Donna Howard endorsed by PET PAC for Special Election!

******Special Election******
People for Efficient Transportation PAC Endorses
Vote Donna Howard for State Representative District 48
Early Voting Jan 3 - 13!!!
Election Day is Jan 17

After careful consideration and a comprehensive questionnaire, PET PAC is confident Donna Howard is the best candidate for the job. PET PAC is a nonpartisan, grassroots group of Texans focused on keeping toll booths off roads we've already paid for. Two years ago, PET PAC endorsed a Republican for this seat, this year we back a Democrat.

“We selected Democrat Donna Howard over the Republican in this race because she was 100% open with her responses and because of her strong position against privatizing and tolling our public highways. Donna Howard understands the tremendous negative impact that freeway tolls will have on our local economy,” said Sal Costello, founder of PET PAC. “We've discovered Donna Howard will work the hardest to keep the unaccountable toll tax collection booths off our public highways.” Costello added.

Donna Howard TV ad and website:

PET PAC Press Release:

District 48 Map:

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CTRMA campaign: "How to Pay the Toll."

Sheriffs' PAC: "urgency for immediate change!"

Dear Austin Chronicle Editor,

The current commissioner's [Karen Sonleitner] letter to the editor on Dec. 16 [“Postmarks”] only affirms our membership made the right decision by supporting Sarah Eckhardt's commitment to sound government [“Sheriff's Unions Back Eckhardt for Precinct 2 Comissioner,” News, Dec. 9].

What's sad about the commissioner's letter is her frail attempt to try to equate our membership's decision to support Sarah Eckhardt with the personal greed of the men and women who protect this community. The commissioner's budget numbers and facts were skewed during negotiations this year, and they're even worse in her letter to you.

It's our position over the years that the commissioner has increasingly lost touch with her ability to effectively govern on issues relating to the crucial mission of the Sheriff's Office. The Travis County Sheriff's Officers Association and the Sheriffs' Law Enforcement Association represent nearly 90% of the employees of the Sheriff's Office. We take the safety of the citizens of Travis County very seriously. We feel it is our responsibility to ensure our office's mission is represented by our elected officials commensurate to the level of service we provide to their constituents.

In the case of the commissioners of Precinct 2, just because the commissioner tends to vote in line with other pro-public-safety members of the court, does not mean the commissioner is supporting our employees in a manner that is equal to the unmatched level of public safety services we provide throughout the county.

Our job as peace officers is sometimes unpopular, but very necessary, much like speaking out against an 11-year incumbent. The fact that both associations are openly taking this stance against the commissioner should alert the party and our citizens of the urgency for immediate change!

Brett Spicer, PAC chairman
Travis County Sheriffs' Law Enforcement Association
Alex Leo, PAC chairman
Travis County Officers' Association


2 EZ steps to file an "Open Records Request"

2 EZ steps to file an
"Open Records Request"

- within minutes - ONLINE!


I've filed about 70 transportation based requests over the past 20 months with TxDOT, RMA, Senators, State Representatives, Mayor etc. I've learned the easiest ways to get information, and I want to share it with you. You can request any information from YOUR government.

1. Write your request. Copy and paste one of the base letters below, fill in your own dates, name, and specific info (about specific roads, rail, dollars, communications etc) you'd like to receive. Ask to come into their office to review the information. It is FREE. If what you request is less than 40 pages, they will mail it to you for free! If you decide to go view the documents, you can get copies of only the limited items you'd like (much cheaper than the cost of having everything copied. I've seen estimates of $100's or $1,000's for requests):

2. Submit the request online. Here are a few examples of where you can start requesting information right now...IT'S YOUR GOVERNMENT.

Go to: http://www.dot.state.tx.us/
Click "Contact Us" in top bar to left.
Select and send to "Public Information Office"
Select "Request for Information"
Fill out the rest and submit.


Send your request via email to: spustelnyk@ctrma.org & mstein@ctrma.org

Send your request via email to: michael.aulick@campotexas.org

Send your request via email to: foia.officer@fhwa.dot.gov

Send your request via email to: Will.wynn@ci.austin.tx.us

Send yourself a copy of the letter for your records. If you don't get a reply within 2-3 weeks call the AG's office at (877) 673-6839, then file a formal complaint.



With the rights granted to me under the Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, I request to come into your office and view the following:

Any and all information, correspondence, including but not limited to, letters, facsimile transmissions, contracts and e-mail messages, discussing any TxDOT employees or contract workers involved in any corruption, misappropriation, fraud, embezzlement, graft, contract fixing, good old boy profiteering, and the like between October 1, 2001 and December 22, 2005.

A list of all past TxDOT employees or contract workers that have been reprimanded, fired or asked to retire or resign for any corruption, misappropriation, fraud, embezzlement, graft, contract fixing, good old boy profiteering, and the like between October 13, 2001 and December 22, 2005.

I would also like the TxDOT comprehensive balance as of December 22, 2005, of all TxDOT accessible accounts to see if TxDOT has run out of money.

Thank You,
Your name here
Mailing address here
Phone here



With the rights granted to me under the Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, I request to come into your office and view the following:

All documents showing all TxDOT financial support to CTRMA to date. Any and all information, correspondence, including but not limited to, letters, facsimile transmissions, contracts and e-mail messages, to and from TxDOT, CTRMA, Texas Transportation Commission and all executive decision makers.

Thank You,
Your name here
Mailing address here
Phone here


CAMPO Executive Director Mr. Aulick,

With the rights granted to me under the Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, I request to come into your office and view the following:

1. All correspondence, including but not limited to, letters, facsimile transmissions and e-mail messages for each CAMPO board member as well as CAMPO director Micheal Aulick from June 1st, 2004 to July 14, 2004. All day calendars, day journal and appointment books for each CAMPO board member as well as CAMPO director Micheal Aulick from January 1st, 2004 to July 15, 2004.

2. Any and all documents pertaining to reasonable alternative routes on nontoll roads for each and every toll road in the toll road plan approved by CAMPO on July 12, 2004. This requests includes, but is not limited to, diagrams and drawings.

3. Any and all traffic studies and reports pertaining to each and every toll road in the toll road plan approved by CAMPO on July 12, 2004.

4. Any and all revenue studies and reports pertaining to each and every toll road in the toll road plan approved by CAMPO on July 12, 2004.

5. Any and all environmental studies and reports pertaining to each and every toll road in the toll road plan approved by CAMPO on July 12, 2004.

6. Any and all documents pertaining to the rights-of-way acquisition costs and locations for each and every toll road in the toll road plan approved by CAMPO on July 12, 2004.

Thank You,
Your name here
Mailing address here
Phone here

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* Injuction Filed Today * ---Merry xmas! Happy Holidays! Click on comments below for more...

"Parking Ticket Santa" pays off fines.

Caroline Howard received a card from "Parking Ticket Santa" addressed to “Christmas ticketing victim #14” on her car, with the money enclosed to pay her parking ticket.


Dave Pasley: S.A. needs more roads, not toll booths

Planning Director, Dave Pasley says produce the less expensive arterial streets (as they do in Phoenix). More roads, not bigger roads. And, NOT TOLL ROADS. Read the article here or in comments area.


"BraveHeart" Eckhardt vs. "Toller Queen" Sonleitner.

In a world where well financed special interest incumbents rarely get viable opponents, Sarah Eckhardt enters the political fray with the heart, spirit and mind of a peoples' champion.

Sarah Eckhardt
takes a stand for Good Government and the public, to dump entrenched special interest Karen Sonleitner the "Freeway Toller Queen".

Eckhardt held the announcement of her Campaign at a "Toll Booth Tail Gate Party" on Saturday at 2pm at a North Mopac Toll gantry. Eckhardt, dead serious about this fight for accountability, has hired David Butts, who is known to be one of the best political advisors in Central Texas.

"Tolls on existing Roads will not solve our traffic problems". "I want to stand up for good government" Eckhardt told the Austin Chronicle, Channel 7 and the group of supporters at one of the toll gantry's on Mopac.

Besides integrity and character, Eckhardt brings all the right stuff to the table:
  • A former prosecutor with the Travis County Attorney's Office
  • Masters Degree in Public Affairs from UT
  • Former business owner
  • Travis County Sheriff's Officers Association Endorsement and;
  • Travis County Sheriff's Law Enforcement Officers Association Endorsement
Sonleitner ignored 93% of the public feedback that opposed tolling public highways in Central Texas. In return, an up to $2,500 a plate fundraiser was hosted by the toll lobby - held for Karen Sonleitner. See the actual invitation below. Click on the hyperlink in the line above for more info on how each person on the invite benefit from tolling our public highways.

Karen "Toller Queen" Sonleitner has been Travis County Commissioner of District 2 for eleven years.

Sonleitner has also managed to piss off the Sheriff's Department. The Austin Chronicle just wrote a story on how the Sheriff's Union has Endorsed Sarah Eckhardt.

The Sheriff's Union said the decision to back Eckhardt was solely a question of "character." "We cannot trust her" he said of Sonleitner. "It's a character issue."

Karen Sonleitner:
  • Raised Travis County taxes again just weeks ago.
  • Gave herself a raise (On the same agenda, on the same day she raised our taxes).
  • Voted to toll gas tax funded public highways.
  • Is giving our public highways to her toll lobby contributors.
A lot of folks have been working hard for months to find a viable candidate for the "Toller Queen". I put out a public call on this blog in August. A wise coalition friend asked Sarah to run, and gave me the good news in November.

I've spoken with Sarah at length and have been thoroughly impressed at her depth of knowledge on the unaccountable nature and innerworkings of the freeway toll/RMA subjects. I've never met a candidate that knows as much about the subject as Sarah does. She's definitely done her homework, and she's ready to take a stand.

We are "suiting up" to dump the Toller Queen and send a clear message to the rest of the Central Texas Looters who ignored the 93% of the public feedback! (That includes Mayor "Double Tax" Wynn and Councilman Brewster McCracken in upcoming elections). If you want to help out, starting in January, email me now at Sal@TexasTollParty.com with your name and phone. Early voting begins Feb. 21st.

TxDOT Cost Overruns discussion


SEE TOLLERS RUN (away): SA's Rep. CASTEEL pushes Tolls on Public Highways and then runs from record.

Rep. Casteel has been telling her voters that she does not believe we should be tolling our public highways
. But her record shows she's been voting to toll those public highways every step of the way! You can run, but you can not hide. It's not conservative to force people to pay a toll, for what is already theirs. Looks like she might be running out of time.

From the "Daily Buzz" of QuorumReport.com:
"State Representative Carter Casteel (R-New Braunfels) responded today to a "push poll" being conducted in House District 73, which includes Bandera, Comal, Gillespie, and Kendall Counties. The polling questions misrepresented Casteel’s conservative values and voting record as a member of the Texas House of Representatives."I have had many calls about the ‘push poll’ conducted last week," Casteel said. "‘Push polls’are political telemarketing, not public opinion surveys. The ‘poll’ questions were designed tomisrepresent my conservative values and voting record as your state representative.""I have always had an ‘open door’ policy. If you want to know where I stand, just ask," Casteel"


Major Texas Toll Road May Be Halted

STRAYHORN does not rule out independent possibility.

Local Attorney Impersonates a "Transportation Planning Expert" for profit.

John Langmore,
a cohort of Representative Mike Krusee,
poses as a Transportation Planning Expert
while his education background
reveals he's an attorney.

A couple of weeks ago the Austin American Statesman, in an article by Stephen Scheibal, referred to John Langmore as a "planning expert". Langmore has himself listed in the Envision Central Texas website as a "Transportation and Land Use Consultant".

But a closer look at his resume shows he's an attorney with NO formal education in Transportation planning, not even an online college course. His only relationship with transportation is, he drafted the freeway toll & TTC legislation known as HB 3588. Lawyers draft legislation. Drafting crafty legislation for Rep. Mike Krusee, to make it legal to toll gas funded public freeways is a far cry from being a transportation planning expert.

John Langmore pulls the ultimate confidence game on our region by directing transportation planning for Central Texas involving BILLIONS of dollars. This ain't no "sims" game. It's our city.

Instead of working with experts in the transportation field, our local Austin special interests politicians, like Mayor Will Wynn, Councilmember Brewster McCracken and others are taking the lead from non-experts such as Rep. Mike Krusee and his close associate, John Langmore.
Langmore cleans up on corrupt "Good Old Boy" transportation contracts. So many transportation contracts came his way he needed to create a new business as a Transportation Consultant. Langmore has also received a toll road related marketing contract through TateAustin. All with our tax dollars.

THE DECEPTION GOES ONE STEP FURTHER: Langmore is now one of the folks in charge of directing an alternative transportation "solution" to the phase 2 freeway tolls here in Austin! Read that line again. That's like letting the devil help you get out of a deal with the devil involving your soul. Man, they must really think we're stupid. Maybe we are.


The Real Price of Gas

DeJa Vu: Hoosier style

Tolling Existing Highways: Vision of the future

A highway venture in Orange County, Calif., was torpedoed by a lack of vision for the future.

Investors paid $130 million for the right to build and operate four express toll lanes for an existing highway (freeway toll). In 1995, the lanes opened. Drivers paid tolls electronically, and the tolls went up during high-traffic hours.

The contract, however, prevented the state from modifying non-express alternative lanes or adding new interchanges (there was a non-compete agreement). By 2003, the alternative frontage roads needed $1.6 billion in improvements.

So Orange County paid $207.5 million to buy back the express lanes.


E-tracking may change the way you drive.

E-ZPass Threatens to Suspend Motorist Registrations

Toll Roads, Corruption and a Mistress.

Below is my latest request (I've done about 70 over the
past 19 months). I sent this one to CTRMA last week.
Transportation Looters like Rep. Mike Krusee
and Mike Heiligenstein (CTRMA Executive Director at
$130k a year & perks) give no bid contracts
(using our
tax dollars) to their friends, loved ones, and
! I'll give you an update on this
blog in the coming days, when they send me the answers.


As a taxpayer concerned with corruption within the CTRMA, and understanding that millions of tax dollars have found their way into the CTRMA freeway tolling bureaucracy, I'd like additional information. With the rights granted to me under the Freedom of Information Act, I request that you send me my requests below via US mail to the address below:

The Comptrollers report (http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05/) shows Owen Consulting (Everett Owen) was given one of many no bid contracts with the CTRMA. I'm told by reliable sources that this contract was given to Everett Owen, who is a boyfriend of Lisa England's close friend. Lisa England was Mike Heiligenstein's (Stein) girlfriend at the time and I understand that their relationship continues.

The Comptrollers report shows Informative Efforts LLC (Melinda Wheatley) was given a no bid contract from the CTRMA. I've been told by numerous reliable sources that Melinda Wheatley, a girlfriend of Mike Krusee's, received this no bid contract as Informative Efforts LLC. State Rep. Krusee has been instrumental in forming the CTRMA and other RMA freeway tolling bureaucracies around the state.

I recall a public promise from the CTRMA, shortly after the Comptrollers report came out in 3/05, that the no bid contracts (two of which are described here) and other corrupt practices would come to an end.

Are these two specific CTRMA no bid contracts still in place? Are the many other "circle of friends" no bid contracts noted in the Comptrollers Report still in place? If no bid contracts are against state law for TxDOT to give out, why are they not prohibited for the CTRMA bureaucracy?

What is the total amount of all billings to date for Informative Efforts LLC and Owens Consulting?

Thank You,
Sal Costello
What do you think? Post or read comments below or click the envelope
icon to auto send this article to someone you know.

As printed in the AA Statesman Letters to Editor today...Freeway Toller Call Goes out.

Biscoe needs an opponent

Travis County taxpayers deserve a choice. We need a viable opponent to run against Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe. Just weeks ago, Biscoe's expected opponent, Daryl Slusher, decided not to run. So Biscoe currently has no opponent for the Democratic primary.

At every turn, Biscoe has made some seriously poor decisions on behalf of Travis County taxpayers. Biscoe voted to raise Travis County taxes just weeks ago. After Biscoe raised taxes, he gave himself a raise so that his 2006 salary would be $95,000. Biscoe voted in 2004 and 2005 to toll roads that we've already paid for. He reappointed Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board member Johanna Zmud after state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn found conflicts and asked Zmud to resign. Biscoe voted for and gave hundreds of thousands of county tax dollars as seed money to the mobility authority.

Travis County taxpayers deserve a choice for this important position. The deadline to file is Jan. 2.


Founder of People for Efficient Transportation


Step 1 of 2 - SA Express "(Public Highway) Toll roads will limit improvements to free roadways"

Unlike what is being proposed in Austin, San Antonio, and other areas of Texas, the toll roads in Dallas and Houston were new roads.  Under Gov. Perry's "innovative financing" plan, existing highways are being tolled. What happens when you toll ALL expressways?

Step 2 of 2 - Secret Noncompete Agreements are the devil in the public highway tolling privatization details.

Freeway tolling experiment here in Texas (tolling public highways) is a first in the U.S. and non-compete agreements help hold drivers hostage.


Aquifer Guardians And PET, Inc. Sue TxDOT to Stop Toll Road System


Aquifer Guardians and
People For Efficient Transportation, Inc.

Sue TxDOT to Stop San Antonio Toll Road
System Over Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone

Environmental analyses fail to consider any alternatives to massive toll highway with frontage roads that will exacerbate sprawl over recharge zone and pollution of aquifer

Today, Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas (AGUA), long-time advocates for protection of the Edwards Aquifer, and toll road watchdog People for Efficient Transportation, Inc. (PET) joined forces to oppose the proposed expansions of tolling U.S. 281 and Loop 1604 north of San Antonio. The lawsuit asserts that an environmental impact statement should be prepared for the expansion of highways over the recharge zone and that alternatives should be considered to minimize the harmful effects of urban sprawl in an environmentally sensitive area. Highways and urban sprawl in the area are fragmenting habitat for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler, contributing to air quality degradation, and polluting the aquifer.

“This project has taken off without any consideration of how such a massive development will impact our water supply.” said Annalisa Peace, of AGUA. “After all, the people of San Antonio have twice voted to tax themselves to protect this region. And we aim to see that their preference in this matter is respected.”

The Edwards Aquifer region is being overwhelmed by uncontrolled and unplanned residential growth. The proposed toll roads will greatly accelerate these harmful trends and the highway agencies are moving forward without taking any meaningful look at the implications of their actions.

“TxDOT’s obsession with charging tolls on existing roads is an unfair financial hardship for taxpayers, and increases the environmental impacts of the roads because of TxDOT’s policy to provide frontage roads as a free alternative,” states local transportation expert Bill Barker. “Texas is the only state in the Union that builds frontage roads as a matter of policy. Every other state has found better ways to manage access, and frontage roads should not be used in this case because they negatively impact safety and flow, as well as encourage sprawl and strip mall development over the recharge zone and into the Hill Country.”

"Poll after poll show Texans opposing tolls on already funded public roads. The unaccountable nature of shifting our freeways to tollways not only produces more bureaucracy, but it increases the footprint and double or triples the cost of the project. Those costs get passed on to Texans. Our Governors 'Freeway Tolls' will negatively effect our environment as traffic congestion will increase on frontage roads with drivers that won't or can't pay the daily $5 - $10 to drive each way to work, school or shop." said Sal Costello, founder of People for Efficient Transportation Inc.

The Edwards is a karst aquifer and therefore is highly vulnerable to water pollution because surface water quickly enters the aquifer through recharge features without significant filtration. Chlorinated solvents, toxic metals, and pesticides are regularly detected in the Edwards Aquifer, at times in concentrations that threaten human health and sensitive plants and animals. Many of these pollutants, such as benzene, are common components of highway run-off.

The plaintiffs are represented by John Fritschie of Save Our Springs Alliance. SOS Alliance’s litigation docket and information on the adverse affects of highways can be found at www.sosalliance.org. For more information on AGUA go to www.aquiferguardians.org; PET go to www.stopdoubletax.com

# # #

Enrique Valdivia (210) 789-0900

Ananlisa Peace (210) 320-6294
Bill Barker (210) 308-5862

This is PET Inc's 3rd lawsuit.

Lawsuit is here. Hearing scheduled for Dec 19th, 9am Travis County Courthouse

PET Inc. won it's 1st Lawsuit here

Get ready to be railroaded by Mike Krusee and more unaccountability.

Red Light Cameras Continue to Ticket Innocent Drivers

Texas Study: HOV/Carpool Lanes Cause Accidents