Tag Archives: toll roads
Tolls That Top $1 a Mile on Newly Opened Toll Lanes in Austin Are Coming Soon to a Commuter Highway Near You
If congestion tolls are starting out at over $1/mile in peak hours, imagine what they’ll be next year or in 10 years. There is no legal requirement to remove tolls from these highways, even when there’s no debt owed. Expect … Continue reading
Many consider Texas the cradle of liberty and a bastion of limited government conservatism. But who lets a State agency abuse taxpayers and deliberately thumb their noses at a state law they know is coming online that was passed by … Continue reading
The Build America Bureau, an arm of the federal government, is also a 34 percent owner in the new deal, as a move to placate the expected taxpayer backlash for having the taxpayers’ original federal loan wiped out by the … Continue reading
Taxpayers should not stand for targeted, discriminatory toll taxes to be imposed against their will. This problem certainly isn’t unique to Texas. With the installation of public-private partnership (P3) guru and former government affairs official for Macquarie Capital, David Gribbin, as … Continue reading
Trump’s anti-free trade message resonated because it hurt the American worker. Tolls likewise, hurt the American working class — and hard. Considering these three must-win states for a Republican president just tossed incumbents over toll projects, we trust Mr. Trump … Continue reading
If TxDOT magically pulls a rabbit out of its hat to have room at-grade for these tracks, not only were they misleading the public last year at the hearing, they’d be taking up the most valuable real estate in Texas and eliminating any hope of expanding general purpose lanes in the future, because now you’d either have to condemn billions in rail or billions in private commercial property in order to do it Continue reading
The best solution moving forward is to build freeways not tollways and to ensure that taxpayers get these bankrupt projects back in the hands of the public. Continue reading
When it opened back in 2012, SH 130 had long been the poster child of Rick Perry’s failed toll road policies. At one point, the state-operated part of the tollway was so empty a distressed plane landed on it during peak hours. Lawmakers saddled Texas taxpayers with billions in debt and they hid it from the normal, open, public budgetary process. In other words, Texas lawmakers have balanced the budget, in part, because they have issued billions of taxpayer backed subsidies for private toll road companies, while hiding the costs from taxpayers and increasing costs and risks for taxpayers in the long term. Continue reading
Such NAFTA international trade has all but destroyed the American manufacturing base, it threatens U.S. jobs and has contributed to stagnant wages since its inception in 1992. So the funding and expansion of the NAFTA trade corridors coupled with the porous southern border create another source of angst for American voters as they weigh the current presidential contenders. Continue reading
Both federal and state lawmakers are discovering tolls are just as unpopular as a gas tax hike and that they’re far more expensive for taxpayers than a gas tax funded highway system. The U.S. Senate tried to expand interstate tolling in its draft of the federal highway bill only to have it slapped down by a coalition of anti-toll groups, with Alliance for Toll-free Interstates leading the charge. The U.S. House is contemplating the same expansion and is running afoul of the same angry taxpayers. Continue reading
Abbott can change the tide very quickly with his new chairman and commissioner at the Texas Transportation Commission. Frankly, short of the RTC firing Morris, DFW residents have few options to stop his march to impose the largest managed toll lane network in the country. State lawmakers continue to be ignored by Morris. In fact, he works against elected officials’ efforts to represent their constituents’ opposition to new toll taxes. Residents do not get to choose who represents them on the RTC, and the board is so big, 44 members, it’s hard for residents in one corridor to sway the votes of the other 43 members to stop tolls. Continue reading
Tolling existing free lanes should be off the table in the Lone Star State that claims to be the beacon of freedom and boasts of a low tax burden. Tolling the main lanes of a highway and downgrading the free option to frontage roads is highway robbery and a means to force drivers to pay tolls to get anywhere. Texas taxpayers are adamant that this abuse come to an end. Continue reading
Texas voters recognize the shell game and now consider tolls a tax, which has become the most expensive way to fund roads, and they’re holding their elected officials accountable for the runaway taxation placed in the hands of these unelected commissions and toll authorities.
The euphoria lawmakers felt last year after placing a Constitutional amendment on the ballot for Texas voters to decide if they wanted to raid half of the state’s oil and gas severance tax on new oil wells and divert those revenues to the State Highway Fund, without ending existing diversions of the gasoline tax…
Texas State Rep. Kolkhorst asks for AG legal opinion on use of gas tax revenue to subsidize more toll roads – seeks clarity over Prop 15
As voters overwhelmingly embrace a move away from toll roads with the election of anti-toll Greg Abbott as the new Texas Governor there remains an open question about whether or not the voters approved the use of the state gasoline tax, and any other money available to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), for toll roads when they approved Proposition 15 back in 2001. Some state leaders believe the voters approved the use of gas taxes to build toll roads with passage of Prop 15, but the ballot language never mentions a word about gas taxes nor all funds available to TxDOT being used for toll roads – which constitute a double tax.
Abbott will get two new appointees to the Transportation Commission right out of the gate in February. Together with the current Commissioner, Victor Vandergriff, who’s been an outspoken critic of the agency’s practices and ill-conceived toll projects, Abbott will have a majority…
Texas gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis claimed to be against more toll roads at their last debate. Perhaps the recent research conducted by Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) that shows Texans do not want anymore tolls made the decision to be anti-toll a little easier. What’s shocking, however, is that Wendy Davis thinks she can get away with it.
It is bewildering that so many on the right, particularly normally fiscally prudent libertarians, continue to advocate for toll roads. In fact, some are even criticizing conservatives who oppose them. Terri Hall, founder of the group TURF (Texans United for Reform and Freedom), found herself under fire by a libertarian magazine in August. Reason’s Robert Poole wrote an article labeling Hall and those who oppose toll roads as “right-wing populists.” He was worried that Hall has been effective ginning up opposition to toll roads, both in her home state of Texas as well as influencing a prominent article that recently ran in The Weekly Standard.
That about sums up both the political and literal reality for Texans in most metropolitan areas of the state. Neither Congress nor the Texas legislature have addressed the structural road funding shortfall for the last decade, both turning to toll roads and massive debt financing to kick the can down the road. But Texas is now facing a fiscal cliff – it leads the country in road debt and it’s maxed out its proverbial credit card. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) says it needs $4 billion more per year just to keep pace with congestion. Even worse, its $10 billion annual budget will experience an additional gaping $2-3 billion hole in 2015 as the borrowing that’s been propping up its budget disappears.
Under Dewhurst’s leadership, Texans experienced a massive shift away from an affordable gas- tax-funded freeway system to a reliance on tolling. The Perry-Dewhurst regime brought us the Trans-Texas Corridor, quick-take eminent domain, tolling existing freeways, handing our public roads to private toll corporations who charge Texans 95 cents a mile to drive, and using gas taxes and a host of public money to subsidize and guarantee the loans on toll roads. They took Texas from zero debt for roads to now the highest road debt in the nation at $31 billion.
Stop using road money (paid for by motorists) for transit, rail, and bike paths that motorists don’t use. That goes for diverting both federal and state gas tax revenues. The Texas Mobility Fund is being used to build street cars, toll roads, and dredge our ports, when it should be used to fix our freeways and keep them toll-free. Adopting a transportation policy of ‘pay-as-you-go’ would be more fiscally responsible.
Close on the heels of news that Interstate 69 (I-69) is underway in Texas, the Indiana Finance Authority and highway department (INDOT) has selected four private developers to submit proposals for a public-private partnership (P3) on segment 5 of I-69 from Bloomington to Martinsville. The final selection is expected this fall.
State and federal highway dollars are pinched and toll road traffic is taking a hit from a sustained economic downturn and high gas prices, while states are looking for ways to get projects built with limited resources. Bond documents for the $2.6 billion Grand Parkway (State Highway 99) tollway reveal the bonds issued by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will be backed by the state highway fund for all but $200 million of the debt, if toll revenues are insufficient.
While the Texas House and Senate are busy competing over which chamber can come up with the most funding for public schools, another top priority of state government has taken a back seat – roads.
Texans from across the state recently converged at the capitol in Austin to stress the need for Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, and House and Senate budget writers to prevent the most fiscally sound, long-term road funding solutions from being held hostage to more tolls, debt, and tax hikes.
From Google’s self-driving car to harnessing electromagnetic induction to power buses and cars with clean energy, the eighth annual Texas Transportation Forum held in Austin left industry gurus breathless with new possibilities for transportation as smart technology merges with mobility.
The eighth annual Texas Transportation Forum hosted by the Texas Transportation Institute and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently held in Austin had all eyes on the future – the future of international trade in light of the anticipated Panama Canal expansion, the future of road funding, and even the future of driving (like driverless cars).
Texas leads the nation in road debt as Perry solicits ideas for tax relief: Groups say nix toll taxes
In his State of the State speech, Texas Governor Rick Perry asked Texans how they’d like to see tax relief implemented in the new 83rd biennial legislative session (January 8 – May 27/140 days).