. There is only one physical service center where a person may walk in and make payment in person.
SB 1467 would stipulate that a person who enters into a contract with TxDOT to process toll payments would be allowed to charge a transaction fee with a maximum amount set by TxDOT not to exceed $3.
No changes have been made to this bill in House committee. The second chamber sponsor is Rep. Larry Gonzales.
First chamber recommendation:
We support this legislation for its support of individual liberty and, to some extent, free markets. By allowing a third party vendor to collect a nominal fee for processing a toll bill payment, SB 1467 would increase the likelihood that more in-person payment centers would open up around the state in addition to the one location already established in Austin. The aim here is to get grocery stores, convenience stores, and other businesses that people regularly patronize to process these payments. This would give toll road users more flexibility in the way that they pay their tolls. Currently, the only physical location where in-person payments can be made is at the TxDOT office in Austin.
By engaging the private sector, with the incentive of allowing them to charge a nominal fee, this bill would allow free market competition among toll payment processing service providers. Some locations may choose to offer this as a free service to their customers, while other locations may choose to charge a fee. Ostensibly the fees would vary among service providers but not exceed the $3 cap. This legislation would also promote individual liberty by giving Texans the freedom to choose from a potential selection of locations to make their toll payments based on what is most convenient for them. For these reasons we support SB 1467.