Yesterday, State Highway 130 opened for hurried travelers. Highway 130 is a 41-mile toll road that stretches from Austin and San Antonio and allows drivers to travel 85 mph, making it the fastest highway in the United States.
The toll road was built to help ease traffic congestion along Interstate 35 and was constructed by the private company Cintra-Zachry. The project cost $1.4 billion, but the state didn’t have to foot the bill.
“SH 130 is an outstanding highway and a great example of how transportation solutions can be realized when government and the private sector work together on behalf of all Texans,” said Ted Houghton, Chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission. “Commuters and business people traveling through central Texas no longer have to deal with congestion, and best of all, taxpayers did not get the bill.”
Many have expressed concern over the high speed limit. Last month, the ATA asked the state of Texas to reconsider the speed limit, but to no avail.
“Higher speeds dramatically increase the risks of a catastrophic crash. On today’s busy and congested highways, it is simply unfathomable that a state would allow drivers to put themselves and others at risk by increasing speed limits to such excessive heights,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “The state’s obvious attempt to generate more traffic and greater profit from tolls for private investors, at the public’s expense, highlights the trade-offs associated with relying too much on the private sector to finance highways. I would hope that Texas will quickly see the error in its policy and reverse course.”
Bill Meadows, Texas Transportation Commissioner says it’s not speed that causes accidents, it’s drivers not driving responsibly.
“Driving safely begins with safe drivers and it’s our responsibility to remind people how to remain safe on Texas roads,” said Meadows. “The steps are basic ones, but we must still be vigilant in reminding drivers of how serious it is every time they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.”
Drivers, what do you think? Is 85 mph too fast and will you use this highway?