Mr. Michael W. Behrens, P.E.
Texas Department of Transportation
Division or Office
125 E. 11th St.
Austin, Texas 78701-2483
Re: Trans-Texas Corridor (I-69) through Waller School District
Dear Mr. Michael W. Behrens, P.E.:
The Board of Trustees and the Administration of the Waller Independent School District have thoroughly investigated the potential impact of the passage of the Trans-Texas Corridor (I-69) through the Waller school district.
As part of our fiduciary responsibility, the Board and Administration arranged and attended presentations on the issue from the following:
• Citizens for a Better Waller County
• Dr. Pat Guzman, Population and Survey Analysts (PASA)
• Frank McFarland, Texas A&M Economist
• Jack Heise & Ed Pensock, Tx Dept. of Transportation (Trans-Texas Corridor)
The presentations and discussions addressed areas of impact to the district including mobility, economic development, tax base, growth rate and other matters which would affect our ability to conduct long range planning for the school district. Our areas of concern include:
• Efficient school bus routing near, through, and around the proposed corridor and the increased transportation costs created by the routes
• Immediate loss of tax base due to the acquisition of property for the proposed corridor, and the uncertatinty of which properties would be acquired
• Types of corridor interchanges and access roads, and their frequencies
• Frequency of corridor overpasses
• Unpredictable growth rate which would be impacted by the location of the corridor and the corridor interchanges and access roads, and their frequencies
• Our greatest concern is the lack of details available in this (Tier 1) planning phase and the approval process which requires too much commitment without detailed information. Further, we are concerned that when these details become available we will not be allowed to make necessary changes.
We recognize that with proper planning and local input the corridor could provide long range benefits to the school district. It is our intent to monitor the activities of the Trans-Texas Corridor through the Texas Department of Transportation and to provide input as required. However, given the current lack of detailed information and the assumption that the approval process remains unchanged, we regret that we are unable to support the Trans-Texas Corridor and would encourage the planning committee to select a route outside of western Harris County and all of Waller County.
If you have any questions please call 936-931-4001.
Richard T. McReavy
Waller ISD School Board President
Trans-Texas Corridor- Jack Heise
Trans-Texas Corridor- Ed Pensock
Representative Glenn Hegar Jr.
Senator Jon S. Lindsay
Representative Corbin Van Arsdale
Senator Ken Armbrister
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Gov. Rick Perry
Mr. Michael W. Behrens, P.E.
GREAT NEWS! I'm told Karen Sonleintner finally has a very viable opponent! I'll have the details on this blog within a few days.
We NEED a viable opponent for Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe. Just weeks ago his expected opponent Daryl Slusher decided not to run. So, at the moment, Biscoe has no opponent for the democratic primary! Deadline to file is Jan. 2, 2006. The Judge position pays 95k a year and they vote for who gets placed on the RMA board. This is not a court of law, but chief policy-making and administrative board for the county, so you don't need to be an attorney to run. We need real people in there to replace the puppets who work for the corporate welfare special interests.
Sam Biscoe is NOT any choice for Travis County Judge:
• Biscoe was charged with DWI in 2004. This is his website ad for a special interest fund raiser he had:
• Biscoe Voted to raise our taxes just weeks ago.
• After he raised our taxes he gave himself a raise!
• Biscoe voted to toll roads we've already paid for.
• Biscoe reappointed a CTRMA board member (Johanna Zmud) with
conflicts after comptroller demanded her resignation.
• Biscoe voted for and gave hundreds of thousands of our county tax dollars, as seed money, to the new bureaucratic freeway tolling authority (CTRMA) so they can toll our public highways.
Call Travis County Elections Division (854-4996) and Travis County Democratic Party (477-7500) for more details.
This is his DWI photo:
charge 12 to 15 cents a mile"
– Every RMA in Texas
THE TRUTH: There are two lies in the above statement. An unbiased Illinois study shows the cost for traditional toll roads is 9 cents a mile (not 12 - 15 cents - and, don't forget there is a major difference between traditional tolls and freeway (double tax) tolls). The first Gov. Perry RMA in Texas (CTRMA) made the "12 to 15 cents per mile" claim in the summer of 2004. Since spring of 2005, that estimate has increased to 44-64 cents per mile! The Comptroller's report found one at the rate of $1.00 a mile.
Imagine paying 44 cents a mile for an expressway you've already paid for. If your car gets 20 mpg that means you will pay an additional $8.80 more per gallon to drive freeway tolls. And the money they collect can go as far as the next county (even if they don't have double tax tolls). How fair is that?
With the free tracking available we're able to see who is coming into our websites and blogs. The good folks at Edelman PR have been spending a lot of time on my blog (and others) doing "research".
Who is Edelman PR? Edelman's Public Affairs practice creates programs to influence public opinion.
Who do they work for? Edelman's clients include the TTC's Cintra. You know, the folks that are making secret deals with Gov. Perry to take chunks of Texans land for profit.
with a $50 contribution and receive an
"I Sued the Double Tax Governor" Cup!
COFFEE CUP OR SWEATSHIRT HERE:
or SEND ANY CONTRIBUTION AMOUNT via check (and not receive an item):
People for Efficient Transportation Inc., PO Box 90715, Austin, TX 78709-0715
PETI is a nonprofit corporation - contributions are not tax deductible.
– AA Statesman, 11/21/05
Thank you for contacting my office regarding toll roads; I appreciate and value all feedback I get from the citizens of Texas. I am honored to be recognized by TexasTollParty.com as a "good guy" and a "rare individual [who said] NO to Rick Perry and his highway henchmen" and am grateful for the praise from your organization.
As you may be aware, I voted NO on the toll road plan. The Central Texas area has mobility and congestion issues which no one would challenge. We need to have creative responses to these pressing problems which preserve the environment and allow for greater mobility by decreasing road congestion.
I wholeheartedly support legislation that would transfer control from special interest to voters over how to best finance our highway construction and other transportation issues. Allowing the citizens of Texas to vote on whether they prefer a higher gasoline tax or toll roads is sound public policy and takes the power away from the toll lobby giving it to the people of Texas.
Thank you again for your e-mail. If you have any questions or further comments, please feel free to contact me again.
of paying $2 to $3 more per gallon
gas tax would never be accepted."
– TxDOT's Bob Daigh, Capital Area District Manager 3/04
THE TRUTH: After a request from a board member in 2005, Michael Aulick, Executive Director of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) announced it would not cost $2 to $3 more a gallon, but instead, only an additional 2 cents per gallon of gas tax for the same citywide roads built without tolls.
"Texas will soon run out of money to build highways"
Sen. Kim Brimer, 3/03
A document I just received from a TxDOT open records request reveals how Gov. Perry's TxDOT is not "broke" at all. TxDOT and other tollers continue to say we must toll Texas public highways because TxDOT has "run out of money". My October request was worded as follows:
"I would like the comprehensive balance as of October 13, 2005, of all TxDOT accessible accounts to see if TxDOT has run out of money."The document I received is titled, "Cash and Investments Controlled by TxDOT as of 10/13/05". This document shows TxDOT has a grand total of over $2.8 Billion.
The document also claims every single one of these dollars are "committed" or restricted. TxDOT uses the word "committed" for hundreds of millions, perhaps over 1 Billion tax dollars to pay for right of way and construction of public freeways - only to toll those tax funded roads at the last minute. This allows TxDOT an unaccountable revenue generating goose that lays golden eggs. Except it's Texas families who pay the golden toll.
Shifting public highways to tollways (Gov. Perry calls it "innovative financing") cost much more because the footprint is much larger. The maintenance and service of a tollway also costs more. And of course, the private toll industry also gets their cut. And, Gov. Rick Perry's radical freeway tolls come without "even a semblance of study" as a well respected pro-toller has stated.
The added bureaucracy of a regional mobility authority certainly is not efficient in these tight times. The added debt to build the more expensive freeway as a tollway is not cost efficient. The unelected toll authority setting the toll/tax rate for a public highway illustrates unaccountable double taxation. And, it is fair for one portion of a city or region to pay a toll to drive an expressway to work school or shop, while others drive free?
We currently have one tax in place for our public freeways - the gas tax. Does creating a second inefficient sloppy tax make any financial sense?
Does sitting on $2.8 Billion mean you're broke?
Click Here for VIDEO OF GHOST TOWN TOLL STORY:
Can't view the video? Read the text. Click here to find out why secret noncompete agreements and NO economic impact studies are bad for mobility, business, drivers, and generations of debt. Also note Gov. Perry's TxDOT internal presentation below for his "innovative financing" (tolling public highways) plan to force Texans onto freeway tolls, holding them hostage to drive to work, school and shop.
"Project approval equals underestimated cost, plus overestimated revenue, plus undervalued environmental impact, plus overvalued economic development effect," he wrote in a recent article for the Engineering News-Record called "Misrepresentation drives projects."
"Campaign issue, anyone? Krusee's in a fairly safe seat, but if he's not a little bit worried about what the voters thought of the issues he cared about and campaigned for, he ought to be."
Peter Samuel, the father of traditional toll road privatization and the biggest supporter of tolls you can find, speaks out about Texas Tollers lack of studies and principles, and says Texas Tollers like Gov. Perry, TxDOT and Rep. Krusee are inept and arrogant over tolling public highways in his newsletter this past Thursday.
The Defeat of Texas Prop 9 spurred Samuel to comment, "the vote is a political blow to tolling since it suggests a lack of public confidence in the way tolling is being handled in the state." Samuel is the editor of the worlds premier pro-toll newsletter called TollRoadsNews.com.
Thursday's article includes the following quotes about shifting tax funded public highway projects to toll roads:
"Political support in TX has also been sapped by a bewilderingly unprincipled and unexplained intermixing of funding of projects by TxDOT.
"In Texas the tollers are behaving arrogantly and with extraordinary political ineptitude"
"There's something sleazy too in that term "regional mobility authority". It's a toll authority. Why run away from that? Only people without the courage of their convictions or who are too tongue tied to explain themselves resort to silly euphemisms. Does it fool anyone anyway?"
"TxDOT's promiscuous approach to raising funds and their promotion of projects without even a semblance of study has been the anti-toll groups' major recruiter."
Samuel has also stated recently in his newsletter,
"It has no coherent explanation for its project selection, or for the way tax and toll monies are mixed. It has been cavalier in proposing tolls on highways already funded - breaching a long-established piece of political wisdom about tolling."Click on the envelope below to automaticly send this article's link to others (INCLUDING YOUR ELECTED LOOTING REPRESENTATIVES).
"TxDOT produces precious little analysis of costs and benefits, yet it is pressing ahead with a huge array of toll projects."
"It's real frustrating that they would put through charade of encouraging local control and ask for us to come up with their own plan if not going to consider it," said Plano Mayor Pat Evans
I went to the first meeting of the Central Texas "Independent Review" yesterday. The sham was a who's who of tollers, including councilmember Brewster McCracken who dreamt up this joke of an "Independent Review", and other tollers like County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, Rep. Mike Krusee, Rep. Mark Strama, and bunch of other folks that have been pushing tolls on our funded freeways.
Can you say Enron auditing Enron con? Brewster McCracken (shown here) said yesterday, that all sides are represented, but saying it doesn't make it so. And he voted for the toll plan twice! As they spoke, the Steering Committee sat there feasting on a high priced taxpayer funded deli lunch, while they prepared to make decisions at our expense.
Find this in the American Statesman today, it includes comments from Freeway Toll voting Rep. Mark Strama, trying to put make-up on this pig:
"Underlying Tuesday's hair-splitting is the charge, made by anti-toll activists originally but echoed by some officials Tuesday, that what was originally envisioned as an independent review of Austin's second wave of proposed toll roads has been co-opted by the people who conceived and pushed through that toll road plan last year.So how can the public trust an "independent review" of the same folks that have been pushing the Freeway toll plan? We can't. Because it is not independent. Brewster says, the steering committee doesn't really matter. That makes me wonder - then why is it so unbalanced?
The fear is that the coalition of local governments that pitched in $350,000 to do the study could in the end produce a dead-on-arrival report. "This process is only worthwhile if the public trusts the outcome," said state Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, a member of the steering committee.
And, in the meeting, another pro-toller stated the obvious, "This thing is not going to have the credibility that we want it to have in the community if we do this." said Commissioner Gerald Daugherty.
"What distinguished the Phase 2 plan of seven roads — later cut to five — was that it envisioned turning several existing highways interrupted with stoplights into expressways that would have toll charges on the main lanes and free frontage roads.
And it included three roads already under construction with gasoline tax dollars."
Secret meetings are allowed.style="text-align: center;">Read my full report from last month here.
• Toll Authority (CTRMA) is the Project Coordinator!
• One sided Review Steering Committee.
• The Committee can select to not accept the results!
• It is NOT in any way independent.
• It allows tollers to unveil a toll plan "B".
Comment below or click on the envelope below to send the link of this story to others.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2005
People for Efficient Transportation (TexasTollParty.com)
Contact: Sal Costello
Prop 1 Rail Fund Fight - Far From Over.
Austin, TX - While the controversial Constitutional Amendment 2 soaked up the limelight in this election, a grassroots whisper campaign for accountability took hold across central Texas, uniting urban and rural communities. With virtually no dollars, the movement against the tolling of the public highways and against the mammoth Trans Texas Corridor scored an important victory and exposed the vulnerability of Governor Rick Perry.
Farmers and ranchers from the Texas blacklands, suburban "soccer moms", and central city dwellers from Austin, most having never participated in political campaigns in their lives, worked together with nothing more than 100,000 donated flyers, homemade signs, a growing email list and shoe polish on their car windows. These ordinary people were quietly organizing their friends, neighbors and co-workers to the polls in Travis, Bell, Waller, Bexar, Fayette, Harris, Travis Johnson, Navarro, Brazos, Gonzales, Williamson, Hays, Milam, Bastrop, Uvalde and Comal counties.
Constitutional Amendment 1, the Texas Relocation Rail Fund passed -- by a small statewide margin. Constitutional Amendment 9, the Governor's attempts to extend the terms of unelected, unaccountable Regional Mobility Authority board members, who will set toll rates for Texas public freeways, was soundly defeated.
Both measures were trounced by 66-78% margins in counties, like Milam, Waller, Fayette and Bell where farmers and ranchers are trying desperately to hold on to their land being threatened by Gov. Perry's Trans Texas Corridor Tollway. Travis and Williamson County, where the anti-"double-tax" toll movement began brought central and suburban neighbors together to defeat pro-toll, pro-Corridor, Props 1 & 9.
Sal Costello, founder of TexasTollParty.com said, "We fought Goliath with sticks and stones -- emails, word of mouth, 100,000 leaflets and the people came through for the sake of accountability. That means the Governor and his minions, who pushed 1 & 9, like State Rep. Mike Krusee -- who sent out an expensive direct mail (at the taxpayers expense) to his constituents -- are vulnerable. As a matter of fact, the majority of Krusse's district said no to 1, 3 & 9, two of which are authored by Krusee!"
"The rail tax giveaway fight is far from over. The foxes in the 2007 legislature will be seeking to raise our taxes, as a giveaway to private corporations like Union Pacific, so they can get new rail in the Trans Texas Corridor Tollway. Now, it's also up to the people to decide who's going to be in office in 2007 as we head in to the heated primaries next March. And, we'll be there in some key races," said Sal Costello
Linda Curtis, who chairs Independent Texans and is the chief organizer for the TexasTollParty.com said, "Our task now is to use our loss as well as our gains, to build for the future. That's going to take a host of reforms, not the least of which is for the ballot language on these constitutional amendments to be crystal clear. That's going to take a full blown statewide movement, across all party lines, for political reform as those who make the rules -- for now -- rule."
My interview with Brett Jackson, Central Texas Turnpike Project Engineer, FHWA Texas Division:
SAL: Brett, Check it out! GUEST BLOGGER Slams Props 1 & 9 on DallasBlog.com!
BRETT: Perry's TxDOT to toll public highways for the first time in the U.S. (is an) INCORRECT STATEMENT.
SAL: Please provide where and when another public highway was shifted to a toll road in the U.S.
BRETT: Oh, you meant to say shifted, or you meant to say toll conversion. Is your article correct?
SAL: OK...I'll bite...name a public highway that has been tolled.
BRETT: Define a public highway
SAL: A highway for which public money has been spent and which was dedicated for public use as a freeway.
BRETT: I think you should research that a bit more. Public funds have been spent on many a toll road.
SAL: You are the one that said my statement was incorrect. You are the "professional engineer". That would lead me to believe you know of another example of where a public highway was tolled. Does tolling public highways give you more job security?
BRETT: No Reply
BIG NEWS: Trans Texas Corridor Grassroots Activist David Stall, founder of CorridorWatch.org, announces run for State Senate!
NOVEMBER 7, 2005
P R E S S R E L E A S E
November 06, 2005
As Candidate for State
Senate District 18!
The formal announcement came in a five-minute speech broadcast via the Internet Monday afternoon, November 7. Stall is widely known as a Republican grassroots activist and co-founder of CorridorWatch.org, a statewide non-partisan organization opposing the Trans-Texas Corridor project. Stall acknowledges that the run for Senate has been stimulated by his objections to the Trans-Texas Corridor.
“I agree that the state population is growing and we need better and safer roads. I also understand that we need to address congestion, but I have serious concerns about the Trans-Texas Corridor and how it is being advanced,” says Stall. “After nearly two years of attending state agency and legislative meetings and visiting with thousands of Texans, I see a bigger picture and bigger problems. There is a tremendous disconnect between the will of the people and the leadership in Austin.”
As examples of how the leadership is out of step Stall says, “Texans are asking for lower taxes and the legislature is giving them more debt and bigger government. And they’re doing it in ways that are hidden from the public and lack fundamental accountability.”
In his announcement speech Stall said, “I have watched our legislature in action – and failing to act.” Moments later Stall said, “And maybe worst of all, in the last four years we have seen our state government spend more time and money accomplishing less than ever before.”
Stall has been actively involved in Texas politics and local government for 30-years. His background includes emergency management, law enforcement, municipal finance, and, business management. Stall, a police officer and arson investigator, retired from law enforcement with twenty-one years of continuous service that began as a patrolman and concluded at retirement with the rank of Fire Marshal Chief. Since 1991 he has been a professional city manager serving urban and rural communities in Colorado and Harris counties. In 2003 he earned the designation of Credentialed Manager from the International City/County Management Association.
Stall has previously been elected to city council and during his public career been appointed to numerous positions particularly in the areas of parks, emergency management, and municipal finance.
Stall has served on the board of directors of many community organizations, including art alliance council, transportation partnership, water purification plant, convention & visitor’s bureau, tourism, volunteer fire department, emergency medial corps, and service clubs.
In 2000, after twenty-five years of living and working in the Houston metropolitan area David Stall and his wife Linda relocated to a 90-year-old farmhouse near the charming town of Fayetteville in Fayette County.
Presently Stall is vice-chairman of the United States Selective Service System Local Board that serves five counties within District 18, a director of the Columbus Lion’s Club, member of the Clean Texas Citizen Advisory Board, Texas Farm Bureau, and is active in several other civic organizations.
The David Stall for State Senate Campaign is taking full advantage of modern technology and making good use of the Internet. “David and I have spent the last year and a half meeting thousands of Texans across the state and in District 18. By using the Internet all of our supporters across the District could listen to David make his announcement,” said the candidate’s wife Linda Stall.
# # #
of speech is scheduled for:
2:00pm Monday, November 7, 2005
via an Internet audio broadcast at
Media can access advance
copy of speech text at:
Additional candidate information is
also available on the Internet at:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
11/4/05, People for Efficient Transportation
Contact: Sal Costello
Mobility Authority boldly told the press they will appeal and refuse to pay.
Only to pay up and admit defeat weeks later.
AUSTIN, Tex. – Judge Darlene Byrne ruled Texas RMA board terms were unconstitutional in July. In September, the Judge demanded Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) was to pay more than $19,000 in legal fees to People for Efficient Transportation Inc. (PET Inc.), who brought the lawsuit last spring.
CTRMA quickly put out a press release statewide on 9/14/05 in which council Brian Cassidy claimed "We do not believe payment is warranted and the authority will appeal" (http://www.ctrma.org/pr.php)
The CTRMA check for $19,331.98 was delivered to PET Inc. council yesterday and there will be no appeal.
"Gov. Perry's new bureaucratic RMA not only gives out no bid contracts to themselves and their friends (as stated in the Comptrollers report - http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05/), but this check proves these crooks who will set the toll rates for roads we've already paid for, just keep telling mistruths at every turn. Their press release just weeks ago (http://www.ctrma.org/pr.php) in which they beat their chest and proclaimed they would appeal, and not pay at all, was just one more of many statements to misdirect the press and the public. We've just begun to fight for the public roads we've already funded. The people will not allow Gov. Perry to toll roads that are already ours." said Sal Costello, founder of People for Efficient Transportation Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Terri Hall,
San Antonio Regional Director, Texas Toll Party
Texas Toll Party, LULAC & other groups join forces to oppose Props 1 & 9!
San Antonio, TX, November 2, 2005 – From all over the region, citizens opposed to freeway tolls on publicly funded highways are joining forces to oppose Propositions 1 & 9. LULAC, Texas Toll Party, Homeowners Taxpayers Association, Candidate for Attorney General David Van Os among others are working together to defeat Props 1 & 9.
WHO: LULAC, Texas Toll Party, Homeowners Taxpayers Association, Candidate for Attorney General David Van Os, and Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
WHAT: Press conference uniting against Propositions 1 & 9
WHEN: Wed., Nov. 2 @ 10:00 AM
WHERE: La Foccacia's Conference Room at 800 S. Alamo
Many will caravan over to Carroll Bell Elementary School at 2717 Pleasanton Road for Governor Perry's press conference at 11:00 AM to voice their opposition in person to his "innovative" financing toll road scheme.