Passed 84th Regular Session:
- SB 57 Relating to information collected by a regional tollway authority.
Synopsis: SB 57 establishes the confidentiality of the personal identifying information, including payment information, of public transit riders and toll-road users who pay by mail or are exempt from tolls. This provision extending confidentiality to pay-by-mail users of toll roads would not apply to Transportation Code, sec. 372.102(a), which permits toll entities to publish a list of the registered owners or lessees or vehicles that are liable for unpaid tolls.
- SB 678 Relating to coordinated county transportation authorities.
Synopsis: S.B. 678 amends the Transportation Code to cap at $125 million the total liability of a coordinated county transportation authority and a railroad that enter into an agreement to provide public passenger rail services, and the governing boards, directors, officers, employees, and agents of the authority and railroad, for all claims for damages arising from a single incident involving the provision of public passenger rail services under the agreement. The bill applies only to public passenger rail services provided under an agreement between an authority created before January 1, 2005, and public passenger rail lines and rail rights-of-way that are located in the Interstate 35W/Interstate 35 corridor or are a northern extension of existing passenger rail service in the Interstate 35E corridor.
- SB 1467 Relating to authorizing the collection of a service charge on certain electronic toll collection customer account payments.
Synopsis: SB 1467 allows a private entity that allowed customers to make electronic toll account payments under an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in a location other than a TxDOT office to assess a service charge in addition to the amount paid on the account. The Texas Transportation Commission would set the maximum service charge, which could not be greater than $3.
- HB 790 Relating to noise abatement procedures on certain turnpikes.
Synopsis: H.B. 790 requires the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to conduct a study assessing the implementation and effectiveness of sound mitigation measures on highways that are part of the state highway system and toll roads or turnpikes under the jurisdiction of a toll project entity.
- HB 1394 Relating to the composition, governance, and authority of a regional tollway authority that has or proposes to have projects located in counties that are not part of the authority.
Synopsis: HB 1394 specifies conditions under which certain counties that were outside a tollway authority but contained part of an authority’s turnpike project become part of the authority. This would occur on the date the authority determined that:
- toll collections at assessment facilities within the county accounted for at least 4 percent of tolls collected on all the authority’s turnpike projects; and
- the county’s population was at least 4 percent of the total population of the counties already in the authority.
6. HB 1833 amends current law relating to agreements of certain counties to acquire, construct, maintain, or operate a toll bridge.
Synopsis: H.B. 1833 removes the population bracket to allow any county along the United States-Mexico border to contact with another entity to operate a toll bridge. This will allow counties to determine the most efficient method to operate these critical facilities and contract with another entity if that be determined to be the best option.
- HB 2549 Relating to the authority and operation of regional tollway authorities.
Synopsis: HB 2549 makes several changes to the Transportation Code to address issues of enforcement, billing, and reporting for tollway authorities.
Enforcement. The bill specifies that a tollway authority contracted to provide tolling services for a toll project would be considered the toll project entity for the purposes of enforcing unpaid tolls. The authority will not be allowed to stop, detain, or impound a vehicle unless specifically permitted to do so by a tolling service agreement.
Billing. For unpaid tolls collected by mail, the bill will change the payment due date from no later than 30 days to no later than 25 days after the date the authority mailed the invoice to the correct address of the registered owner of the vehicle associated with the unpaid toll. Timeframes associated with subsequent unpaid toll notices will derive from this initial 25-day deadline.
A court assessing and collecting a fine from a vehicle owner who failed to pay a toll after repeated notice, could collect and forward to the authority the properly assessed unpaid toll and other fees as determined by the court after a hearing or by written agreement of the vehicle owner. The bill also allows tolling authorities to send information such as invoices to tollway users online, instead of by first-class mail, if the recipient agreed to the terms of electronic billing and receipt of information.
Reporting. The bill has changed the due date for the toll authority’s annual report to county commissioners from March 31 to June 30.
- HB 2612 Relating to a report to the legislature regarding the elimination of toll roads.
Synopsis: H.B. 2612 states the Texas Department of Transportation shall submit to each standing committee of the senate and house of representatives that has primary jurisdiction over transportation matters a report that:
- lists the amount of debt service on bonds issued for each toll project in this state;
- identifies, based on criteria provided by the Texas Transportation Commission, bonds that would be appropriate for accelerated or complete lump-sum payment of debt service; and
- proposes a plan to eliminate all toll roads in this state, except for tolls on roads constructed, operated, or maintained only with proceeds from the issuance of bonds by a toll project entity other than the department.