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Some on council wary about toll road secrecy (San Antonio)
San Antonio Express-News ^ | 10 June 2005 | Patrick Driscoll

Posted on 06/10/2005 11:12:27 AM PDT by Racehorse

The tradeoff of sacrificing open government to attract private investment in toll roads is beginning to sink in for some local elected leaders.

And it's not a comfortable feeling, said City Council members who met Thursday.

State officials have promised to let local leaders have input on a recent proposal by Spain-based Cintra and locally owned Zachry American Infrastructure to take over planned toll roads in San Antonio. But to protect trade secrets, state law prohibits public discussion of details.

"It's absolutely out of the question," said Councilman Chip Haass, who says private sector dollars to solve traffic problems is otherwise tempting. "You could not convince the constituents of San Antonio that this is a good deal."

Officials can't even see the Cintra-Zachry proposal without signing confidentiality agreements, which would prevent them from talking to anyone who hasn't signed an agreement. Local leaders might end up taking shots in the dark at what is sure to be a moving target.

"This whole deal scares the hell out of me, quite frankly," Councilman Roland Gutierrez said. "There's so many details that we can't even begin to contemplate."

At stake is local oversight of construction and operation of 47 miles of toll roads on Loop 1604 and U.S. 281 on the North Side, including toll fees of 15 cents or more a mile. The system could cost $1.3 billion.

The Texas Department of Transportation plans to use gas taxes and other public funds to build 22 miles of toll roads and give them to the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority. Local officials intend to use the toll fees to double the network and continue expanding.

(Excerpt) Read more at mysanantonio.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: governmentsecrecy; highways; sanantonio; taxpayers; tollroads; turass
I don't want no stinking toll road. I especially don't want one owned by some foreign company.

No wonder they're trying to keep this deal secret.

I think I'm getting mad . . .

1 posted on 06/10/2005 11:12:28 AM PDT by Racehorse
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To: Racehorse

Trade secrets? On a toll road?


2 posted on 06/10/2005 11:20:35 AM PDT by sharktrager (The masses will trade liberty for a more quiet life.)
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To: Racehorse

Why don't you give these politicians the bum's rush?


3 posted on 06/10/2005 11:25:25 AM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Racehorse

Anyone familiar with how San Antonio conducts its' business knows that the ''Good ole Boy'' method of awarding construction contracts is alive and well. Recent improvements to Interstate 37 were awarded to friends of Henry Cisneros which proved to be as disasterous as the building of the Alamodome( on contaminated soil)..which was also a payback award by Henry.This latest project will probably be obsolete before it's ribbon cutting.


4 posted on 06/10/2005 12:07:32 PM PDT by shadeaud (Liberals suffer from acute interior cornial craniorectoitis)
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To: shadeaud
This latest project will probably be obsolete before it's ribbon cutting.

That matters not.  I can't expect something built tomorrow to be futuristic ten years from now.

What matters is the project will be perpetual, which means tolls will be perpetual.  I want to travel anywhere within the city without fumbling for change or a pass.

5 posted on 06/10/2005 12:44:39 PM PDT by Racehorse (Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.)
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