Soon travelers will have another option for traversing the 80-some-odd miles that separate Austin and San Antonio than the chronically congested I-35 corridor. For a price, they can zoom down SH 130 at 85 mph — the highest speed limit in the country.
The Texas Legislature approved 85 mph speed limits last year, and the Texas Transportation Commission approved the high speeds for the 41-mile stretch between Austin and Seguin during an August 30 public meeting.
Though Texas Department of Transportation officials insist that safety is their top priority, there are pecuniary perks to upping the speed limit. According to the Associated Press,
The state contract with the toll operator allows the state to collect a $67 million up-front cash payment or a percentage of the toll profits in the future if the speed limit is 80 mph or lower. At 85 mph, the cash payment balloons to $100 million or a higher percentage of toll revenues."
Those 41 contentious miles comprise segments five and six of the tollway and will not be riddled with toll plazas; instead tolls will be collected electronically, leaving motorists with pretty much no reason to slow down the pace.