Friday, August 22, 2014
TxDOT bails out toll roads
SH 130 & Loop 49 just for starters
Transportation Commission votes to 'forgive' $55 million loan to Tyler toll authority (for Loop 49) and gives $32 million to subsidize lower truck toll rates on SH 130 (again!). Meanwhile, the toll authority in Tyler is bragging that Loop 49 is enjoying better than expected traffic and higher toll revenues.
But don't be fooled, just because they say they're getting more traffic than expected does NOT mean they're operating in the black. In fact, the only reason Loop 49 has more toll revenues is a toll rate hike. The reason they needed their TxDOT debt forgiven was their debt load was impeding their ability to issue more debt to extend the tollway to Lindale (another boondoggle). It's also seeking local property taxes to bailout their loser toll project.
On SH 130, TxDOT used some of Cintra's concession money last year to buy down the truck toll rates - so trucks were using the road for the same price as autos. When the subsidies ceased, so did the uptick in truckers using the tollway. So even though Cintra is on the verge of bankruptcy (despite all of TxDOT's help) and in technical default, TxDOT chose to kick them another $32 million in YOUR tax money to, once again, subsidize truck toll rates. So autos are paying to give truckers a discount. Meanwhile, TxDOT is seeking to block us from getting information about these bailouts by asking the Attorney General to keep these records SECRET!
That's just for starters.
Our research has revealed over $10 billion in YOUR tax dollars will subsidize or otherwise prop-up loser toll projects in Texas over the next 10 years.
This double tax theft of our taxes for toll roads will not stop until we get new leadership at this broken agency. Thankfully, two new Transportation Commissioners (out of the 5-member commission appointed by the governor that oversees TxDOT) will be appointed early in the next governor's administration.
We have our eyes on two fabulous, pro-taxpayer potential picks. So stay tuned...
Diversions of road funds to rail
The running total is now up to $700 million in road dollars diverted to rail & trolley cars. In addition to that, TxDOT in concert with local MPOs will spend $48 million on hike & bike trails in San Antonio in next 4 years and another $28 million in DFW. Much more when you include every region. All the while TxDOT whines there's no money to fix our roads without tolls!
While many of these hearings are mundane and purposely set-up in a way to keep the public in the dark, opposition to tolls MUST get on the official record. Creating controversy helps with legal options down the road. Be sure to attend and get your comments on the official record!
Community Workshops on Proposed Toll Managed Lanes in Dallas
Here's their 'sales' job...
"Priced facilities such as toll roads, public-private partnerships and new TEXpress Lanes help expand transportation options when traditional funding falls short of meeting transportation needs. Investing tolls in the transportation system improves safety, reduces congestion, enhances quality of life, spurs economic development and benefits the region.
"TEXpress Lanes and the proposed transition of HOV lanes to Express lanes are two types of facilities that help address transportation demand, air quality concerns and expand mobility options. At the community workshops, transportation partners will review development of these plans, outline how to use the facilities and discuss next steps for transportation in the region."
Don't buy it
You're smart enough to know 'managed' toll lanes do NOT solve congestion they displace it to the free lanes that will remain in gridlock for our lifetimes. Say 'No' to tolls and the waste, fraud, and abuse of our tax dollars.
Monday, August 25
Texas A&M AgriLife Extensions Center
Building E Auditorium
17360 Coit Road
Dallas, TX 75252
Tuesday, August 26
201 N. Ector Drive
Euless, TX 76039