Tuesday, September 27, 2005

 

SA Citizens "This Road Was Already Funded" Flyer Distribution Kick-off!

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The front and back of "GRIDLOCK" flyer that the SA Texas Toll Party volunteers are handing out at US 281 to inform drivers that the road was already funded with tax dollars. Read the front page coverage. This citizen action takes place after TxDOT distributed "How much will you pay" toll surveys for gridlock afflicted drivers. Read about TxDOT's efforts, they were apparently ready for double tax toll rage, as they handed out questionnaires at the intersection of an already funded highway. See pictures of one of OUR enthusiastic crews at work below. Also below, read our press release about the double tax tolls.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


GRASSROOTS VOLUNTEER BLITZ COUNTERS TXDOT
"IT'S TOLLS OR NO IMPROVEMENTS" CAMPAIGN



San Antonio, TX, September 27, 2005 – TexasTollParty.com is set to launch a PR blitz of its own to counter survey distribution by TxDOT asking people what they're willing to pay for tolls.

WHO: Grassroots citizens through the Texas Toll Party.com
WHAT: Flier distribution blitz during rush hour traffic on 281
WHEN: Wednesday, September 28 @ 8:00 AM!
WHERE: US 281 at Evans Rd.
WHY: To give motorists the facts about TxDOT's toll plan.

"What most folks don't know is that they don't need to pay tolls at all!" says Terri Hall, Director of the San Antonio Texas Toll Party.

"TxDOT has a FUNDED plan for the major improvements to US 281 north of Loop 1604, and it should already be under construction. But TxDOT threw that plan in the trashbin in order make us pay a toll to drive on a freeway we've already paid for and for improvements we've already paid for. We know and trust the taxpayers to get informed on this subject, and that once people are aware of the facts, they'll help us work to fight this outrageous misuse of taxpayer money," Hall remarks.

TxDOT has been failing to tell the public this key information and framing the debate as tolls or we get no improvements. When they're taking EVERY freeway main lane on US 281 and leaving only frontage road as the free lanes, they ARE forcing people to pay a toll as well as converting an existing highway that's already paid for into a tollway at a cost of nearly $2,000 a year for the average family (more if the toll rates are $.44-1.00 a mile like it was revealed in an independent review up in Austin).

The State's gas tax revenue has increased steadily for the last 20 years. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is big business. In fiscal year 2004, it took in $6.1 billion in taxes and fees. If it were a private corporation, it would rank 304th in the Fortune 500, ahead of companies like Southwest Airlines ($5.9B), Monsanto ($4.9B), and Starbucks ($4.1B). Unlike a private corporation which depends on attracting customers, TxDOT is a governmental monopoly without competition. "Last I checked, we pay gas tax and continue to pay gas tax every day. TxDOT takes in $6.1 billion a year.

If we can't get our needed improvements with that kind of money when our federal interstate and our major state highway infrastructure is already built, then it's our government who has a spending problem, rather than it being a problem of us being taxed too little," Hall believes. "These guys are masters at making it appear as though the well has run dry, but the facts speak otherwise." Many of these toll projects are already funded improvements; hence, there's no need to toll them. Also, San Antonio sends away $100 million more EVERY YEAR in gas taxes than we receive back. That's the exact dollar figure TxDOT says we're in the negative every year.

"It's not rocket science. Our legislators need to be getting the money we're already taxed back in San Antonio before they suffocate us with a lifetime of tolls," Hall declares, "especially when it costs more to build and maintain toll roads than to build them as free roads. This is whole thing smacks of fiscal mismanagement. Why on earth would we spend more to build toll roads only a few can use versus build them as free roads at less cost that EVERYONE can use?"

Tolls are a sloppy tax where most of the money goes into collecting the tolls, and in this case when using a public-private agreement (known as CDA agreement), goes to line the pockets of a private corporation for up to 50 years.


Friday, September 23, 2005

 

Remember Who Voted to Toll You!

With upcoming elections on constitutional amendments and primaries in spring for County Judge, County Commissioners, State Representatives, and Governor, let's remember who the bad guys are. TxDOT is just following orders. It's our Governor and Legislature who brought toll proliferation to us and most all of our local elected officials have voted to do the same. So to make it perfectly clear who the good guys and bad guys are, here's the list:

Bad Guys
It starts at the top...


State Senators


State Representatives


City Council


EVERY Councilmember and the Mayor voted to give the ARMA (tolling authority) $500,000 without question on top of the $1 million toll equity grant from TxDOT, and $700,000 from the County Commissioners which begs the question, what does a volunteer Board with two employees need over $2.2 million for? I thought the point of the ARMA was to bring in a toll slush fund, not suck up more taxpayer money?



County Commissioners


Good Guys
State Senators


State Reps.


County Commissioners

 

Building Steam

We had a great meeting last night and we're gearing up to defeat Propositions 1 & 9 which will be on the November 8 ballot (see info below). Commissioner Tommy Adkisson came to lend his support and introduce his new appointee to the Alamo RMA (or ARMA - our tolling authority), Mr. Connie English. Mr. English will be a terrific ally and help bring some accountability to this process. So far, the ARMA has been rubber stamping TxDOT's toll plans without question like we've seen at the MPO (Transportation Policy Board). That time has come to an end.

Commissioner Paul Elizondo and his opponent for Precinct 2, Enrique Barrera, were also invited to our meeting to address constituents concerns with this toll plan, but neither candidate came. Tolls will be front and center for these candidates especially considering Hwy 151 and Bandera Rd (SH 16) were just added to the ARMA's toll projects last week. If you're in County Commissioner Precinct 2, you need to contact these gentleman and ask them where they stand on tolls and if they're supportive of an independent review: lalcocer@co.bexar.tx.us (we'll get contact information for Mr. Barrera ASAP). FYI, the extension of Wurzbach Pkwy and its interchange at 281 along with toll lanes on I-35 have also been added to the list. It's a toll, toll, toll for San Antonio! If they haven't already, tolls are coming to a road near YOU!

PR BLITZ
Many of you have seen TxDOT handing out surveys along 281/1604 these past few weeks. Well, it's our turn to get our message out. Email Terri to get a PDF of the flyer to hand out at terrih@gvtc.com. Contact Richard or Marty Bravo to sign-up for shifts at: rbravo@satx.rr.com or (210) 497-1715.

TRY TO WEAR RED SHIRTS AND HAVE ONE OF OUR "NO FREEWAY TOLLS" yard signs out there when you're handing out fliers. We'd like at least 3 people a shift to hand out fliers during rush hour for the next 3 weeks at Evans Rd. and 281! If you or the one of the team members on your shift don't already have a yard sign to put out, the Bravos will have a community sign for your crew to pick-up.

Vote "NO" on Propositions 1 & 9
PROP 1:
Prop 1 allows an open ended corporate subsidy fund. Taxpayers will pay to move private corporation rail lines into the Trans Texas Corridor.

The state debt commitment would also be open-ended, with no limit on the amount of state bonds that could be issued from this new fund. By amending the Constitution to authorize the creation of this fund, the state could commit itself to massive debt for generations. Private corporations will profit from this taxpayer giveaway that help the Trans Texas Corridor move forward.

TxDOT deals primarily with state highways and has very little authority over railroad matters. TxDOT should use its resources to carry out its primary functions that relate to the planning, construction, and maintenance of the state’s highways. The railroad industry no longer is state-regulated, and state government should not involve itself in that industry's investment decisions. Private corporations will profit from this

PROP 9:
Prop 9 allows unelected, unaccountable Tolling Authority board members extended term limits. Current 2 year term limits would expand to 6 years for Regional Mobility Authorities. These appointed people are allowed to privatize and toll our freeways - they will set the toll rates for roads we've already paid for.

A two-year term of office requires more frequent assessments of the board members job performance. Six-year terms are not necessary to carry out the functions of the authority since the staff or employees of an authority would do so regardless of the length of the directors’ terms.

The Constitution generally limits terms of office for appointed boards to two years to guard against possible conflicts that can accompany long terms and to ensure sufficient turnover in board membership. Comptroller of Texas has reported the RMAs create "Double taxation without accountability", and that the RMA's loose management practices cost all Texans more. NOT surprisingly, Comptroller also found favoritism and self-enrichment as board members gave contracts (without bids) to their friends and their own companies (http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05/). RMA boards should be required to abide by the standard provided in the Constitution that limits the terms of members of such boards to two years.

READ MORE ABOUT PROP 1 & 9 HERE IN THE HOUSE REPORT (First hyperlink at the top): http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/hrofr/frame9.htm

TxDOT is BIG Money
By Bill Barker
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is big business. In fiscal year 2004, it took in $6.1 billion in taxes and fees. If it were a private corporation, it would rank 304th in the Fortune 500, ahead of companies like Southwest Airlines ($5.9B), Monsanto ($4.9B), and Starbucks ($4.1B).

Unlike a private corporation which depends on attracting customers, TxDOT is a governmental monopoly without competition. It gets its revenues from both user taxes and fees as well as tax subsidies from non-users. Approximately one-third of TxDOT revenue comes from state excise taxes on gasoline, diesel and other motor fuels. The tax that most Texans are aware of is the state gasoline excise tax which is 20-cents per gallon. Twenty of the 50 states have a gasoline excise tax less than 20-cents per gallon.

Texas taxes diesel fuel at the same rate as gasoline even though large, heavy trucks – usually powered with diesel fuel – cause most of the wear and tear on our roads. According to the Federal Highway Administration, large tractor trailer trucks are responsible for road costs on a vehicle-mile basis that are more than 10 times that of automobiles. To achieve more equity, 15 states charge a higher excise tax on diesel fuel than on gasoline.

In 2003 (the most recent year for which comparison data is available), TxDOT was second only to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in terms of total disbursements. In that year, Caltrans spent $9.3B while TxDOT spent $6.8B. But, California has more population than Texas, so Caltrans only spent $259 per person compared to TxDOT’s $306 per person.

In addition, Caltrans spent 23.7% of its budget on local streets and roads as well as grants to local governments while TxDOT only spent 6.5% of its budget on local roads. As a result, TxDOT spent $286 for every man, woman and child in Texas only on its state owned roads. This is $88 per person more than Caltrans spent on its state road system.

In Texas, cities and counties are expected to come up with their own funding for local roads as well as to contribute to state road projects. Two cents of every dollar spent by TxDOT comes from sources such as local property and sales taxes. San Antonio is the only Texas city with a specific general sales tax dedicated only to state road projects.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

 

Tolling Authority Failed to Do the RIGHT Thing

Below you'll see my comments to the RMA today. We had several other eloquent speakers who stated the facts and gave it their all to appeal to what's good, and true, and right in these appointees. However, once again, the people called to serve the public interest failed to step-up and do the right thing. The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA), with the willing acquiescence of the Governor, Legislature, and most of local government as well, made it clear they will NOT stand in the way of TxDOT converting an existing highway into a tollway.

In fact, their General Counsel, David Cassidy, actually interpreted the statute HB 2702 as saying as long as the improvements have as many non-toll lanes as exist today, it's not considered a conversion. His emphasis was number of lanes not the nature or function of those lanes. In other words, never mind that the non-toll lane will now be a frontage road instead of a highway, TxDOT can tear up an existing highway, lay new asphault down, slap a toll on a paid for "free"way, and get away with it. If they can do it on US 281, they can do it on ANY existing highway. Just like Governor-appointed Chair of the Transportation Commission, Ric Williamson, said in October of 2004, "In your lifetime, most EXISTING roads will have tolls."

TxDOT's own study conducted by UT Austin states that an overwhelming consensus of Texans, over 70%, are against the tolling of existing roads (even higher in San Antonio), and a majority don't like them in general either.

Yet TxDOT marches on with impunity! The MPO could have reigned them in, the RMA could have reigned them in, the Bexar County Commissioners, the City Council, the Legislature, and yes, the Governor can reign them in....but onward they march. The reason? As stated below, the reason is courageous leaders are hard to find. We have a few, and Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson is one of them. Be sure to call (210) 335-2614 or write him an email tadkisson@bexar.org to thank him for his continuing efforts to defend the people from a corporate oligarchy! We need to be just as good at thanking and supporting the good guys as we are at admonsishing the bad guys!

Also, the Alamo RMA is desperate for more permanent funding. You'll be glad to know that they're asking for $1 million to "review" the private bids for the next year. Though the Board is volunteer, their consultants and analysts will get paid a hefty sum of taxpayer money from the Toll Equity Fund to "review" and give their opinions on the details of the contract the public will pay for but not be allowed to see! Then, they slipped in a little noticed statement that they NEED a public information person. Note below that an advertising and marketing firm was in attendance. Expect them to spend some of that $1 million on waging a public information campaign to combat our media efforts. Talk this up on talk radio, folks....the war is about to begin!

Bob Thompson, Commissioner Lyle Larson's appointee, actually had the audacity to try to defend the RMA by saying they had considered every other alternative plan and financing. Hah! What about TxDOT's own already funded plan for the critical stretch of US 281 that's less invasive, cheaper, and more efficient? Contact Commissioner Larson lylelarson@bexar.org if you take issue with Mr. Thompson's assessment.

In case you're wondering what I wondered, the contract to build 281 has already been let and awarded to Cintra-Zachry, but is under a traditional contract in TxDOT's control for now in order to slap tolls on there without delay. BUT TxDOT plans to hand over that cash cow stretch of 281 to Cintra-Zachry once the final "procurement process" is completed (in other words, once the terms of the final private bid "CDA" contract is signed, it'll privatize our public roadways handing control over to a private company for up to 50 years).

Here's some of the names of special interests who attended the RMA meeting today:
Estrada Hinojosa (Financial services)
Parsons Brinkerhoff (Engineering firm)
RJ Rivera Associates (Engineering & Transportation Consulting firm)
Taylor West (Advertising Firm)
Citigroup (Financial services)
HNTB (Engineering firm)
AG Edwards (Lisa Vanderbeek)

TOLL PARTY RMA MEETING STATEMENT

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to speak before you today.

Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Board, I am here representing the Texas Toll Party and the grassroots citizens opposed to this toll plan.

At the last meeting, Mr. Diaz promised he would not approve a contract converting an existing highway into a tollway. I believe other Board members chimed in to agree. Well, here we are, at a crossroads for this Board, for Bexar County, and even our country. The Bexar County Commissioners have not once but twice resolved that NO EXISTING roads be tolled. Clearly, there is a legal question here that must be resolved.

Your legal counsel and whoever represents the Transportation Commission will try to argue the semantics and state their plans for 281 and Loop 1604 do not violate the law. But the people you represent know TxDOT is taking the existing 4-6 lanes of "free"way that exists today and are converting it to a tollway on US 281. On Loop 1604, they're taking existing right of way purchased with our hard earned tax dollars and are converting it into toll lanes. No matter how the pavement is re-arranged, the PEOPLE know this violates the law.

We label roads by their function for a reason. Frontage road is not equivalent to a highway. TxDOT will say that when they're done bulldozing a perfectly good highway that the non-toll frontage lanes are equivalent to what we drive on today citing average speed in rush hour. But what we have today is unacceptable congestion caused by traffic lights in the middle of a highway. Our solution is overpasses at the lights (TxDOT knows it because their own already funded plan will solve it). Their new solution is to make that congestion permanent by changing what we drive on today to frontage roads with permanent traffic lights and reduced speed limits. Frontage roads serve a different function than highways. I can and do drive 60 MPH between those traffic signals on US 281 today. If you allow TxDOT to toll existing roads based on average speeds during rush hour, then almost every freeway in the country would qualify. Today, we have 4-6 lanes of non-toll FREEWAY main lanes, when they're done, we'll have NOT ONE non-toll main lane as we have today!

Can you seriously sit there and expect the PEOPLE to allow you to trample on the rule of law? Frankly, the PEOPLE have grown tired of the bending and twisting of the plain meaning of words to manipulate the law for self-interest, or in this case, corporate interest. We've seen it all before with the likes of Enron and WorldCom, and even in the White House, "like it all depends on what the definition of is, is."

Those who stand against the public interest, who threaten to permanently open the floodgate to threaten our freedom of mobility, our way of life in Texas and around this country, must be stopped, and this momentous decision lies at your feet. The tolling of existing, paid for, freeways has NEVER, I repeat, NEVER been done in the history of our country. The voters by LAW are supposed to have a vote on this enormous decision to turn our highways from an efficient means of travel everyone can drive on into tollways only the few can afford and that largely sit idle outside of rush hour. TxDOT's own study conducted by UT Austin states that there is OVERWHELMING consensus, over 70% of the people, against tolling existing roads. So why are they marching ahead with impunity? Because courageous civic leaders willing to stand up to outside interests are hard to come by, leaving the voters no choice but to take their plight into court to settle what is a clear violation of the law and a usurpation of the public interest. The people have spoken, and TxDOT is fully aware of the opposition to this, but they continue to trample our rights and sell us out by handing over our public highways to the lowest bidder.

Why add new capacity we can't all use? Studies show highways with tolls only create permanent, unbearable congestion on surrounding lanes and surface streets. This doesn't bring us congestion relief, which is the purpose of adding new capacity. Can THE VOTERS levy a tax on TxDOT for a congestion index since they're so bent on charging us a toll to drive on freeways we've already paid for?

TxDOT's own original plan was funded through March of 2005 and this solution can be implemented in less time, using less money, with less construction time, and less development over the aquifer. Federal court precedent through NEPA, requires that you and TxDOT consider EVERY alternative. But clearly this alternative option is not being considered. It's toll it or do nothing by TxDOT's own admission. This is unacceptable and unlawful and the taxpayers WILL NOT allow this flagrant disregard of the law nor this malfeasance to stand.

Clearly there are multiple problems with converting US 281 into a tollway. It violates the conversion statute, fails to consider and implement a funded, viable, less invasive, more cost effective and efficient alternative plan, smacks of fiscal irresponsibility, double taxes the public for roadways already paid for, poses environmental and health risks, lacks efficiency (which is the goal of highway travel), is based on implausible assumptions, and its overall economic damage to the region has not been properly studied, accepted, or justified to the public or Bexar and Comal Counties whose property values and tax revenues stand to be adversely affected by a toll corridor.

You have fought for and rightly earned VETO power over these projects. Taxpayers have plenty of objections to this toll plan. You recall all too clearly what it feels like to have no say and no voice in a process that's been corrupted by outside interests instead of following the rule of law and serving the public interest. You cannot let this stand. The voters have risen and we're asking you to help us take back what is ours. This is about doing what's right or doing what's wrong. May we appeal to you, today, to do what is right by the people?

We're asking you to call for an independent review of this toll plan and not to approve this contract until one is completed and these questions are settled in a way the taxpayers trust is objective and sound.

 

Bulverde City Council Opposes 281 Toll

CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE INDEPENDENT REVIEW


Last night, the Bulverde City Council unanimously passed a resolution to oppose the toll plans for US 281 and called for an immediate independent review! SCORRRRREEEEE! A huge thank you to Councilwoman Cindy Cross and Mayor Sarah Stevick who attended our very first meeting in Bulverde and have been a tremendous source of support for our cause ever since. Sixty-five percent of the citizens of Bulverde commute into Bexar County every day for work. Please thank the entire Council for their courage to defend the citizens of Bulverde from unnecessary double taxation and for calling for the review.

Mayor Sarah Stevick - sstevick@bulverdecity.com
Councilwoman Cindy Cross - ccross@bulverdecity.com
Councilwoman Robin Urbanovsky - rurbanovsky@bulverdecity.com
Councilman Sorbera - msorbera@bulverdecity.com

Or to contact them by phone: (830) 438-3612

Friday, September 09, 2005

 

TxDOT’s vision of Congestion Relief

--4 Lane Toll Road in Median of 8 Lane Freeway--
Notice the congestion on the non-toll lanes. Does this look like congestion relief to you? TxDOT is planning to make our free lanes frontage roads with permanent stop lights and 30-45 MPH speed limits to boot! Tolling our roads isn't about congestion relief, it's about a new revenue stream for the state. It begs the question: Did the lottery end our public education woes? It's pretty clear tolls won't fix our congestion problems either.

Click for larger view
Typical Afternoon Peak on the Private SR 91 Toll Road in Orange County, CA
$7.75 to drive 10 miles!



To see sample toll rates in CA...
http://www.thetollroads.com/home/maps.htm

Thursday, September 08, 2005

 

Public Outcry Picks Up a Notch!

There was great attendance at tonight's TxDOT public hearing at Specht Elementary. For those who withstood the lengthy and very bureaucratic-speak remarks by TxDOT's Julie Brown, they got their 3 minutes of comments. Questions will have to wait, however, because the public hearing process doesn't allow for an exchange of ideas, the elites can't bring themselves to answer the questions of us low-brow peasants. Rather, they pack the answers into their "environmental report," heavy on government-speak.

Well, something woke-up the TV media tonight because all 3 of the big networks were there. TxDOT had their handful of "plants" as I call them, employees or spouses of employees or people who work for firms who TxDOT hires that marched over to the cameras to gleefully pontificate how glad they'll be to pay tolls (leaving out the part that they're consultants hired by TxDOT). I still have yet to meet an "Average Joe," especially a single wage earner, who is so gleeful to pay infinite toll taxes on roads we've already paid for.

We passed out hundreds of fliers and we were bombarded by people exiting saying: "Thank you for what you're doing" and "How do I sign-up?" Once again, the PEOPLE could steer clear of the TxDOT double-speak and misrepresentations to see where this train wreck is headed. Folks immediately made the connection that this was brought to us by our Legislature and the Governor and they're out for blood!

Interestingly, our city councilmen whose new favorite pasttime is to dream up good excuses for their votes to stab their own constituents in the back, were "beaus of the ball," so to speak, at last night's Transportation Forum dinner with keynote, Governor-appointed Transportation Commission Chair Ric Williamson. Art Hall was MC, and Richard Perez clearly earned his seat of honor at the table with Williamson. Perez is the corporate insiders new poster boy for public official sell-outs. I'm sure he can feel good about that when he's alone and looks at himself in the mirror. Who's staring back at you, Mr Perez?

We got a great shot in the arm tonight and our grassroots efforts are headed to the next level. We have to organize and work together to defeat these select corporate interests vying to take over control of our public roadways. Unfortunately, the "establishment" elected leaders have all been entrenched and tainted for so long that it's time to gear-up for the elections, too. It's past time to CLEAN HOUSE!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

 

Next Up: TxDOT Public Hearing

There's an important public hearing for the tolling of 281 Thursday evening, September 8. We need our opposition and concerns to get on the official record. Sign-in upon entering and be sure to sign-up to speak then or you won't be able to make comments. Many of the people attending may not be aware of the previously FUNDED plans for 281, so use this as an opportunity to educate people about the truth behind the tolls.

TxDOT Public Hearing
(Addressing tolling 281 from Evans Rd. to County Line)
Thursday, Sept. 8 @ 6:30 PM
Specht Elementary (25815 Overlook Parkway)

Be sure you sign-up for public comment at the door when you enter so that your opposition to tolling 281 is placed officially in the record.

 

TEXAS TOLL PARTY RALLY RATTLES A FEW SABERS!

high·way·men - Men who hold up and rob travelers on a road

From all over the state, citizens opposed to TxDOT's freeway tolls united under the banner of the Texas Toll Party for a rally outside what they dubbed "a good ol' boy convention--a bona fide highwaymen kumbaya lovefest" at the annual Transportation Leadership Forum hosted by SAMCo (San Antonio Mobility Coalition).

It's a perfect occasion for a grassroots protest. This convention symbolizes everything that's wrong with our political system today. It's been hijacked by corporate insiders who yield more influence over our government than the governed. Just look at the sponsor list: Zachry Construction who stands to profit from this toll plan, Loeffler Tuggey, LLP (Tim Tuggey sits on the Via Board and the two Via votes on the MPO were no-shows for the review vote), engineering firms, banks, you name it, all the highway interests are represented in this forum except the most important one: the public interest.

We had a small but fierce group of allies on hand to work the crowd: Bob Martin, President of the Homeowners Taxpayer Association, attorney and candidate for Attorney General David Van Os, Texas' number one tax watchdog C.A. Stubbs, and Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson.

"I'm sick and tired of self-dealing, insider cliques stealing self-government from the people for their private enrichment. That's the only thing this toll wreck plan represents," says David Van Os, whose campaign is built on being the people's advocate, not another arm of corporate cronyism.

Grassroots allies like Commissioner Tommy Adkisson renewed the call for an unbiased third party to scrutinize TxDOT's toll plans, "Recognizing the need to act, an independent review of TXDOT's Bexar County toll plans sensibly asks basic questions every thinking resident would want to have answered before it's too late."

C.A. Stubbs, agrees a thorough review is in order, "It is time to draw a line in the sand to stop the TxDOT Toll Road Campaign in its tracks, until a comprehensive Independent Review has been completed. Thereafter, open and compelling evidence must be presented in a revised plan that would be acceptable to all parties concerned."

Comptroller and gubernatorial candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn sent her support to the grassroots and she expressed her interest in investigating TxDOT's financial dealings. But the Governor has stripped the performance review capabilities from the Comptroller and handed them over to the Legislative Budget Board (LBB). Texas Toll Party.com, with the Comptroller's support, is calling for the LBB to get the ball rolling. We also call on State Auditor John Keel to investigate TxDOT's misuse of funds, particularly on US 281 when TxDOT trashed their own viable and fully FUNDED improvement plan to turn around and charge a toll forever to drive on a road already paid for with taxpayer money! From top to bottom this toll scheme violates the principles of open government. Texans deserve genuine accountability and full disclosure.

There's clearly a disconnect between the grassroots and the political elites of both parties. When the Governor sends out his Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson saying things like, "In your lifetime most existing roads will have tolls," it's no wonder there's wholesale, widespread opposition to Perry's statewide toll mandate. When something as fundamental as our freedom of mobility is at stake, the taxpayers have a right to vote on their own self-determination. Not only are we being denied a vote, our limited public assets, like freeways, are being sold to private interests to control for profit. This is a dangerous trend that goes beyond tolls, it's time to take our government back!

Friday, September 02, 2005

 

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 19
- Toll Party General Meeting - at 7:00 PM at Reagan High School Library

Monday, October 24
- MPO (Transportation Policy Board) Meeting - at 1:30 PM at the Via Metro Center (1021 San Pedro)

*************
Nov. 8 - Election Day - VOTE NO ON PROPS 1 & 9!
*************


Wednesday, November 9
- Alamo RMA (Tolling Authority) Meeting - at 12 noon at Kelly (143 Billy Mitchell Blvd. #6)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

 

Media Coverage


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