Cost of driving on I-10 managed lanes about to go up

HOUSTON -- The Harris County Toll Road Authority announced Tuesday that they will increase the tolls on the I-10 Katy Freeway managed lanes starting May 30.

Each of the tolling points will increase by more than one dollar. For those driving the entire 12-mile route from Highway 6 to the 610 Loop, you will pay $10 one way during peak hours.

The reason for this price increase is to help decrease congestion on the managed lanes, especially during rush hour and to encourage other forms of transportation. This isn't the first rate hike in which the HCTRA said it uses rate increases to control congestion.

Eyewitness News has learned rate increases haven't helped with congestion; rather, it's actually increased congestion and HCTRA revenues.

According to the HCTRA annual report, I-10 tolls lanes have been one of the toll roads with the greatest number of increased users since it opened. In 2010, the drivers on the Katy toll road paid $3.8 million in tolls. By 2012 that number grew to $8 million and last year, Katy toll road drivers paid $13.9 million on tolls.

Vehicles using the toll lanes has increased in 2010 from 9.7 million vehicles using the road to 2014 when 22.3 million vehicles used the road.

Toll money goes to pay for maintaining the roads, but also for salaries, construction and the materials needed to run a giant transportation department.

The Harris County Toll Road Authority as a whole is not short on money. It ended 2014 in the black to the tune of $828 million.

In total last year, the Harris County Toll Road Authority collected $609.9 million in tolls. The authority oversees 120 miles of roadway in the Houston/Harris County and 12 miles in Fort Bend County.