North Texas

Candidate Opposes Non-Existent Effort to Toll US-75

In recent days, State Senate District 8 Republican candidate Phillip Huffines has come out firmly against any effort to add tolls to U.S. 75.

"Over my dead body," Huffines announces at the end of a campaign commercial, focused on fighting against the over-tolling of Collin County residents.

But according to the Texas Department of Transportation, as well as representatives of the Huffines campaign, there is no effort to add toll lanes to 75.

Instead, the advertisement - as well as an accompanying post on the Huffines campaign Facebook page that declares "I will fight to keep 75 toll free - is meant to dispel any concern that U.S. 75 would become the latest highway in North Texas to add tolls, according to the Huffines campaign.

A spokesperson said that Huffines, the former Dallas County Republican Party Chairman and the twin brother of State Senator Don Huffines, who represents Dallas in District 16, has been approached by numerous people on the campaign trail who have concerns that any future expansion of 75 would include the addition of toll lanes, as has happened on I-635, I-35E, I-35W and Texas 183.

In addition to partially tolled portions of I-635, residents of Texas Senate District 8 - which straddles Dallas and Collin Counties, covering portions of Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Frisco, Allen and McKinney - also drive on the fully-tolled Dallas North Tollway, the Sam Rayburn Tollway and the President George Bush Turnpike.

"I firmly believe that Texas' transportation problems cannot be fixed by tolling every road in the state," Phillip Huffines said in a statement to NBC DFW. "For months we have been knocking on doors and talking to voters. They have overwhelmingly expressed their concerns about the number of toll roads here in the district."

A spokesperson for Angela Paxton, Huffines' Republican opponent in the March 6 primary, and the wife of Texas Attorney General Kex Paxton, also noted that there is no known effort to put tolls on U.S. 75.

"We're not surprised [Huffines] is just now learning what Angela Paxton has known for years: we must oppose new toll roads in this district!" said Anthony Holm, Angela Paxton's spokesperson.

There are two candidates on the Democratic side of the ballot for Senate District 8.

Brian Chaput, an engineer, told NBC DFW "if [tolling 75] were an actual issue I would oppose it."

"We need new thinking for real transit solutions for North Texas instead of talking about voting against something that doesn't exist," Chaput said.

Chaput's opponent Mark Phariss, an attorney who is seeking to become Texas' first openly gay state senator, has not yet responded to a request for a statement.

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