Possible Loop 49 Toll Causes Some Road Rage - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/7/04-Smith County

Possible Loop 49 Toll Causes Some Road Rage

Road rage is usually directed at drivers, but for those looking forward to driving on 'easy street,' the new Loop 49, it's being pointed somewhere else: news of a toll on the alternative route to Loop 323 in Tyler.

District Engineer of Tex-Dot, Mary Owen says it would benefit community members in the future, making extra money to speed the completion of the Loop by up to 20 years.

"The only way we can recognize that with our current level of funding is to basically propose the alternative of tolling, and letting the community basically support itself," says Owen.

But some ask, wouldn't a line of drivers all digging for change and waiting to pay toll fees only defeat the purpose of the Loop? Tx-Dot says it won't.

"We're looking at going totally electric. So anyone who would want to use the corridor would have to purchase electronic toll tags and it would be very smooth: no waiting," says Owen.

Some that were planning to use the road say, more convenient travel in the future is not as important as hanging onto their money right now.

"That's 20 years down the road and we could use the new loop now," says one potential Loop driver.

"I don't think it's right, with the taxes that we pay," says another possible driver on the Loop.

"I'm not going to pay, I'm not going to pay to use a toll road I'll figure out another way," says a Gresham resident who was planning to use the Loop.

Preliminary estimates to travel the entire toll way are around a dollar, which some say is a bargain to ditch the headache of Loop 323.

"It doesn't bother me a bit, it's just another tax law gone to fire, so if I use it, I guess I'll have to pay."

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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