Link to article here.
Note the last line of the article…TxDOT District Engineer in Austin admits TxDOT employees WON’T HAVE TO PAY THE TOLLS we all will. See why it’s so easy for them to ram this down our throats? They don’t have to live under the oppression they expect us to. Must be nice to be insulated from their own actions.
Tolls: A new line on expense accounts
by Ben Wear
Austin American Statesman
March 19, 2007
Let’s say that TV series “The Office” were set in Austin, not Scranton, Pa., and that truly strange office paper salesman Dwight Schrute had to make a call on a certain huge computer manufacturer in Round Rock.
Now Schrute, as he bizarrely claims, may in fact be “faster than 80 percent of all snakes,” but that doesn’t mean he can slither through Interstate 35 traffic. So he chooses instead to take MoPac Boulevard and the new toll roads to Dell Inc., saving 15 minutes but spending $1.50 round-trip on tolls.
Would Dunder-Mifflin allow him to expense that toll? I couldn’t ask, because Dunder-Mifflin and Schrute don’t, well, exist.
But I did ask Dell, Samsung Corp. and some of Austin’s other large companies, as well as a few small operators, whether they have created policies on toll expenses.
I even tried Austin Box and Paper Supply. Turns out that Rod Sitzman, the owner, is a one-man business (“I sweep up, too,” he said), so toll reimbursement wouldn’t be a factor there. He suggested I talk to Econo-Box.
“We have no policy on tolls yet,” co-owner Sam Lee said. “That’s a good point, though. We might have to think about that.”
That appears to be the general situation across Central Texas.
With toll roads being so new here, companies by and large haven’t had to deal with someone submitting an expense account that, aside from charging X cents a mile for travel, includes a 75-cent toll charge here and there.
Given my job, which naturally involves driving on tollways, it did come up here. The answer came back that, yes, I could charge tolls when they are a “legitimate business expense.”
Then the question becomes, “How?” You need receipts for such things here, and most places.
Turns out you can get a receipt for cash tolls at the booths, both on the state’s three roads and on the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s 183-A. As for toll-tag transactions, with Internet access and a little bit of trouble, you can get that information almost in real time as well.
Every TxTag account carries a 13-digit code associated with the windshield tag itself, as well as a separate account number, and you need one of those to see your toll history online.
Now, in my case, I still had the credit-card-looking thing that came with the tag, which has that 13-digit code. So I was able to go to txtag.org and fairly easily get a screen showing every toll charge I’ve racked up so far, including date and location.
Don’t have that card? You can call the tag office at (888) 468-9824 and get your account number. Or you can wait until the end of the month, when you get your statement via mail or e-mail. It can be done.
One of my calls, by the way, was to district engineer Bob Daigh of the local Transportation Department office. It of course would have been a fun-filled irony if his office did not reimburse workers for toll charges.
Daigh said, however, that his employees can put tolls on their expense accounts.