Monday, August 22, 2005

 

Who's gonna own our roads?

If the conversion of existing roads into tollways and the unbridled toll tax on highways we've already paid for doesn't get your goat, how 'bout the international takeover of our public roadways? Sounds too outlandish to be true, but it's happening right here in San Antonio and around Texas. Maybe you've heard about the Trans Texas Corridor (http://www.corridorwatch.org), a 4,000 mile toll road from the Mexico to Oklahoma borders. Well, the contract to build the first leg of that behemoth (which parallels I-35) that will take 580,000 acres of the richest privately-owned farmland in Texas, was granted to a Spanish company (also being called a foreign consortium) named Cintra. They've teamed-up with locally owned Zachry American Infrastructure to submit a bid to takeover our toll starter system.

Just a cursory read of the articles in the Express-News (Some on council wary about toll road secrecy, S.A. left out of toll road decision) in the past few months will tell you, Cintra will actually OWN our public highways for up to 50 years. That agreement would outlive most of us! Even worse, the Texas Transportation Commission mandated our local tolling authority build the toll starter system using one of these public-private partnerships (CDA agreements).

Our local leaders were promised local control if they opened an RMA, and it's clear that was an empty promise. So not only would this toll plan fail to give us local control, it gives ownership and control of our roadways to a FOREIGN company to ration and profit from. Through the non-compete agreements these guys are negotiating, they'll likely get control of the frontage roads and streets neighboring toll roads to ensure enough people pay the toll (Local panel works to redefine toll role). But we don't know for sure since TxDOT is using our tax money to sue US (our own Attorney General) to keep these documents sealed from the public.

See for yourself in this article by Phyllis Spivey who notes the trend to internationalize our roads using the Trans Texas Corridor as her example:
Phyllis Spivey - INTERNATIONALIZING U.S. ROADS

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