City of El Paso exploring possibility of charging fee to northbound commercial traffic at international bridge
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 10:18:02 PM CST
The city of El Paso is exploring the idea of charging a fee to northbound commercial traffic near the Bridge of the Americas but it needs to partner with other agencies to do so, especially the Regional Mobility Authority.
The Camino Real RMA is a political subdivision of the state that can partner with virtually any agency and handle any transportation project. "Nobody really understands the RMA very well. They don't understand the powers we have that are unique. We can do them (transportation projects) in New Mexico and Mexico as well so we can cross all these jurisdictional boundaries that no other entities can do very easily," said the Camino Real RMA's Executive Director, Raymond Telles during an interview on Monday.
In 2012, more than 314,000 commercial trucks crossed the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso. City Rep. Cortney Niland estimates the city can generate about $5 million in revenue a year if it were to charge the trucks a fee at a state inspection station next to the port of entry. "The legislation does not currently allow the city to collect those fees. But existing legislation for mobility authorities allows RMA to do just that," said Telles.
The City Council last Tuesday voted to set up a meeting with Customs, the RMA, federal officials and the Texas Department of transportation to explore the possibility of charging commercial traffic.
Telles believes the talks and a better understanding of the RMA can lead to a bigger vision for El Paso's transportation system. "If everybody were interested, we could actually develop a system where you have that single transponder that gets you across the international bridges gets you through the toll roads, it gets you into parking facilities, it could pay your parking meters downtown so then you start to see a system that really makes sense."
Telles refers to the possibility of El Paso drivers - commercial and non - possibly one day being able to have one account with the RMA they can use to pay for toll roads, parking and perhaps even fees at the international bridges. That is still only an idea and not in the works.
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