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Remember, the NTTA's Hiking Rates Friday

A lifelong Friend of Unfair Park just called from the southbound lanes of the Dallas North Tollway wondering how in the hell did he miss the news that come Friday, the North Texas Tollway Authority's jacking up rates, according to the flashing heads-up greeting motorists this morning. That's understandable: The rate hike was actually OK'd in '09, and this year's warranted but a few briefs here and there a couple of weeks back following an NTTA news release. And it won't be the last: They're now "regularly scheduled."

In its latest newsletter, the NTTA explains:

To deliver regional transportation projects to relieve congestion, preserve a strong and financially viable system and maintain quality, safe and reliable roadways, the NTTA will implement a regularly scheduled toll rate increase of 0.8 cents per mile. The toll rate policy provides for a 50 percent price difference between TollTag and ZipCash rates.

Here's the trip-rate chart that goes into effect July 1, showing how much the trip costs depending upon where you enter and exit the tollroad. (From Parker Road to downtown, it'll run you $3.13 each way with a TollTag; otherwise, it's a whopping $4.71.) Victor Vandergriff, chair of the secretive NTTA , says, yeah, it sucks to raise rates right now, so sorry. But, ya know, whatever:

"The Board understands these rate increases come during challenging economic times. However, raising rates is a planned and necessary step the NTTA needs to take in order to maintain a viable financial system and to deliver the many mobility projects that bring growth to the North Texas region."

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