Driving a Profit: The Financial Mechanics of Texas Toll Roads

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According to a report by USA Today, the United States has over 5,000 miles of toll roads within its borders. However, when it comes to numbers, no state in America has more toll roads than our state. So, out of curiosity, you might ask, “How much does Texas make from toll roads?”

While the actual numbers are not consistently disclosed, a report in 2017 by the NTTA reveals revenue of around 762 million USD. Another report in 2013 shows that.
Harris County Toll Road Authority generated 560 million USD. By extrapolation, it’s safe to say that Texas Authorities make over 1.4 billion USD in tolls per year.

If you’re interested in discovering more about Texas toll roads, where the toll money goes, who operates them, and more, keep reading this guide!

Toll Road sign at a toll bridge in - Texas View

Texas Profit from Toll Roads

The actual figures that toll road operators make were not publicly announced until very recently. According to House Bill 803 Session 86(R), tolling entities and operators must publish a yearly financial summary that clearly states how much money they make and spend on toll roads.

NTTA Financial Records

In 2017, the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) announced its fiscal year revenue of around 762 million USD.

In 2020, the NTTA system financial dashboard shows that the organization generated 712 million USD in road toll revenue.

According to the Spokesperson of the NTTA, the organization doesn’t keep financial records of individual projects and toll roads.

Country Wide Reports by Statista

In another report by Statista, it was revealed that Harris County Toll Road Authority (the second largest toll road authority in the state), made around 560 million USD, which was only 12 million USD less than NTTA in that year.

Based on this information, and keeping in mind that there are other small toll road operators in Texas, the total revenue from all toll roads in Texas would be around 1.4 billion USD or more.

Dallas downtown skyline at twilight Texas - Texas View

How Is the Toll Roads Money Spent?

In 2018, the House Committee on Transportation passed a bill that indicates that “any revenue generated from toll roads must repay the costs of initial construction, including infrastructure and maintenance.

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For example, the same report from 2017 also revealed where the money from tolls is being spent.

According to the NTTA spokesperson, around 76.4% of the revenue was used to pay back debts and maintain and manage the toll road operations; the other 23.6% financed future road projects.

Why Does Texas Have So Many Toll Roads?

As previously mentioned, our state has more toll roads than any other state, which raises a lot of curiosity among us, and the reason behind that is simply due to the taxing system here.

Roads are usually built with government money that comes from taxes, and since Texas has relatively low gasoline taxes, there’s not enough revenue to build large highway projects.

In that case, states will charge us toll rates on some roads built to fund these construction projects.

This allows new road projects to be built while keeping taxes low on the general public, which also explains why some road tolls are removed once the construction debts have been paid.

How Do I Pay Texas Road Tolls?

There’s a wide range of methods to pay road tolls in Texas. These methods include:

  • Paying electronically through  EZ Tag, TxTag, TollTag, K Tag, or Pikepass.
  • Paying in person in TxTag centers
  • Paying by vehicle plate
  • Paying online
  • Paying through mail

The methods may vary from country to country, so you may have to check your local authority for viable payment methods.

Who Operates The Toll Roads in Texas?

No specific entity is responsible for all toll road operations throughout Texas. Instead, different authorities are responsible for specific roads. These operators include:

  • Texas Department of Transportation: Control operations of most State-operated toll roads, especially the Central Texas Turnpike System.
  • North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA): The only regional tollway authority in Texas, responsible for the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex toll roads.
  • County toll road and Regional mobility authorities: These are smaller authorities responsible for toll roads within one or more counties.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: Controls the tolls on International Parkway

Texas Toll Roads FAQs


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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
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Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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