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State rep wants disabled veterans exempted from toll road payments

By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas -- Local state Rep. Joe Pickett is asking the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority board to consider exempting disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, and Medal of Honor recipients from having to pay the toll on the new Cesar Chavez express lanes.

"Tolls are very new to El Paso. [The exemption] is something that's offered other places. I don't think it's right to say if you're a veteran in another part of Texas that has this offered, that it shouldn't be here, it should be everywhere in Texas," Pickett said.

But according to Raymond Telles, the executive director of CRRMA, it's not that simple.

"We need to figure out from a technical standpoint, technically how would it work, how would we actually identify the distinct classes of disabled veterans, Medal of Honor, how would we actually identify them? Would it be from plates? Would they submit their plates to us? We don't know any of that," Telles said. "Then we'd also have to identify how our back office providers would actually flag those transactions and exempt them, and then lastly, it's an important part, we'd have to figure out what the cost would be to implement it, and then the lost revenues as well."

Regardless, Pickett is confident the proposal will be accepted.

He has asked the CRRMA board to take action on it during their next meeting in February.