Triangle not alone in adding toll roads

Posted September 6, 2012

The Triangle Expressway in western Wake County offers two methods of toll collection.

North Carolina got its first toll road earlier this year with the opening of the Triangle Expressway. When completed, the expressway will extend about 18 miles from Research Triangle Park to Holly Springs.

The first phase of the project officially opened last December, but began collecting tolls just after the New Year. It connects N.C. Highway 147 south to Interstate 40 and Interstate 540.

Phase two opened up in August and connects N.C. 540 between N.C. 54 and U.S. 64 in Apex.

The final phase, expected to open in January, will connect N.C. 540 between U.S. 64 and N.C. 55 Bypass in Holly Springs

Raleigh Public Record compared the TriEx, as it’s lovingly called, against other toll roads in the Southeast. 


Where: Wake and Durham counties, North Carolina
Connects: N.C. 147 south to N.C. 55 Bypass (when completed)
Miles: 18 (when completed)
Toll Rates: Ranges from 30 cents to 65 cents per toll zone with an N.C. Quick Pass. Ranges between 45 cents and $1.25 per zone if billed by mail.
Fun Facts: The project cost is about $1 billion and is the first toll road in North Carolina. North Carolina is the last state in the region to implement a toll road.

Southern Connector

Where: Greenville, S.C.
Connects: The southern portion of Interstate 185 to Interstate-385
Miles: 16
Toll Rates: Pal Pass rates are 75 cents to $2.70. If paying cash, 75 cents to $3.00.
Fun Facts: It is one of two toll roads in South Carolina. The other is in Hilton Head. The Southern Connector has brought in $3.3 million so far this year. In 2010, the association responsible for the road filed bankruptcy.

GA 400

Where: Atlanta, Ga.
Connects: Interstate 85 and U.S. 19. But, tolls are only collected from I-85 to Interstate 285.
Miles: 6.2
Toll Rates: 50 cents paid by cash or Cruise Card.
Fun Facts: The road brings in about $59,000 per day. Construction of part of the highway caused an outcry by residents and many homes were taken through eminent domain.

The Veterans Expressway – State Road 589

Where: Tampa, Fla.
Connects: Courtney Campbell Causeway west of Tampa International Airport to Dale Marbry Highway in Hillsborough County
Miles: 15
Toll Rates: $1.25 with SunPass, $1.75 with cash.
Fun Facts: This portion is a small part of the 41-mile Suncoast Parkway. The Suncoast Parkway has a multi-use recreation trail that provides safe bicycle and pedestrian commuting.

Foley Beach Express

Where: Orange Beach, Ala.
Connects: Alternative to Highway 59
Miles: 14
Toll Rates: $3.50 for cash. Discounts vary, but the basic Alabama Freedom Pass charge is $3.00.
Fun Facts: The Beach Express toll is privately operated. The website claims that drivers can avoid 25 lights by using the highway.


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  • killerkestrel Sep 12, 2012

    NC has a pretty high gas tax for the southeast, but we have one of the biggest state maintained road networks. NC actually spends about the least per mile compared to the rest of the nation. Many other states also use sales, property, and income taxes to pay for roads. NC only uses gas and vehicle sales tax to pay for roads. Current funding only provides resurfacing for about every 50 years. This funding level is not going to work.

  • crazydaveca Sep 7, 2012

    I'd rather have the gas tax raised by a cent than have all these toll booths erected. Heck, make it two cents.

  • timwc1953 Sep 6, 2012

    I have no problems with tolls in other states that have substantially cheaper gas tax. NC has too many roads to maintain as it is. We need to focus on that and quit paving every dirt road in NC

    I agree pw, the gas tax is so high, we should not need to charge any tolls. Our gas tax is the reason truckers and others do not stop in NC to fuel up along I-95, they either stop in South Carolina of Virginia, and who could blame them. Politicians are known for cutting of their noses to spite their faces.

  • pinball wizard Sep 6, 2012

    I have no problems with tolls in other states that have substantially cheaper gas tax. NC has too many roads to maintain as it is. We need to focus on that and quit paving every dirt road in NC.

  • timwc1953 Sep 6, 2012

    What is intersting is that we ahve gone all these years without having to charge tolls to build and maintain highways, and now becasue of all the growth in our area over the past 20 years we have to have more roads and charge more. Doesn't every vehicle on these roads pay gas taxes, property taxes, etc? The roads are full of vehicles every day and if all of these are paying taxes there should be more than enough revenue. The kicker is that on 540 the older part is still free with the exception of 540 between NC54 and NC55 which was free until Aug 31 of this year. So what's fair about that?? Sounds like more government run around to me. From what I have been able to observe a lot of people are not using the toll road.

  • chathamtalbott Sep 6, 2012

    I find daily use to commute on this expressway pretty expensive. I'm surprised those on a tight budget can justtify adding this expense. Daily use runs about $15/week, $60/month. Maybe I run too tight of a budget, but that's a lot of chewing on my purse strings.

  • piene2 Sep 6, 2012

    "NC needs to do the right thing for it's citizens and not have tolls instead of playing follow the leader.

    By all means! Let us drop all tolls and reduce the fuel tax to five cents a gallon. Than we can watch the roads crumble away to oblivion. Or we can just pay the taxes and tolls, keep the roads up and ignore the miserly whiners who can not stand to part with a measly few bucks.

  • SM Sep 6, 2012


    For that $1000, I am saving 142 hours that I will otherwise spend in my car, either idling, or driving at slower than posted conditions because of congestion. I will also be using less gas, because I'm spending less time in my car driving.

    I think in the end, I'm spending $1000 either way. But there's no amount of money that would make up for the time I'm saving.

  • ladyblue Sep 6, 2012

    the gas tax pays for a fraction of the total cost of maintaining our roads and building new ones to accommodate future growth. yep and we also have the highest tax rate on gasoline than any other state in the country it seems. It doesn't help these costs when we allow contractors to mess up the roads they build and then charge taxpayers again to fix the mess they created without getting reimbursement. maybe they need to look at how the funds are managed and who is in charge of them..

    yep a darn shame. taxes taxes and more taxes for roads and now instead of putting these tolls in the major roads leding into NC from tourists and outside large trucks coming through interstates tearing them up,they prefer to charge the poor residents here who are trying to get to work. go figure

  • nonPC Sep 6, 2012

    Its an absolute travesty...and it also shows the ineptitude of these folks as they are about to rip 40 to pieces and still havent completed either side of 540 giving people an alternate route....SMH