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Yeah, we voted on tolls kinda
Austin American-Statesman ^ | October 16, 2006 | Ben Wear

Posted on 10/16/2006 6:45:49 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Do you remember voting on the Trans-Texas Corridor?

Me neither. But I think I might have. Sort of.

Toll road proponents have said over the past couple of years that Texans had voted to authorize what has turned out to be a very aggressive push for toll roads. Gov. Rick Perry said as much in the Oct. 6 gubernatorial election debate.

One of the moderators relayed a question from a McKinney woman asking why Texans haven't gotten to vote on the "Trans-Texas Corridor and related toll highways."

The corridor is Perry's 4,000-mile plan of tollways, railroads and utility lines.

The governor's response was deft.

"First and foremost, the people of Texas had the opportunity to vote on a substantial amount of that in a constitutional amendment," he began, going on to say that the Legislature had debated and passed toll laws in several sessions. The voters, he said, "sent a clear message of how we're going to build infrastructure."

What actually happened is that in a September 2003 election, 810,855 Texans said yes to ballot language that only the most wonkish among them could have known authorized wholesale borrowing for toll roads. The 45 words on the ballot, in fact, do not include the words "toll" or "turnpike."

Here's what Proposition 14 proposed:

"The constitutional amendment providing for authorization of the issuing of notes or the borrowing of money on a short-term basis by a state transportation agency for transportation-related projects, and the issuance of bonds and other public securities secured by the state highway fund."

I was told at the time that the purpose of this was to allow the agency to borrow here and there against future gas-tax revenue to address cash-flow problems. And that, in fact, is what the first part of the language refers to.

But then there's a comma, and some more words. Some technical but powerful words that amounted, apparently, to the electorate saying, "Whoo-eee, slap some toll roads on us, baby!"

Now, Texans did approve another constitutional amendment, this one in 2001, that created the Texas Mobility Fund, and it actually said the money could go to "state highways, turnpikes, toll roads, toll bridges, and other mobility projects." A total of 543,759 Texans said yes to that one.

In 2003, lawmakers dedicated some fees allowing that fund to borrow $4 billion or more.

And as the governor said, that same year the Legislature approved a huge bill allowing the creation of the Trans-Texas Corridor. That bill, passed in a session marked by Democrats fleeing to Ardmore, Okla., and a $10 billion budget gap, got little press coverage.

Did Texans vote on the Trans-Texas Corridor? Not in any real sense.

Did we vote on a "substantial amount" of the toll road revolution? Yes, technically, in a special September 2003 election with predictably poor turnout and all the focus on other amendments, we gave the Texas Department of Transportation carte blanche to borrow for roads and charge tolls.

Who knew? Almost no one.


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: cuespookymusic; dearrubes; kookmagnetthread; referendum; rickperry; texas; tolls; transtexascorridor; transtinfoilcorridor; ttc; tx
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To: Diddle E. Squat

Now, Texans did approve another constitutional amendment, this one in 2001, that created the Texas Mobility Fund, and it actually said the money could go to "state highways, turnpikes, toll roads, toll bridges, and other mobility projects." A total of 543,759 Texans said yes to that one.


Left out?


41 posted on 10/16/2006 12:19:05 PM PDT by wolfcreek (A personal attack is the reaction of an exhausted and/or disturbed mind.)
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To: Froufrou
Not only that, but the owners of the toll companies are not American, did you know that?

So what? I'd rather have comany that is experienced in running and building toll roads in charge rather than a local company that lacks experience or competence. The TTC is intended to be not just a world class project but a world leading project. The engineering firm in charge needs to be world class in this field.

42 posted on 10/16/2006 12:21:16 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: Paleo Conservative

We were on a toll road in Houston that went to Hobby. I thought it was 59 but maybe it was Hardy. It was smooth sailing, but expensive. But, maybe a good thing would come of it in that most of the people on the tolls are probably insured, and may even be better drivers.


43 posted on 10/16/2006 12:25:06 PM PDT by Froufrou
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To: Froufrou
In our case, they want to toll the roads our tax dollars have already paid for.

Where do you get the notion that your tax payments give you some sort of "virtual title" to a road? I hate taxes as much as the next person, but understand that they operate as more of a lease payment . . . funny that that is what Cintra will be doing as well, making lease payments to TxDOT.

44 posted on 10/16/2006 12:26:41 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: antisocial

Just how crowded do you want our State to become?


You hit on an issue close to my heart. The Globalist don't care what happens to Texas. The environment, the culture, our resources, our very way of life, BE DAMNED!


45 posted on 10/16/2006 12:29:28 PM PDT by wolfcreek (A personal attack is the reaction of an exhausted and/or disturbed mind.)
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To: 1rudeboy

Not virtual title, but with taxes going to constant maintenance, can you not see the implication of tolls equating to dual taxation?

I have spoken with the group that's opposed to this. They make much better sense than I about it and they have extremely well-documented info. I'll get their site for you if you like.


46 posted on 10/16/2006 12:30:12 PM PDT by Froufrou
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To: Ben Ficklin
A loan HAS TO BE REPAID.

Or defaulted upon as the borrower declares bankruptcy.

47 posted on 10/16/2006 12:31:08 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Ben Ficklin
My blogger? WTH are you talking about? I am an individual citizen with no affiliations with any of these groups. But I can damn sure tell you that the whole thing stinks. Yes, the loan has to be repaid, but again, you blur the reality...it will be repaid with future tolls, so to say that it will not ultimately be paid with tax dollars is downright sneaky and there ain't nothin' I hate worse than a sneak or a liar. Entitled? Sorry, but they are not entitled to hornswaggle me into paying taxes on a road I have already paid for. If these pro-toll road people were honest, they'd be more forthcoming and quit pulling sleight of hand tricks on the details and doing backroom deals. This whole thing reminds me of the AlamoGroan...ummm...I mean...the Alamo Dome deal.
48 posted on 10/16/2006 12:32:31 PM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: j_hig

It will be paid back by Cintra, with the tolls aka our tax dollars. Those same "industry experts" brought us the Alamo Dome too. I haven't trusted anyone in local Govt. since. And give me a break...Cintra has no competitors on this...they've got it locked up due to their connections. I might have given it consideration if they had been more honest, but they've already proven themselves to be sneaks.


49 posted on 10/16/2006 12:38:22 PM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Dead Corpse

Once they toll MOPAC, my daily commute will cost me around $8 round trip.


My daughter is going to be pissed. She just got transfered and will be using that route. I read in the Sunday paper that Austin's tolls will cost twice that of Houston's.


50 posted on 10/16/2006 12:38:34 PM PDT by wolfcreek (A personal attack is the reaction of an exhausted and/or disturbed mind.)
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To: Froufrou
I have spoken with the group that's opposed to this. They make much better sense than I about it and they have extremely well-documented info. I'll get their site for you if you like.

They'll just accuse you of being in cahoots with them, like they did me. I live 30 miles north of the city in the Hill Country and have to commute every day, I am going to be hit hard by these tolls, that is why I am upset about them.

51 posted on 10/16/2006 12:45:04 PM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Paleo Conservative
I'd rather have comany that is experienced in running and building toll roads in charge rather than a local company that lacks experience or competence.


Zachery (sp?)(a SA based company) is currently building 183-A, ahead of schedule and under budget. I realize there will be some interaction between them and Cintas but, that foreign component doesn't set well with most Texans.
52 posted on 10/16/2006 12:48:22 PM PDT by wolfcreek (A personal attack is the reaction of an exhausted and/or disturbed mind.)
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To: ravingnutter

Bulverde? They were talking about 1604 being a toll road, but I haven't heard anything about roads coming from Boerne or Helotes or Bulverde...


53 posted on 10/16/2006 12:49:19 PM PDT by Froufrou
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To: Froufrou

Bulverde? They were talking about 1604 being a toll road, but I haven't heard anything about roads coming from Boerne or Helotes or Bulverde...


I heard something about 10 lanes coming in/out of SA on 281 to just south of the Guadalupe River.


54 posted on 10/16/2006 12:56:41 PM PDT by wolfcreek (A personal attack is the reaction of an exhausted and/or disturbed mind.)
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To: wolfcreek

I didn't hear that, but they did widen and resurface some of 281 around the universities [Incarnate Word and Trinity.]


55 posted on 10/16/2006 12:59:25 PM PDT by Froufrou
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To: Froufrou

Actually north of Bulverde almost to Blanco, so I use Hwy 281. And yes, 281north of 1604 is on the list, even though funding was set aside to improve that road years ago. From what I understand, they mismanaged the money and diverted it elsewhere, to non-transportation projects. That's the reason I am fuming over this.


56 posted on 10/16/2006 1:01:56 PM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Froufrou

BTW: it's suppose to be a toll road.


57 posted on 10/16/2006 1:02:03 PM PDT by wolfcreek (A personal attack is the reaction of an exhausted and/or disturbed mind.)
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To: ravingnutter
"the whole thing stinks"

The docs were released. You notice that Ma is not saying anything about that. Must not stink.

"Cintra has no competitors"

Here are the 3 bidders on TTC 35

Oh Dan, we have the internet now, we don't have to listen to your mis-info.

58 posted on 10/16/2006 1:03:49 PM PDT by Ben Ficklin
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To: ravingnutter; wolfcreek

This is what the anti-toll group was talking about! That we actually even had passed a bond for this stuff, IIRC!


59 posted on 10/16/2006 1:04:21 PM PDT by Froufrou
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To: Froufrou; wolfcreek
Here are the proposed toll roads. The long term plan is to toll 281 all the way from 1604 to the Comal County line.

Here's the article on the funding bait and switch.

It's really worse than you think it is. Pretty soon you won't be able to get anywhere without a toll.

60 posted on 10/16/2006 1:09:57 PM PDT by ravingnutter
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