Texas Opens High-Speed Toll Road

85-mph
Several interstates have speed limits higher than 65 mph, but Texas has the first 85 mph toll road. The privately owned, 91-mile highway recently opened, giving Texas the fastest highway in the U.S.

The high-speed segment of Texas State Highway 130 stretches between San Antonio and Austin, Texas. The Detroit Bureau reports that it is operated by SH 130 Concession Co., which paid a $100 million fee for the right to set the 85 mph speed limit.

Motorists pay 15 cents per mile to use it and get to bypass the city of Austin, an area typically clogged by traffic. Originally conceived by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the superhighway is only a fraction of what the governor originally envisioned. Perry's Trans Texas Corridor was to have been a high-speed, privately owned highway across the state. It was pared down to a 91-mile section.

Not everyone is happy about the increased speed limit, however. "The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up," Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said in a statement.

Would you pay a toll to be able to legally drive 85 mph? Tell us in the comments section below.

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 31, 2012 | Comments (9)

Comments 

Bob

I completely love the idea. What scares me a bit is other drivers who don't appreciate these speeds. At 85mph everyone needs to follow the basic driving laws (which most don't on highways) such as passing only on the left, and keeping a safe following distance. People need to be focused. Drive with two hands and avoid distractions. No eating, texting, talking on the phone, etc. At 85mph you cover 124 feet per second. This is serious stuff.

I drove the 80mph road once in Utah, and I couldn't even go 80 because some jerk was going slower than the speed limit in the left lane. It caused major backups and tailgating, and was a worse danger than the speed itself.

I hope this is a success and sets a standard for highways across the country.

Eike

Where i live, 85 is considered a rather average highway-speed. Nonetheless you should be aware of your surroundings.. By the aay, i am from Germany

Wain

If you're driving a competent car, 80 or 85 feels like 50 We drive German and they feel so safe at any speed. i'm curious to know how safe other cars feel at high speeds?

Matt C.

This Highway has been open for a wile now. Liked traveling it, but I did notice my MPGs go way down. I was nice to circumvent the dreaded Austin I35 split even at slower speeds.

George

Highways were designed for 85mph 50 years ago.
Look at a Popular Mechanics from the late 1950s and see that they had tires that could sustain 120mph at elevated inflation pressures.
If you are paying to use a public road (illegally given to a private company), why is there a speed limit at all?
Why not 100mph day, 80mph night [let us respect the nocturnal animals]

Shorebreak

Yup. I liked the lady that passed me in her Chevy Suburban when I was legally doing 80 mph on I-10 in Texas. She was texting and certainly oblivious to what was going on around her.

J Pena Jr

SPEED KILLS!!!!

Does anyone remember this slogan used to convince you to hold down your speed?

However, if this WERE true, everyone that boards an airplane would be dead.

It is NOT speed that kills, it is the IMMEDIATE CESSATION of speed that does you in, such as when going from 85 to 0 in seconds or fractions of a second as you strike the tree or other obstacle, moving or not.

I have driven the Texas toll road and it is just short of a miracle to be able to drive around San Antonio (yes, I drive from Uvalde "past" San Antonio on 90/10 all the way to Seguin and pick up the toll road there. It's worth it!), around the rolling parking lot from San Antonio to Austin and around Austin with relative ease and in a fraction of the time.

My medical insurance should be made to have to pay the toll because my blood pressure actually goes down when I am on that road.

I drove it a couple of times without the proper tag, did not even MIND paying the fines (additional fees), and actually SUBSCRIBED to the service although I go to Waco very infrequently (on ex-wife business, you know...so VERY infrequently ;^)

But...this feeling of euphoria will cease to exist in the near future because the drive-in-the-fast-lane-because-65-IS-fast drivers are beginning to discover this road. I found that in order to take full advantage of the road you sometimes must serpentine through traffic as the 65 mph drivers will NOT cede the left lane. As their numbers inevitably increase, the toll road will rack up fatality statistics comparable to other areas.

When this happens, some original toll road opponent\politician or other will admonish..... "SEE"


"SPEED KILLS!!!!"

When you have as much open road as Texas does, having an 85 MPH speed limit is absolutely justified. Other states in the Midwest and South should adopt such laws as well.

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