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Toll roads set to open in early January
By: Chrisdyann Uribe
EL PASO, Texas-- The first toll road in El Paso will soon open, and it comes with many questions, including how to pay for the toll and how it works.
The Cesar Chavez Toll Road, located from Zaragoza Road to U.S. Route 54, is set to open in early January, depending on how well the testing goes and if weather cooperates.
The base rate of the toll road is 10 cents. Drivers can get on and off the toll road where they like. How long they stay on the road will affect the price of the toll.
There are gantries that will allow you to get on and off earlier, so the lowest rate that youll ever pay is 40 cents, but if you go the whole 9 miles, youll pay 90 cents, said Raymond Telles, executive director of Camino Real Regional Mobile Authority.
There are two ways to pay for the toll -- a prepaid toll sticker, or a picture is taken of your license plate and you are billed later.
The prepaid toll sticker is placed on your car and linked to an account, from which a certain amount of money is debited.
The second option, for those interested in trying the toll road once, can drive through the toll road, and a picture is taken of the license plate. Then, the person registered to the license plate will be billed the amount, and they then have 30 days to pay it. Failure to pay the bill will result in fees much higher than the original amount.
That billing option, however, is more costly to drivers.
Theres the camera involved. Because we have to track who you are through the Department of Motor Vehicles, then send you a bill, then go through all that work. The collection process will cost you more, Telles said.
The price for the prepaid toll sticker is more cost effective. There is no cost to register or buy the sticker. The only money used will be for the toll road.
These options are more advanced than how toll roads used to be.
Its all-electronic toll collection. Theres no money in a bucket. Its not like that anymore, Telles said.
Many El Pasoans are concerned about those who dont live in Texas and may abuse the system by not paying the bill mailed to them. TxDOT has a solution for that, as well.
We have teamed up with El Paso Police Department. When (international drivers) try to cross back into America, we will be notified. Well know this individual is at the bridge at this time. Well be able to set up sting operations with Police Department so we can deal with those violators, Telles said.
The toll road will have one lane in each direction on the Cesar Chavez Border Highway, with the speed limit at 60 miles per hour.
Drivers interested in registering for the prepaid toll sticker can do so at www.epexpress.org.