About KTA

When was the Kansas Turnpike built?

The 236-mile Turnpike was constructed in 22 months and opened to traffic October 25, 1956.

Why isn't the KTA part of the state highway system?

Because the legislature didn't want it that way when they created the KTA in 1953. More specifically, the legislature wanted to make it clear that any Turnpike debt was not considered a debt of the state or any political subdivision of the state.

Why are tolls charged for driving on the Kansas Turnpike?

Tolls are the major source of revenue to maintain and operate the Turnpike as well as pay back bondholders who loaned private capital to finance, construct and reconstruct the Turnpike.

Is tax money used for operation of the Turnpike?

No. Tax dollars are not available for Turnpike use. The tolls pay for the operation, maintenance and repurchasing bonds without use of any tax funds. In fact, $9 million dollars in motor fuel and sales tax (collected at the Turnpike's six service areas) paid to the state each year for use unrelated to the Turnpike.

Could the road be turned over to the state?

The enabling legislation for the Turnpike Authority allowed that the Turnpike could revert to KDOT control when two conditions occurred simultaneously: the bonds were paid off and the roadway was in good condition. These two conditions are not likely to happen at the same time, as keeping the road in good repair requires capital investments from bond issues. The enabling legislation also provided that KDOT could continue tolling the road even if it were to be under state control.

When will the bonds be paid off?

The original 1954 bond issue have been paid off and new bonds have been issued for financing safety improvements, major reconstruction projects and upgrading. All KTA bonds outstanding are scheduled to be redeemed by 2034.

Why are tolls charged on some interstate highways and not on others?

Tolls are charged on those Turnpikes which were built before the Interstate System was created in 1956. Many states, particularly in the East, already had Turnpikes built when the interstate routes were selected. The Federal planners chose not to build parallel interstate routes nor to buy back all the bonds loaned to the Turnpikes from private investors. Instead they chose to use tax dollars to speed construction of the non-toll interstate segments and to save billions of tax dollars by not building duplicate highways.

How and when are tolls collected on the Kansas Turnpike?

K-TAG customers normally do not have to stop when they exit and can proceed slowly through the plaza as their K-TAG is read electronically and the toll is charged to their account. Fares for K-TAG customers are between 5 and 25 percent less than a cash customer, depending on the number of axles and the type of K-TAG account.
If a vehicle does not have a K-TAG, they must stop and pay with US currency or coins, or a valid credit or debit card. If the toll plaza is staffed, a customer may pay with a personal or business check (photo ID required), or a "comm check" from a commercial company. (See the next question on Self Pay for additional payment information)

What is a Self Pay machine?

Due to the very low volume of vehicles at some plazas during some time periods, Self Pay machines are used instead of staffing to reduce KTA labor costs and keep KTA fares as low as possible. A step-by-step color-coded guide is displayed on the Self Pay machine which instructs the customer how to pay. Instructions are also provided by a real time video screen. All Self Pay locations are monitored remotely using video and audio equipment, and a customer service representative is always available to help customers verbally if they have questions about the payment system or if they need other assistance.
If a driver is unable to physically operate a Self Pay machine, we encourage them to obtain a K-TAG for payment convenience. Any customer may apply for a K-TAG through this web site and pay the standard $5 purchase price, but if they have a physical condition that makes it challenging to use a Self Pay machine, they may apply for a K-TAG at no purchase cost by first contacting the Kansas ADA Coordinator's Office at 785-296-1389. If the ADA office makes an appropriate recommendation, KTA will provide a K-TAG at no purchase cost, but the customer will still be responsible for paying the standard K-TAG fares for each trip and abiding by all established KTA/K-TAG policies.

Does KTA perform "Video Tolling"?

Some toll road operators use "video tolling" which involves taking a photo of a vehicle's license plate and then billing the registered owner of the vehicle. KTA does not use video tolling due to the substantial financial cost of installing and maintaining the systems and the high percentage of customers who may not be properly billed or choose not to submit payment. (See the next question on Gates for more information on KTA tolling practices)

Why are gates used on some KTA lanes?

Gates are used on all K-TAG dedicated entry and exit lanes to insure that anyone using these lanes has a K-TAG mounted on their vehicle. These gates also insure the posted speed limited at the toll plazas are observed for teh safety of our employees working at the plaza and other customers. If a customer does not have a valid K-TAG mounted, the exit lane gate will not open and a KTA employee will need to interact with the customer to collect cash payment. Gates are also used when a toll plaza lane is operating with a Self Pay machine. Gates provide a very low cost and highly effective method to insure than all KTA customers pay the appropriate fare, keeping fares as low as possible for all customers.

How do I know what my toll will be?

Upon entry to the Kansas Turnpike you will receive a toll ticket which lists the tolls for all interchanges for the most common vehicle types. Most fares are based upon entry and exit locations, and the number of axles your vehicle has. Examples : A typical motorcycle, car, SUV, or pick up truck is a class "2". A class "2" vehicle pulling a single axle trailer is a class "3". A typical commercial tractor / trailer combination with 18 wheels is a class "5". Locate your entry and exit points to find the amount of your toll. If you would like to find the amount of your toll before you begin your trip, go to our Tolls web page and use the calculator or click the links to the text based toll charts.

How much time is allocated for my trip?

Customers can travel at a leisurely pace during their long distance trip on the Kansas Turnpike. The time it takes you to travel between two different cities on the Kansas Turnpike does not influence you fare unless the trip takes longer than 18 hours to complete. If the difference between your entry and exiting time is 18 hours or longer, the maximum possible fare for the exit plaza will be charged, which will be substantially higher than the standard fare.

If you enter the Kansas Turnpike, and subsequently exit back at the same plaza that you originally entered at, no fare will be charged if the trip took less than 15 minutes to complete. If, however, your time on the Turnpike exceeded 15 minutes, a "per minute" will be charged which will vary based upon the class of your vehicle and total elapsed time.

Can I stop for gas, food, or restroom?

There are six service areas along the length of the Turnpike. Each service area offers food, fuel, and rest-room facilities. All KTA service areas are located within KTA property boundaries, and you will not have to exit the Turnpike or pay a fare to access them.

You may also exit and re-enter the Turnpike at any interchange along the way. However, if you exit the turnpike before your final destination you will need to pay the applicable fare for that portion of your trip, and obtain a new entry ticket when you re-enter the turnpike and pay the applicable toll charge for the remainder of your trip.

The Service Areas:

Belle Plaine - MP 26
The Belle Plaine Service Area currently offers an EZ GO fuel retail facility, Travel Information Center, a McDonald's restaurant, gift shop and weather kiosk. EZ GO and McDonald's are open 24 hours a day
Towanda - MP 65
The Towanda Service Area offers a Phillips 66 fuel retail facility, a McDonald's restaurant, and weather kiosk. Phillips 66 is open 24 hours a day. McDonald's is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Matfield Green - MP 97
The Matfield Green Service Area offers a Phillips 66 fuel retail facility, a McDonald's, and weather kiosk. This facility is the same basic design at the Towanda Service Area. Also at the Matfield Green Service Area is the Knute Rockne Memorial. Phillips 66 is open 24 hours a day. McDonald's is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Emporia - MP 132
The Emporia Service Area offers a Phillips 66 and McDonald's. It has a children's play area and adult exercise area outside to allow travelers a chance to stretch. Phillips 66 is open 24 hours a day. McDonald's is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Topeka - MP 188
The first of its kind on the Kansas Turnpike, the Topeka Service Area opened in May 2002. One facility houses a Hardee's, Taco Bueno, Bresler's Ice Cream, Hot Stuff Pizza, Cinnamon Street Bakery and Coffee Company, Wood Oil Company/Conoco fuel retail facility, and a Kansas Originals gift shop. Also at the Topeka Service Area is a weather kiosk. Wood Oil and Hardee's are open 24 hours a day. Hot Stuff Pizza, Taco Bueno, Bresler's Ice Cream and Cinnamon Street are open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Lawrence - MP 209
The Lawrence Service Area offers an EZ GO fuel retail facility and a McDonald's restaurant. Both are open 24 hours a day.
May I leave my car at the interchange and ride with someone else?

The Kansas Turnpike Authority does not officially have a "Park and Ride" program, and we have not specifically used that terminology at any of our customer parking lot facilities. However most of our toll plazas do have parking lots for our customers to use that we call "commuter" parking lots. These lots are located just prior to the toll plaza booths, so that our customers can enter the lot, park their vehicle, and then ride with someone else before either vehicle actually enters the Turnpike's main roadway.  These lots normally have available empty spaces on a daily basis, but there are times when they may become full to capacity.  A customer can leave their vehicle for up to a maximum of 24 hours.

Once a vehicle has actually entered the Turnpike roadway we do not encourage our customers to park their vehicle anywhere and car pool with any other customer. Our six service areas contain restaurants and offer vehicle fuels and convenience store items, and there are large parking lots at these locations that are designed for customers to park and briefly rest.  However, we strongly discourage long term parking or "car pooling" at these areas. If a customer parked their vehicle at one of these service areas located on the main roadway for a multiple hour time period and then later on exited back at the same city that they initially entered at, they would be required to pay a substantial "per minute" fare. (See information listed above under time allocated)

What points of interest are on the Turnpike?

There are historical markers at some of the Service Areas. The Turnpike crosses the historic Santa Fe Trail near milepost 155 and the Oregon Trail near milepost 189. The Matfield Green Service Area is located in the heart of the scenic Flint Hills, a noted cattle grazing and ranch area. A memorial to Knute Rockne is also located in the service area. Portions of the El Dorado Lake can be seen from Milepost 82.

Why is there median barrier on the Turnpike?

The median barrier is a very important safety feature recently added to the Kansas Turnpike. The barrier helps to prevent crossover head-on collisions.

How can I get weather information for the Turnpike?

Road and weather information for the Kansas Turnpike, as well as the state road system, is available by dialing 511.

How can I get emergency service?

Emergency assistance can be reached on the Turnpike by dialing *582 from a cellular phone or 1-800-827-7453 from any telephone.

How can I learn more about K-TAG, electronic toll collection?

Visit myktag.com for additional information or call 1-800-873-5824, ext. 2330.
If you have a specific question you can also email ktag@ksturnpike.com.


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