Fastest U.S. highway opens in Texas 85 mph/136.7 kph

October 25, 2012

Did you know?

New section of Texas 130 tollway — free until November 11 — opens to public

By Ben Wear
American-Statesman Staff

LOCKHART — The new section of Texas 130 southeast of Austin, already famous because of its highest-in-the-nation 85 mph speed limit, opened Wednesday after a round of speeches from Gov. Rick Perry and other officials involved in birthing the tollway.

The 41-mile stretch of road will be free to drive until Nov. 11. Starting that day, cars and other two-axle vehicles with electronic toll tags will have to pay about 15 cents a mile, costing $6.17 for the whole trip. Trucks will pay multiples of that up to 75 cents a mile, depending on the number of axles. The charge for vehicles without a toll tag — registered owners of the vehicles in that case will get a bill in the mail — will be 33 percent higher.

Central Texas now has more than 120 miles of toll roads, all of them opened in the past six years. This section of Texas 130 stretches from near Mustang Ridge to Interstate 10 east of Seguin. The northern, 49-mile stretch of Texas 130 opened in 2006-08. The speed limit on that stretch is 80 mph.

That unprecedented 85 mph speed limit, set by the Texas Transportation Commission this summer, earned the Texas Department of Transportation an additional $100 million from the SH 130 Concession Company, which built the $1.3 billion road at its own expense and will operate it for the next 50 years under a lease with TxDOT. The agency, which earlier got a $25 million concession payment from the company, will also get a cut of the tolls, starting at 4.65 percent and potentially escalating as traffic increases over the years.


Currently, only sparsely populated areas of West Texas have roads with 80 mph speed limits. Speed limits have been on the rise since the country’s maximum of 55 mph (88 kilometers per hour) was repealed in 1996.

Video: Fastest Highway in America

Video: Texas toll road is too fast for safety


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