The Toll Road system is Texas is ...stoopid.
If you drive thru a camera booth in Dallas or Austin you will be mailed a bill. If you do that in Houston you get a warrant for your arrest and a high-dollar fine.
I hate toll roads and avoided them for many years. (Simple Fact: Texas politicians, mostly repugnicans, have endorsed and promoted the system and the toll road managing/authorities have contributed to their pockets. In some cases, right-of-ways which were created under "eminent domain" stole private property and converted it to toll roads, and in some other cases roadways which were already publicly owned and paid for were converted to toll roads and their side-feeders were converted to the "free" lanes. With a stop-sign/traffic light at every intersection to pizz you off and encourage you to use the toll-lanes your taxes paid for years ago.
Yes, the 20-cent gas tax hasn't changed in a long time.... BUT... taxes have increased on vehicle registrations/licensing/inspection to make up the difference and new taxes have been imposed on other fuels and on tank-farm/bulk-stations which add to the revenue supposedly used for public roadways...but which is often siphoned off to construct toll roads... which then go bankrupt. (CHeck out the recent history of Austin's hwy 130)
Personal True Story: I once attempted to drive to the Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to gift some grapefruit to another pilot-buddy. My plan was to put the fruit in his personal airplane's baggage compartment. I drove via a printed map, and saw a street-sign directing traffic to IAH. I made the turn and found myself going up an "on ramp"... unseen from the public street at the top of the ramp was a toll-booth. Immediately AFTER the tollbooth was an exit.... Total distance travelled was ONLY thru that specific toll-booth, which was completely UNMARKED and NO signage indicated to a driver that a toll road was being entered via that ramp.
I informed the booth-operator I had no desire to enter the toll road and only wanted to exit at that exit only a few feet past the booth. He informed me the toll was 25-cents. I told him no sign had warned of the toll-road entrance and I did not wish to enter...only to exit. He said it was 25-cents. (OK,... I admit it...but this was a matter of PRINCIPLE now... there should have been signage warning of the toll... and the public sign pointing this direction to the airport should have also noted it was via toll.)
The booth operator said he couldn't allow me to pass without paying... unless a police officer approved it. So, I asked for a police officer.
He radioed for the toll-road police and when the officer responded on-air... Mr. Booth told him he had a motorist who was "refusing to pay the toll". I interrupted and said, "Don't tell him that! That is untrue! I am not refusing to pay, I am wanting a police officer to come determine that improper signage exists and that no toll should be required to simply exit!"
The constable arrived and issued a citation for refusing to pay the toll. When I tried to explain that ...I... was the person requesting his presence (not the booth) he threatened to arrest me, so I paid the 25-cents by handing the booth a quarter.... and the constable turned to leave.
But when I asked the booth to give me a receipt for the toll.... the constable turned around and shouted, "NO!" and I then asked how I was supposed to pass the gate to the exit. ... the constable told the booth to open the gate.
I asked the constable to follow me so I could show him the lack of signage. (Both he and the booth insisted that proper signage existed. They were both wrong.) He said he'd follow to see what I desired...but he did not.
I drove thru the exit and via a curcuituous route returned to where I'd first seen the sign directing to the airport and confirmed NO indication that a toll road was being directed.
Two weeks later I drove from Austin to Houston to appear in court and found I'd wasted a day off and 8 hours driving because the clerk only wanted to hear how I planned to plea. (I'd already had that conversation via long-distance and the same clerk had set the date for me to appear. Now I had to "formally" make the plea.)
I asked for a trial by jury. I was warned that if I didn't appear that I would also have to pay a penalty for the jury. I agreed.
I drove back to the signage point to video the drive thru the roadway and up the ramp. While turning onto the ramp, it just so happened that a constable pulled in behind me...purely a coincidence... but when I pulled over to the shoulder to photograph the ramp without a toll-sign.... the constable got out of his car and came up to me and threatened me with a citation for stopping on the roadside of a toll way. (I was not yet on the damn toll way.) So I moved on and simply let the video camera run.
A month later, I appeared in court again (another day off from work and 8 hour round-trip to Houston) to represent myself in front of a jury... and the prosecutor asked me how I planned to plea.
I replied, NOT GUILTY... and stated I was ready to proceed. The prosecutor stated that I would receive a notice of trial date in the mail. I stated I'd already rec'd that... I'd already requested trial by jury...and that was WHY I WAS HERE!
The prosecutor said that today was not available and a new date would be set by mail. I am now so damn mad that I am determined to carry this all the way through!
Another month passed and (it just so happened to be my birthday) I rec'd an ordinary letter in the mail from the court. It stated that the trial by jury would begin at 8 A. M..... THIS DAY! It was ALREADY 3 PM! It was ORDINARY mail...not even certified, and postmarked two days earlier! It warned that if I missed the trial by jury that an arrest warrant would be issued and that fines would be imposed to cover the cost by jury!
Needless to say... I was doubly PIZZED!
I called the court clerk and told her about the letter and she informed me that if I sent $125 via certified mail the case would be entered "no contest" and dropped.
I don't care for Texas Toll Roads and Repugnant Texas Politicians who create and support them and their friends who "manage" them.
My wife loves to tell the story of how I'd lost three days of work and 24 hours driving 500 miles round-trip three different times to avoid paying 25-cents.
Did I mention how I hate toll roads?