The Dallas Morning News Publishes Yearlong Investigation into North Texas Toll Roads

May 13, 2024 at 11:30 AM EDT

North Texas leads the way with tolled facilities
Confusion, surging costs for everyday Texans
Criminalization common for unpaid tolls

DALLAS, May 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DallasNews Corporation and The Dallas Morning News are publishing an in-depth examination of toll roads throughout Texas. The multi-part series will debut May 13 on and publish in The Dallas Morning News print and ePaper editions starting May 19.

Key findings from the investigation and reporting:

  • In the last two decades, Texas has built more tolled bridges, tunnels, interstate highways and roads than nearly all other states combined.
  • About 1.4 million North Texans live in areas where tollways are within a one-mile radius of their homes, and their free road options—often several miles away—are among the state's most congested.
  • Toll roads are seven times more likely to be found in North Texas than in other parts of the state. In 2022, tolled roads in Dallas County made up nearly one-third of the major thoroughfares.
  • Unlike other states with many tolled roads, Texas offers few discounts to drivers and is one of few that criminalizes drivers for unpaid toll fees. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are hauled into court for unpaid fees. Some have their car registrations yanked and others are sent to jail even when they have proof the fees they were charged are incorrect.
  • Some legal and transportation officials say the evidence most often used to convict drivers for unpaid toll fees may not hold up in court.
  • According to The News’ analysis of court data obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety, a disproportionate number of people in North Texas cited for failing to pay tolls are Black.

“Examining the systems and services that impact the lives of Texans and especially North Texans is important to us in fulfilling our mission to serve our community. This series, ‘The Toll Trap,’ is a prime example of how journalism can shed light on issues- we often accept or take for granted,” said Katrice Hardy, The News’ executive editor. “We’re hopeful this series brings about meaningful change and enhanced oversight for the millions of people who rely on toll roads every day to get to work and school.”

The series includes personal stories from several Texas drivers, each with their own costs, hardships and uneven customer service. Meet a cardiac patient whose trips to rehab became cost-prohibitive from receiving regular care. The Tarrant County District Clerk and his fight to get refunded after fraudulent charges. And a driver who’s opting into sitting through traffic instead of paying up to $22 for a one-way trip.

About DallasNews Corporation
DallasNews Corporation is the Dallas-based holding company of The Dallas Morning News and Medium Giant. The Dallas Morning News is Texas’ leading daily newspaper with an excellent journalistic reputation, intense regional focus and close community ties. With offices in Dallas and Tulsa, Medium Giant is a full-service advertising agency dedicated to designing, creating and delivering stories that drive customers to act. For additional information, visit or email

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