SA Rep Leibowitz Calls for Independent Review of FREEway Tolls!

Representative DAVID Leibowitz CALLS FOR Metropolitan Planning organization to approve an INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF the BEXAR COUNTY TOLL ROAD PLAN

For Immediate Release - Wednesday, August 31, 2005

SAN ANTONIO - State Representative David McQuade Leibowitz sent the following letter to the Transportation Policy Board of the San Antonio - Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization which will discuss today authorizing an independent review of the Bexar County toll road plan:

I am writing to express my strong support for an independent review of the Bexar County toll plan. It is the right thing to do for the taxpayers of Bexar County.

I have grave concerns about the way the state has shifted its policy for constructing new highways to only allowing the construction of toll roads. This process is turning free roads already budgeted for expansion, like Highway 281 north of Loop 1604, into toll roads. This is double-taxation and an outrage. These tolls will be infinite and never end. In other states, toll roads paid for 50 years ago are still collecting tolls as a cash cow for government.

To make matters worse, local officials are largely shut out of the process and are having local decisions made by bureaucrats and state leaders in Austin. In June, the Texas Transportation Commission decided to pursue a private bid to build and operate toll roads in Bexar County. San Antonio and Bexar County officials were not allowed to participate or even comment on this decision. The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority, which is supposed to be our local toll road entity, did not even know that this decision was on the Texas Transportation Commission's agenda.

The secrecy surrounding the Bexar County plan is very disturbing. Local leaders may see the private toll road proposal by Spain-based Cintra and Zachry American Infrastructure, but are prohibited from disclosing any information about the plan to the public. It is unreasonable for the public to be expected to fund a multi-billion dollar toll road system in Bexar County without knowing what they are going to be paying for.

It is time to apply the brakes on this train and allow a little sunshine into this process. That is why I strongly support an independent review of the planned Bexar County toll road system. The City of Austin approved an independent review earlier this year after their toll road authority revealed that the cost per mile for tolls would probably be 44 cents to 64 cents per mile instead of the 12 cents to 15 cents per mile that was initially disclosed to the public. Interestingly enough, Bexar County residents are being told that their toll roads will "only" cost 15 cents per mile to use. It has also come out in Austin that some roads are having their construction delayed because they are waiting to build them as toll roads instead of using existing, available funding to build or expand already planned free highways. Bexar County residents deserve an independent, outside look at what to this date has been a secretive, Austin-driven plan.

I hope the board approves this independent review of the proposed toll road system. Bexar County taxpayers deserve nothing less.

Contact: Rob Borja (512) 463-0269

Chief of Staff
Rep. David Leibowitz

District 117

Eminent Domination


CTRMA Robert Tesch bankruptcy Hearing

No camera's were allowed in the building for the CTRMA's Tesch meeting of creditors bankruptcy hearing. So, I took a few pics of what I could outside. The Gov. Rick Perry appointed Robert Tesch recognized me, and smirked, came right over and shook my hand and said "Who's paying you to do this?". I responded "Nobody".

I guess this guy just can't understand that people don't want our freeways tolled. And, we certainly don't want some unelected con artist setting the rates for roads we already paid for! At the end of the hearing I actually heard Bob Tesch say his bankruptcy was "the result of a miscommunication". That's rich. Pics by Sal, story by Roger. Thanks Roger!

The Judge was Valerie Winger was a fill in for her boss. It was called the first creditor hearing in bankruptcy court. Joe Martinez was the lawyer.
The Cedar Park development deal was intended as part of a long range real estate development plan that did not pan out as planned. The debt changed hands between banks. Tesch is trying hard to sell the properties or refinance. Don or Dan Quick & Co. is the real estate broker. Tesch considers himself a manager for the debtor. The outfit has one employee named Randy Vaninger.

The one building on the apparently much larger property is 93% occupied with about a three year average lease. Tesch and Associates Inc. is a creditor. (sounds like he may have screwed things up on the whole property by building and leasing just one building in the middle).
"Skyline" sent a rep there so they must be a major creditor. There are no final offers yet. They have opened creditor accounts.

There are both capital infusion and sale options being considered. Its chapter 11. The creditor purchased the note but is apparently
being intolerant of Tesch's situation. Apparently the speculative debt went through these stages of changing hands: Jefferson Heritage Bank, Union Planter, Mercantile, Regional Bank

Tesch claimed that he thought there would be a $100 payoff to debtors to be resolved shortly, now that the real estate market out there looks so good. Yeah, sure. -- Roger

SA Express Editorial: Perry's TxDOT forgets public it serves.


Perry's freeway tolling authority Withholding Public Information.

One of Gov. Rick Perry's many new freeway tolling bureaucracies (Central Texas RMA) has produced and administered a very biased push poll - using our tax dollars. Several citizens over the last weeks emailed me about this 40 - 45 minute phone "poll":

Sal, On Thursday evening about 8:pm I got a call from a woman in New York City doing a survey which turned out to be about toll roads. During a 45 min period, - she asked close to 90 to 100 questions or more, about my opinions about toll roads, toll tags, pricing, and my awareness of and if I thought many of my friends and neighbors knew what the CTRMA was and how it functioned. She then asked why I didn't like the CTRMA. She ask my age, education level, and income, among other personal questions about driving to work, etc.

One of the main themes of what I did notice about the questions were that they seemed to TRY to lead the person being questioned to "logical conclusions"---ie.----"So therefore, you don't think that if people had to pay tolls to drive, it would keep more people off the roads because many would not be able to pay the tolls, and therefore Tolls would reduce much of the traffic congestion." Or another question, "Then how do you think the roads would be able to be paid for, if not through the income generated by Tolls." and the next question to follow would be something like, "How do you think they would be able to maintain the roads if not through the generation of money from Tolls?" ...And then the next question to follow would be, "Don't you think that tolling would be the cheapest way of generating income to pay for the roads?"
The poll is an obvious fishing expedition to find out how best to market the public highway tolls to taxpayers. They'd like to teach the masses that the RMA is the best thing since white bread. I have confirmed Wilson Research Strategies conducted the poll.

On 8/14 I sent a request for public information to the CTRMA Executive director Mike Heiligenstein:
mstein@ctrma.org, bcassidy@lockeliddell.com
CTRMA, With the rights granted to me under the Freedom of Information Act, I request to come to your office to look over the following:

Any and all CTRMA correspondence, including but not limited to, letters, facsimile transmissions, contracts, draft scripts, final scripts and e-mail messages between individuals, organizations or companies, that discuss any CTRMA survey, questionnaires, public relations or phone polls between the dates August 15, 2004 and August 14. 2005.

Thank You, Sal Costello
And, now Perry's RMA is dragging feet and hiding the ball: I received a letter from CTRMA saying they will not produce materials within the 10 days of the request, as provided by the law, but instead 4 weeks. They are also looking to WITHHOLD some of the docs. The letter the RMA sent to the AG's office asks to:
"withhold other responsive materials pending review by your (AG) office as to whether such materials are subject to exception to disclosure".
So much for open records. If you would like to see the 4 page CTRMA response letters - email me at Sal@TexasTollParty.com


Independent Review TOOL being pushed in San Antonio!

Round Rock Leader front page article

The Round Rock Leader did a front page article this week on the Maxwell Dealerships Boycott. It was titled "Mayor Target of Protesters", but the Leader got something dead wrong. They called us an "anti-toll group". That is simply not true:

"An anti-toll group has focused its efforts on Mayor Nyle Maxwell. Members of the Austin Toll Party organized a protest of Maxwell's car dealerships, with protesters at the Maxwell Nissan site in Round Rock Saturday. A week earlier, they were at the Maxwell Ford dealership in Austin."
ATP and TTP are not against traditional toll roads that are designed and built as new highways and are created using investor dollars. We are against shifting our public highways to toll roads using our tax dollars. Most people think this is wrong and immoral. This was explained in the press release. The article did have one good line:
"Austin Toll Party is a grassroots group dedicated to stopping Gov. Rick Perry's plan of tolling public highways."
It's time the special interest politicians like Rick Perry, Mayor Maxwell & Mayor Wynn (who all voted to toll roads we've already paid for) to do what's good for the public - or they'll be paying the toll.

Contribute to the Boycott Maxwell Radio Ad/Billboard Fund - call Linda at our TTP office today at 512.371.9926.


CALL TO ACTION: Double Tax Queen needs opponent.

Karen Sonleitner, Travis County Commissioner, is running unopposed for her Pct. 2 seat as a Democrat. It's pretty much a Democratic seat. That's right, she has no challengers at the moment. The word on the street is Judge Sam "Double Taxer" Biscoe will be challenged by Daryl Slusher. But, Sonleitner has no partner to dance...yet.

If anyone deserves an opponent in 2006, it's Sonleitner. Her blatant special interests pay offs with the toll lobby are offensive.

Karen Sonleitner can take the credit for pushing the shift to toll our freeways before most ever heard of the idea. She was working behind the scenes years ago to funnel tax dollars into the RMA. Again, no city in the country has ever shifted a freeway to a tollway. And, the RMA in Central Texas was the first in the state. In March 2003, Sonleitner voted to give the unelected, unaccountable, CTRMA $250,000 tax dollars (our money), and again in September 2003, another $300,000 tax dollars as "seed money" to the Williamson County run RMA (so they can toll Travis County funded highways).

Sonleitner went a step further and actually pushed to get our tax dollars released faster - In a 9/24/03 email to Judge Biscoe:

"Judge, what do we need to do to expedite getting the paperwork executed to get the Travis County commitment ($300k) delivered? Thanks in advance--Karen"
Sonleitner has been there every step of the way to stop any independent review - she doesn't want any light shinning on the Highway Robbery scheme.

Invitation for Sonleitner fundraiser hosted by the Toll Lobby.
In September 2004 an up to $2,500 a plate Toll Lobby Fundraiser for Sonleitner was hosted by members of Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA), otherwise known as the toll lobby. They include, road lobby lawyer Pete Winstead and the contractors for Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA). The Sonleitner fundraiser is an obvious "Pay off" for her YES vote in the face of ninety-three percent of the public feedback that opposed the plan. Her financials show she's even taken money from Williamson County kingpin, pal of the CTRMA & Wilco gang and convicted criminal Amos Pete Peters.

Records show she has about $45,000 in her kitty.

Long story - short, we need a viable candidate to take that Democratic seat from her. With some dollars and a simple call out - "SHE VOTED TO TOLL ROADS WE'VE ALREADY PAID FOR!", it should be a easy battle for the right candidate.

Dialog: Checking back with Karen.

7/26/2004 3:26PM - from Imacsal@aol.com

When are you running again?

7/27/04 6:17PM, Karen.Sonleitner@co.travis.tx.us writes:

My terms ends Dec. 31, 2006. The filing deadline for running for this job will be in Jan. 2006. Check back then. Karen

7/27/2004 6:23PM Imacsal@aol.com writes:

Find another job.

7/31/04 7:54PM, Karen.Sonleitner@co.travis.tx.us writes:

Sounds like you are fishing for one as well---slam books went out in grade school---try signing your name and address and take accountability for your words. Be courageous! Stand up for yourself rather than hiding behind a computer. Otherwise, have a nice day! Karen


Texas Officials Raise Toll Rates to get a Fatter Pay Check.

CTRMA Circle of Pals: One hand washes the other (with our tax dollars).

Official bankruptcy affidavit records show that Mike Heiligenstein, now CTRMA executive director, owed CTRMA board members, James Mills & Mike Robinson in the Heiligenstein bankruptcy. As Williamson County Commissioner, Heiligenstein appointed four of the board members to the CTRMA. Then, those board members thanked him by hiring Heiligenstein as Executive Director - a position that pays $120k plus car expenses and other perks.

Comptroller Report: CTRMA: A Need for a Higher Standard, March 2005:

"Mike Heiligenstein was a member of the Williamson County Commissioners Court until December 2003, and in that capacity voted for the formation of CTRMA and for the appointments of four of its board members. According to CTRMA’s Web site, he also “initiated the drive for transportation improvements that led to the passage of a $350 million dollar bond package” in Williamson County.

In 2004, however, the Texas Ethics Commission cited Heiligenstein and three other Williamson County commissioners for an ethics violation related to the promotion of that same bond package. The Ethics Commission found that the commissioners used public funds for political advertising in connection with the Williamson County Road Bonds Program. Each commissioner received and paid a $400 civil penalty for the violation. Several future CTRMA contractors also worked on this bond program.

CTRMA’s board offered Heiligenstein the executive director job on November 5, 2003. He continued to serve on the Williamson County Commissioners Court, voting at its December 2, 2003 hearing, and was formally selected for the CTRMA job on December 9.
Thus one of the persons responsible for creating CTRMA found himself in the authority’s top position."


Rockin' the toll roads!

Call for "Independent Review" of Perry's Highway Robbery in San Antonio.

Texas Toll Party members, led by San Antonio director Terri Hall, are demanding a public vote and independent review on shifting Loop 1604 and U.S. Highway 281 public highways in north Bexar County to tollways. See the WOAI report below. Citizens understand that important 'taxing' decisions should not be left to an unelected, unaccountable board.

Last year, Texas Toll Party members in Austin (where it all began) demanded an independent review. Councilmember Brewster McCracken led the charge and when the Capital Area MPO refused, he brought it to the Austin City Council for a vote. In March of 2005, City of Austin approved the Independent Review of the double tax toll plan in Austin.

DAILY TEXAN: "McCracken presented estimates of average toll charges per mile, which he said was 9 cents nationwide, 11 cents in Dallas and 14 cents in Houston. He said CTRMA originally said charges would be 12 cents to 15 cents, but has changed its estimates from 44 cents to 64 cents, five times higher than the national average and three-to-four-times higher than what CTRMA had given to CAMPO.

McCracken said the total estimated construction cost was $586 million, and $371 million in previously allocated funds were available. He said with a $215 million shortfall, an additional $867.6 million from additional non-toll road funding that will be provided to the region could easily make up for the difference."
The time is due - for every city in Texas to review the immoral shift of our public highways to tollways.

TTP's Terri Hall in San Antonio is questioning TxDOT's figures. She says money is available to build the projects now as non-toll projects, and more money could be available by suggesting alternative funding sources, like a local option gasoline tax.
Today's WOAI ARTICLE: "They (local officials) are spewing out figures like a 40 cent increase in the gasoline tax, a 50 cent increase in the gasoline tax, figures that just don't make any sense," Hall said. "The MPO in Austin actually did a study on these figures, which is what we're asking for there, and they determined their projects could be built with just a one or two cent gasoline tax increase. It was very modest, especially considering the higher prices we're paying in gasoline anyway."

Gov. Rick Perry's "innovative financing" is just a fancy word for Highway Robbery. Let's shine some light on these special interest plans to toll our public highways. Rick Perry has taken well over $1 million dollars from the toll/road lobby.


Strayhorn blasts Perry with radio ads hitting 130 stations across Texas!

Perry's TxDOT has plans like Australia to force drivers onto our Public Highways after they are Tolled

"in your lifetime most existing roads will have tolls.”
– Transportation Commission's chair Ric Williamson,
appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to govern TxDOT


Maxwell Dealership Boycott: Week two!

Some Round Rock and Austin members of the Texas Toll Party staged another Boycott event at Nyle Maxwell's Round Rock Nissan dealership Saturday. Nyle "Grim Toller" Maxwell came over for the event and even brought his toll booth - to collect toll tax dollars from freeways we've already paid for. We are asking EVERYONE to Boycott Maxwell Dealerships in Austin & San Antonio.
Drivers passing by hit their horns in support and some even stopped their cars and asked for more information. We gave them TexasTollParty.com business cards and told them, "Round Rock Mayor Nyle Maxwell voted to toll roads we've already paid for! BOYCOTT MAXWELL DEALERSHIPS"

Maxwell's employees, like busy little beavers, went to a nearby parking lot and took pictures of our cars and all our license plates.

I assume it was Maxwell's people that called the police. Sgt. Zoss came over, shook my hand and said hello. He said someone called and said we had a structure in the road. I told him that was false. At no time did we have any structure in the road.

Sgt. Nate Zoss was perfectly professional and friendly. He told us we had a constitutional right to be there Boycotting Maxwell's dealership and wished us well.

Please help - contribute to the Boycott Maxwell Radio Ad/Billboard Fund - call Linda at our TTP office today at 512.371.9926.

I continue to be impressed by the Texas Toll Party troops strong resolve to stop freeway tolls. Thanks to all our TTP pals that came out! And, thanks for the pics Nate. You folks are the best!

Big news to be broken here on this blog soon....


Muckraker blog ruffles toller feathers in Dallas!

County Commish email intended for County Judge gets sent to the Muckraker! (-whoopsi-)

Jack "Toller" Hatchell sent me the emails below that illustrate how easy it is to get those crooked toller feathers ruffled. They should get ruffled, because these double tax schemes of tolling public freeways is wrong. It's a backdoor regressive tax by a money grabbing corrupt government - that ignores what's good for the people.

Judge Ron Harris and the other tollers think they can raise unlimited taxes and hoard it while not giving any tax relief to the citizens. The county budget has increased 80% over the past 5 years. It's not enough, NOW THEY WANT TO TOLL PUBLIC HIGHWAYS!

The 10:18 am email below was intended for Judge Ron Harris (see his toller pic and article below) but Jack Hatchell sent it to the Muckraker by mistake. Hatchell shows concern about how I reported on the Judge saying "Don't mess with Collin County!" to TxDOT. THAT is in the McKinney hyperlink in the article below. He also mentions "the cause". That must be code for their Freeway Toller Club or something. "Kim" is the Judges assistant. Jack Hatchell is a county commissioner and a big Judge Harris supporter. Jack Hatchell has close ties with TxDot - by profession he's a transportation engineer.

In a message dated 8/19/05 7:48 AM, jhatchell@co.collin.tx.us writes:

Where did you get this statement?
(Dallas area Judge Ron Harris told TxDOT this week, "Don't mess with Collin County!".)

In a message dated 8/19/05 9:12 AM, imacsal@aol.com writes:


Go to the blog address below.
Click on the hyperlink of KcKinney Messenger see last line in the article.


In a message dated 8/19/05 10:18 AM, jhatchell@co.collin.tx.us writes:

I can't get his web site (muckraker blog) because it is filtered by us. If his statement is true, it does not help the cause. It would probably be worthwhile if you have Kim get the facts.
Thank you.


FLASHBACK: Think again special interest scum.


Collin County vs. TxDOT!

Dallas area Judge Ron Harris told TxDOT this week, "Don't mess with Collin County!".

He said he's drawing "a line in the sand" with TxDOT.

Wow, he's gonna take on TxDOT for the people?


Just like vultures smelling fresh carcass, the local politicos - Judge Ron Harris and his band of spineless pals - are just maneuvering to get some toll tax revenue for themselves. Collin County and its major cities of Allen, Frisco, Plano and McKinney signed a resolution, and drew a line in the sand, to tell TxDOT they want the toll revenue - TxDOT can't have any.

Well over $360 million in Tax dollars was diverted from public State Highway 121. Tolling SH 121 will be one of the biggest cash cow of the Texas public highway tolls. And, all the crooks are lining up to get a taste. The folks that live in Collin County are trapped by traditional toll roads and now the abomination that will create a net to catch their money from every direction.

Last year, Collin County ranked 231 out of 254 Texas counties in state highway construction and maintenance spending per person. While the crooks in Williamson County, you remember these are the guys that are tolling Travis county, got more than 10 times the funding per resident that Collin County got.

It is not equitable that some citizens should have to pay tolls in order to drive to work, while other citizens drive to work toll-free, particularly when both citizens have already participated in paying for those roads. So local crooks are fighting state crooks, over our money. So then we ask, WHO'S FIGHTING FOR THE PEOPLE? Hey, we still have plenty of excuses...

MCKINNEY MESSENGER: "Commissioner Jerry Hoagland said he doesn't like the idea of tolling, but the state legislature has left the county and the cities with their hands tied.

"The toll is a tax, but under the circumstances we don't have any other choice," Hoagland said.

Hoagland stressed the importance of the responsibility of residents to let their state legislature know that money generated from the gas tax in this area should go to projects in this area.

"$360 million of your gas tax was diverted to other programs; that would've been more than enough money to fund this project," Hoagland said. "We could've built this project with cash, not tolls."


Gov. Perry appointee uses intimidation to toll public highways.

Ric Williamson appointed by Gov. Perry to govern TxDOT to privatize and toll Texas public highways, continues to exude his rabid style of Toll Road bullying all over the state.

Are we getting open and honest discussion about Texas' transportation policy in the meetings? NO WAY. If you are a local official and you don't agree with Ric Williamson, he'll lecture you about tolls and then he may take away your regular highway funding.

"The Texas Transportation Commission should be used to public scrutiny. But most of the scrutiny has come from boosters and beggars wanting a new highway who will not risk antagonizing the commission by publicly questioning the way it does the public's business."
– Austin-American Statesman, 12/28/03
THIS WEEK, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said of Williamson's intimidation "I'm not going to be run over from some guy with a big ego from TxDOT."

But that rabid Ric Williamson style is nothing new. At the 12/19/02, meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission, Harris County Judge Eckels said that we should have a balanced system of toll roads and free roads. Eckels said that we need to look at increasing the gasoline tax to maintain a balanced system. Eckels was immediately and harshly rebuffed by Williamson, who questioned why anyone could support an increase in the gasoline tax because 25% of the money goes to education.

At the 3/27/03, TTC meeting, Collin County Judge Harris stated that the gasoline tax needs to be considered as part of the funding for future transportation improvements. Ric Williamson told Harris to get lost, that tolls are the only way Texas will finance highways. Williamson indicated giving local regions the option to increase their fuel tax would not something to consider.
SA EXPRESS Today: "State transportation officials have pushed San Antonio leaders, treated them rudely and ignored them, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff charged Tuesday.

Commissioner Lyle Larson, who says he's been ostracized by Gov. Rick Perry for opposing state toll road plans, is trying to cut the authority's funding.

"I don't know what kind of Kool-Aid's being sloshed around Austin," he said. "But let me tell you, people are opposed to this."

Larson claims the state asked the county to form the authority just to have a shield against angry motorists. The authority is bureaucratic deadwood, he said, because state officials insist on deciding how to handle private proposals to build the city's first 47 miles of toll roads.


County Commish vs. RMA Cage Match in San Antonio!

Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson is out to stop the Alamo RMA bureaucracy by keeping tax dollars from flowing into its coffers. Like leaches onto host tissue, Perry's RMA's need Tax dollars to sustain themselves. And, today Larson is out to choke off those dollars - so the freeway tolling authority will die on the vine! Go Lyle Larson!

FROM SA EXPRESS: "Larson, angry about the state's look at a private bidder to build North Side toll road projects after encouraging the county to set up the local entity, has been trying to line up votes to delete part of the RMA's funding at today's commissioners court meeting.

"I'm really not a proponent of creating layers of government when they're not needed," Larson said. "We've never wanted to toll the roads."

"Commissioners have funded the RMA with $750,000 in loans, with another $500,000 coming from the city. If the county cuts off the RMA, it would be tough to operate beyond a year, said RMA board member Jim Reed.

More importantly, he said, it would be seen as a vote of no-confidence by the county at a time when the RMA is working up a memorandum of agreement with the state that would outline its role in setting up an agreement with the private developer — Spain-based Cintra and locally owned Zachry American Infrastructure."
"It opens the door to open-ended new taxation that will
to the largest tax increase in Texas History.”
– Lyle Larson, Bexar County Commissioner
(Give Lyle some love!: llarson@co.bexar.tx.us)


UPDATED: Gerald "Oak Hill Toller" Daugherty has his own line of merchandise.

I think Gerald wore a Baby Bib like this one when he almost cried and walked out of CAMPO months ago.

Commissioner Gerald "Oak Hill Toller" Daugherty, led the charge for the FREEWAY TOLL plan at CAMPO just a few weeks ago. Yes, last year he voted NO to freeway tolls and this year he voted YES to freeway tolls - these are roads we've already paid for. CLICK HERE: This new store with a line of products and clothes (T-shirts, Caps, Clocks and more!) is just for you Gerald!
UPDATED: From Statesman today (Friday):

Statesman Headline: Now available: the anti-toll thong.

Gerald Daugherty is officially back on the bad side of toll road warrior Sal Costello and his circle. The evidence: You can now buy a thong with Daugherty's face on it and the legend, "De-elect Oak Hill Toller Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty."

You can go to cafepress.com -- the same folks offering "Adios, mofo" merchandise in the wake of Gov. Rick Perry's recent gaffe -- search for "oakhilltoller" and order the thong for a song, just $8.99, or various other items (including a baby bib for tollaphobic infants) with the same image...

..."He voted for freeway tolls, and that's unacceptable," Costello said...Read more here


Maxwell Dealership BOYCOTT Kick-off - A Great Succcess!

Nyle Maxwell isn't too bright, and that was our good fortune today!

Maxwell had KVET radio put up a huge balloon in an effort to try and distract people from what we had planned. I'd say the average driver probably thought KVET was also boycotting Maxwell for double tax toll roads.

Maxwell turned the sprinklers on, I assume to run us off. We enjoyed the cool mist - the kids loved it - it was very hot out there. Thanks Maxwell, you silly toller!

Maxwell also called the cops on us. The police officer pulled up in his car, came over and shook my hand, and told me someone complained that we had put up a "structure". He looked at the toll booth and said "Oh, I'm not going to do anything about that", he shook my hand and said good-by and good luck. I've met many cops over the past year who are also opposed to tolling public highways. Seeing it's never been done in the history of our country.

Lots of cars slowed down and some stopped. We had a ton of folks beep their horns in support and the event got the media to come out to do stories.

I even spoke with Maxwell's competitors, who stood at the corner for a while and seemed very interested and after we talked for a bit I realized they were especially supportive of our boycott - we exchanged business cards. I had a guy from a union stop and we also exchanged information, since he wants to help us get the word out about all the double tax tollers to all his folks.

I'm now asking YOU to help us keep this momentum. Call into live radio shows, write letters to the editors, and tell everyone you know that we need to boycott Maxwell dealerships because he VOTED TO TOLL ROADS WE'VE ALREADY PAID FOR! Contact Linda now at 371-9926 or Linda@AustinTollParty.com to see how else you can help.

A great thanks for everyone who came out to stand with us in the hot sun today. Even Don Zimmerman, who is running against Rep. Mark "I got to toll-you-toll-you" Strama came out to hold up a sign! A special thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who are dedicated to stop double tax toll roads. Theresa, Janet, Reagan and Beki...they did a fantastic job creating the toll booth, signs and "Grim Toller" costume! We already have tons of plans to use our fantastic toll booth over and over again. Thanks to Frank for the pics and Mark for some needed funds for the materials. And, Nate for pics to come.

Somebody stick a fork in Mayor Wynn, he's done, he can't win his next election since he VOTED TO TOLL ROADS WE'VE ALREADY PAID FOR. Rick Perry, I think we'll be bringing our new toll booth over to your mansion. It's time you paid the toll.


Tracked & Traced: UnTexan

The new TxTAG is here. They got the "Tag" name right, since you are branded when you buy one. It will allow TxDOT, and its special interest friends to track, trace, and tag us wherever we go. And, in the near future, it'll make it easier for people to pay to drive on public highways that are tolled.


COME UP WITH THE BEST BUMPERSTICKER PHRASE against this electronic toll tag from hell and we'll use it for our next bumpersticker! email your entry to Sal@TexasTollParty.com, include your name if you want credit, or not. Come and vote on the best anti-TxTAG phrase at our next monthly meeting at Austin History Center, 9th & Guadalupe. Sat August 20, 2005 at 11:00am to 1:00pm


Let Mayor Nyle MAXWELL Pay the Toll!

PRESS ADVISORY: August 11, 2005

"Grim Toller" stop's traffic to protest
the tolling of public highways -

The Maxwell Dealerships
Boycott Kickoff.

Austin, TX. — A traffic stopping Nyle "Grim Toller" Maxwell, with a toll booth that reads, "Boycott Maxwell Dealerships, Stop Double Tax Tolls!", will mark the death of the taxpayer in Central Texas. The event is a protest of Round Rock Mayor Nyle Maxwell's vote to toll public funded roads in Austin. Maxwell made the vote to toll publicly funded highways in July 2004 and again in June 2005 as a Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board member. A fierce, Nyle "Grim Toller" Maxwell will stop traffic and shake down motorists for money to drive on freeways they've already paid for this Saturday at noon.

Public highways have never been shifted
to toll roads in the history of our country!

Date: Saturday, August 13
Time: High Noon
Place: Maxwell Ford, 5000 South I-35, Austin, TX

As President and CEO of the Maxwell Auto Group, Nyle Maxwell oversees the operations of eight different dealerships in Central Texas and San Antonio.

AustinTollParty.com is NOT against traditional toll roads that are funded with investor dollars and are designed and built as new toll roads that compliment public freeways. AustinTollParty.com (like the Boston Tea Party) is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization created to stop Gov. Rick Perry's "innovative financing" plan of tolling public highways. For more information, attend the event!

Contact: Austin Toll Party founder Sal Costello: Sal@AustinTollParty.com

TxDOT officials blow off transportation summit

Rep. Brown calls TTC's Ric Williamson "childish" to boycott summit.

Chris Bell: "Rick Perry's Toll Road Boondoggle"


HR3: New pork-barrel spending record, earmarking $24 billion for a staggering 6,376 pet projects.

Rep. Don Young, Alaska, chair of U.S. House Trans. Committee "Got his Pork on" with his special projects (here is just 1 of them): Bridge to a tiny Alaskan island with 50 residents for $223 million.

UPDATE: CTRMA's Robert Tesch bankruptcy records show himself and more as creditor.

Cedar Park Associates, wholly owned by Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Chairman Robert Tesch and his wife, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. Robert Tesch bankruptcy records show himself, his wife Sandra L. Tesch and another Tesch Company - Oakmont Retirement Services as creditors. Bankruptcy attorney is Joseph Martinec (512.476.0750).

Cedar Park Associates owns 1490 East Whitestone Blvd, Austin TX and shows annual revenues of $324k with 1 employee at 36k a year.

Robert Tesch's business has failed to pay:

  • $3 million to Regions Bank
  • $50k to Manuel Zuniga
  • $92k to Skyline Ventures, Inc
  • $6k to Stoker Management dba Jani-King
  • $3k to Pendernales Electric
  • $2k to K.I.S.S., Inc
  • ? to Oakmont Retirement Services (NOTE: THIS IS ANOTHER TESCH BUSINESS!)
  • ? to RGD Builders
Meeting of Creditors is August 30, 2005 at 11:30am. Location: Austin Room 118, Homer Thornberry Bldg. 903 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701. For more information contact the Bankruptcy Clerk's Office at 512.916.5238. Case number 05-14359-frm.

FBI shows Bankruptcy fraud is a growing national problem.

* COMPTROLLERS REPORT ON TESCH *: "...public records show that the property valuation (less any improvements) of an 18-acre tract Tesch owns, which lies about 2,000 feet east of future US 183-A right of way, has already increased by 612% since the time of his appointment to the CTRMA board."

CLICK HERE: Before We Leave the Parlor, Look the Body Moved!


The Rick Perry Inaction Figure


NEWS FLASH from CorridorWatch.org

Thanks to the Trans Texas Corridor, Texans can look forward to seeing the Spanish Flag flying high over Texas once again.

There's big money in toll roads and our new state highway corridor monopoly. And TxDOT's Spanish partner appears to want it all.

Remember state officials attempting to rebuff concerns about the world's largest engineering-construction job going to a foreign company? Have you heard them exaggerate role of Zachry Construction making the twenty-percent equity partner somehow sound equal to Cintra and it's eighty-percent stake? Remember how they told you that it would generate thousands of construction jobs right here in Texas? Do you remember being told that it would be a windfall for Texas highway construction companies?

The Associated Press in Madrid, Spain, reports today that Spain's largest construction company, Grupo Ferrovial SA, parent company of Cintra, has negotiated a deal to buy the Houston-based Webber Group.

The $220 million dollar deal will have Ferrovial fully acquire the Webber Group construction company includes W.W.Webber Inc., Southern Crushed Concrete and Webber Management Group. A statement issued by Ferrovial anticipates the sale to be finalized next month.

With the purchase of Webber, Ferrovial (Cintra) has bought themselves a Texas highway construction company on TxDOT's Prequalified Contractor list and one that has plenty of Texas toll road construction experience.

How many ways will our Spanish "partner" profit from the Trans Texas Corridor? And where, or from whom, will all that profit come from? And, perhaps more important, where will all that profit go?

You can bet that this is just the tip of the toll road empire iceberg.

It's time to buy a Spanish flag and prepare to wave it proudly as our state surrenders Texas highways, railroads, utilities and hundreds of thousands of acres of Texas to Spanish profiteers who will effectively own and operate our own Texas infrastructure for the next half-century.


SA Editorial: HR3 deserves Bush Veto

HR3: Using more Tax dollars to privatize and toll public roads.

The Lone Star Report has an interesting article on how Congresses HR 3, makes it easier for states like Texas to build new toll roads. President George W. Bush is expected within the next few weeks to sign the $286 billion federal transportation bill, HR 3, which passed July 29. Here are a few excerpts:

"Minnesota Democratic Congressman Jim Oberstar expressed concern that the amendment gives states incentives to toll new roads. "This amendment really crosses the line on tolling to mix federal funds with tolls is anathema to the idea of a publicly supported transportation system through our Highway Trust Fund and the user fee," he said. "I could understand if the gentleman from Texas (Burgess) were advocating and others were advocating tolls and toll-only facilities. But to cross the line and mix Highway Trust Fund dollars with toll funds to encourage building of toll facilities to indirect competition with toll-free highways, just does not make any sense at all."

"Sal Costello, founder of the grassroots anti-toll organization called Texas Toll Party, agreed to disagee, calling the measure a "tax and toll proliferation" bill. The Burgess amendment, he said, "gives states more credit for tolling publicly funded roads, which is upside-down in most people's opinion."

"HR 3 extends the federal pilot program that allows eligible states to
convert existing free Interstate highways into toll roads."
Reps who pushed and voted FOR HR3:
Senator Kay Baily Hutchison
Congressman Loyd Doggett
Congressman LAMAR SMITH
Congressman Michael Burgess
Congressman Pete Sessions
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

Reps who voted AGAINST HR3:
Senator John Cornyn

Beneficiary of state grant has links to Perry


Perry's TxDOT continues to falsify deadlines and bully to push his "innovative financing" plan (Tolling Freeways).

OK, Gov. Perry's "innovative financing" made Texas Monthly's "Top 10 ways to Fix Texas" (see 2 articles down), but other than that, the papers are not really telling the readers that "innovative financing" is really tolling freeways. And, that freeways have never been shifted to tollways in the history of our country. And, that Perry needs to inject this new tax scheme with lots of our tax dollars to make it happen.

Dallas area version of a MPO, North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) must have a pre-vote by each city. The City of Frisco, on Wednesday evening voted to table a freeway toll vote. The vote was tabled partly because Frisco found out Perry's TxDOT gave another false deadline to force a toll vote. There is record of other MPO's finding out TxDOT gave false deadlines for toll votes in 2004. I'm told of a recent important TxDOT letter to a county judge that I will get a hold of and post here soon.

VIDEO: Austin Council Member Brewster McCracken gives long list of many TxDOT lies, including a false deadline, that lead to an Independent Review by the Austin City Council months later (to begin shortly).



The country's first freeway tolling authority chair, Robert Tesch, files for ANOTHER bankruptcy.

Cedar Park Associates, wholly owned by Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Chairman Robert Tesch and his wife, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. Tesch's business has failed to pay over 3 million dollars it owes to Regions Bank.

This is not the first time Tesch has refused to pay his bills. As disclosed in his 2003 Governors Appointment Application, Tesch has had other defaults on "personal, business or student loan(s)", which include another bankruptcy and a pending foreclosure. Armed with the history of Tesch's past defaults, Governor Rick Perry still appointed him as the states first RMA chair in January 2003.

In March of 2005, Comptroller Strayhorn publicly called for resignation of CTRMA Board Chairman Tesch and Johanna Zmud, citing favoritism and self enrichment. TESCH REFUSED TO RESIGN. Robert Tesch has real estate interests in Williamson County that will benefit from the tolls on the CTRMA's first toll road - 183A. Comptroller Strayhorn's report on the CTRMA shows how one of Tesch's properties have already increased more than 600% in value since he became chair of the RMA.

Rick Perry's unelected, unaccountable RMA's will set the toll rates for public freeways.

Robert Tesch files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - STATESMAN ARTICLE.

Austin Business Journal ARTICLE

Texas Monthly: "Stop the toll road menace"!

Rick Perry's "innovative financing" made Texas Monthly's "Top 10 ways to Fix Texas". The article includes "Stop the toll road menace" at the #2 position.

"Turning planned freeways-thats freeways-into toll roads
in urban areas
and holding commuters hostage is
downright un-American and un-Texan."

– Texas Monthly, 8/05


Some Dallas leaders saying "wait a minute" to "cash cow" freeway toll.

Across the state of Texas, cities are waking up to the smell of their veins being tapped for dollars. Perry's new tax scheme involves tolling public roads, and it's happening right now across Texas. Perry's "innovative finance" plan/mandate takes ALL existing funded Texas highway projects, some on the verge of completion, and turns them into toll roads at the last minute.

Dallas leaders are some of the latest in the state to say "hold on" to Perry's highway henchmen seeking to turn our freeways into "cash cow" revenue generating machines. I'm sure this could also turn into a political power play as some local politicians will want to get a taste of that money for their own political pet projects.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: "If motorists must pay to drive State Highway 121 in Collin County, the money collected should be used to widen only that road, many local leaders there say.

The growing sentiment runs counter to state and regional leaders' hopes that a Highway 121 toll road would become a "revenue generator" that could help pay for highway projects in an era of stagnant gasoline-tax rates. Local leaders, in making their argument against the idea, say the possible toll road should not be viewed as a "cash cow."

"We heard enough at the city level and at our own level to say that the money needs to stay right on Highway 121," said Collin County Judge Ron Harris. "We think they should only sell enough bonds to finance the project – no excess."

A growing undercurrent of frustration with state funding policies in other areas helped lead to the move to scale back the revenue potential for the road and call for a county-based authority to oversee its financing and operation. Local policymakers are watching the continued debate over school finance and the plan critics have dubbed Robin Hood that has diverted millions of dollars from property-wealthy districts such as Plano to property-poor districts statewide.

Now, they are leery of creating a toll road that they say could eventually raise millions in revenue, only to have it sent to other parts of the state.

"It should not become a 'Robin Hood' for construction," said Frisco Mayor Mike Simpson. "If our council is going to look at a toll, one condition is that it pays only for what is needed." More Here