Pay a toll, drive faster

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Adam Tuss,

WASHINGTON – Area drivers are already paying tolls to drive faster, but in other states the trend could be headed to another level.

Drivers already have the toll option along roads, including the InterCounty Connector in Maryland. On the all-electronic ICC, drivers can pay a toll and drive at about 55 mph any time of the day.

Likewise in Virginia, the soon-to-open Beltway Express Lanes offer the promise of a speedy rush hour trip of 55 mph, if drivers pay a toll.

In Texas — where of course, everything is bigger — a new toll road could have drivers flying down the highway.

A new toll road between Austin and San Antonio will offer an 85-mph speed limit for drivers when it opens later this year.

Other states may take a page out of Texas’ playbook and raise speed limits on their own toll roads, transportation experts tell USA TODAY.

Joshua Schank, president and chief executive officer of the non-partisan Eno Center for Transportation, says as federal funds dry up, higher speeds will be one of the premium services states may offer.

Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, a non- profit representing states’ highway safety offices, tells USA TODAY there is a “a bit of an ‘arms race’ with speed limits” among the states.

Adkins calls the 85-mph speed limit “alarming” because drivers will think they can go faster and likely won’t survive if they are in crashes.

The Texas Department of Transportation says the new toll road has been designed and tested for high-speed travel.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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