The Muckraker's Xmas gift to YOU!

Exclusive online video
with Mr. 39%!
12/29/06 UPDATE: Mr. 39% scene had to be cut from the next online video, but there's plenty of great stuff in there. Also, now scheduled to be released 1st week of Jan.

Watch it here first!

Happy Holidays, see you next week...in the meantime,
check out the past Muckraker articles and the archives
(and the links to the right).

I'll be adding stuff to the comments area below.
You can do the same.
Happy Holidays!


Sal Costello said...


What do you make of the response to the TTI report that argues Ellis was speaking only of alternative funding scenarios for TxDOT funding outside the MPO projected budgets?


They over inflated the need by $30 Billion.

There is a $15 Billion surplus in the State Budget.

Permanently privatizing and tolling public expressways
is theft. A report isn't needed for that.

If the tollers are so desperate for additional revenue
lets get some toll booths at the end of their driveways.

Read Burka's article below about privatization:

What the local tollers never talk about is the next
step. The law allows the unaccountable tolling
authorities (RMA's) to lease the tollways (our
former freeways) to private companies.


Sal Costello said...


Thank you very much for your continuing efforts regarding Texas toll roads.

My family and I moved from Dallas to Austin about a year-and-a-half ago, and we live in the Dripping Springs area (Austin city limits/Dripping Springs ISD). The tolling of the "Y at Oak Hill" area and the tolling of Hwy 45 (Southern end of MOPAC) leaves us with no un-tolled option to get to/from our home. As you can appreciate, the idea that my family must pay a fee every time we visit the grocery store, our children's daycare, our jobs, family physicians, etc... is completely unacceptable to us.

I sent multiple emails to Michael Aulick, Mike Krusee, Gonzalo Barrientos, Brewster McCracken, Will Wynn and others, and I never got the courtesy of a response (other than generic automated emails). In my email I asked that someone please represent my concerns at CAMPO meetings, and went on to say that I was not completely opposed to tolls. (Having lived in Dallas and Houston for much of my life, I've used them frequently.) Instead my opposition to the plan for Austin, is that (unlike Dallas & Houston) Austin's plan leaves no un-tolled alternative route for those living in the affected areas. This, to me, is completely unethical and unacceptable. In fact, I question whether or not it ultimately will be judged as being illegal.

Thank you very much for taking the lead on this cause. You have my gratitude and support.


-Chris Burke

Sal Costello said...


Here's an interesting aside for those who use the side roads to avoid
the backups on hwy 71.

If 290/71 is built as a phase 2 toll road, when the toll bonds are
sold the bonding agreement will include a provision that no new roads
will be built nor any existing roads improved or widened that would
have the effect of taking traffic from or competing with the toll road
for moving traffic.

How this would play out for the neighborhoods around the Y, I don't
know. How this would play out for improvements to cut through roads
like Thomas Springs (which is scheduled for an upgrade) and Old Bee
Cave and so on, is very questionable.

I have a copy of the 183A bond agreement that shows the non-compete
clause if anyone wants to read it. (It reads sort of like a
Shakespeareian tragedy.)