Over the past three years, the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) has spent $472,875 on a questionable sports arena advertising campaign. This nearly half-million in motorist tolls purchased an electronic advertisement that greets American Airlines Center sporting fans with the message: "TollTag People." A kiosk also allows fans to walk by during Dallas Mavericks and Stars games to sign up for toll transponders. The contract expires next year.
A KTXA investigation also found this contract comes with a perk for key tollway employees. The authority receives a set of free basketball and hockey tickets, including both playoff and regular season games. Some employees attended games while other times the tickets were given away contest prizes. Investigative reporters also discovered that the authority was using toll money to pay for expensive lunches. One cost $582.73, but the toll road employee miscalculated the bill and paid $602.73 in motorist funds.
"I don't know what the rationale was but I know we are not going to do it under my watch," Tollway Executive Director Jorge Figueredo told KTXA.
NTTA is not alone in using toll road contracts to line up perks. Last year, the Harris County Toll Road Authority was caught encouraging private companies to contribute to a $100,000 fund used to throw a party for tollway employees.