Starting on January 1, many veterans with disabilities will be able to drive on many Texas toll roads for free and without a special pass. All that is needed to qualify for avoiding many tollway fees is a license plate that shows you are a disabled vet, a purple heart recipient, or a Medal of Honor recipient. Veterans do not need to be signed up for the program.
The following roads are now free to veterans with a 50 percent service-related disability rating, or a 40 percent disability rating that involves a lower limb amputation.
- Loop 1 Tollway
- Texas 45 North
- Texas 45 Southeast
- Much of Texas 130
- Camino Colombia toll
- Texas 99
- Loop 49 Tollway
The new program follows a 2009 law that allowed disabled veterans to drive free on toll roads. Three years ago, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) worried that the program would leave to an enormous loss in revenue – as much as ten percent. However, a newer analysis found that only about one percent of Texas tollway drivers are disabled veterans.
Currently, only about 0.4 percent of the population has a car registered with a disabled veteran or purple heart license plate, and other similar programs around the state have verified that disabled veterans who drive on tollways for free make up less than one percent of vehicles on the road.
Some TxDOT officials also worried that the new policy would open the door to other special interest or special needs groups requesting a few pass on Texas toll roads.