Report says Tolls NOT needed. Expert says, "IT'S STAGGERING."




The new report from Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) called “Shaping the Competitive Advantage of Texas Metropolitan Regions: The role of Transportation, Housing & Aesthetics” dropped the jaws of tollers just a couple weeks ago.

David Ellis, of TTI, shocked Mike Krusee's Transportation Committee, many of which were clearly upset with the findings of the report.

David Ellis, in the video above reveals that tolls are not needed at all:
“The states portion of the problem, can be solved by borrowing against an index, JUST THE INDEX COMPONENT OF THE GAS TAX. IT'S STAGGERING. I agree with you it’s incredible information that we were rather surprised to figure out."
CLICK ON THE ARROW IN THE VIDEO TO SEE AND HEAR THIS TESTIMONY. A complete video (about 90 minutes) of the 11/28/06 meeting can watched here.

The crucial part of Ellis’s testimony is also summarized in an article by Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka:
“Don't raise the gasoline tax at all. Instead, index it and put the incremental revenue in the mobility fund, where it can be used to pay off bonds. And here's the bombshell: "Under this scenario," Ellis said, " it wouldn't be necessary to toll as a means of financing...””
TxDOT has repeatedly trotted out funny numbers to sell the freeway tolling scheme, claiming if we don’t toll roads we’ve already paid for, we’d need $1.20 gas tax. TxDOT’s District Engineer Bob Daigh even claimed it would cost a $2 to $3 increase in gas tax if we didn’t toll.

The report also states that TxDOT has been over inflating the states transportation need by 30 Billion dollars! Yes, 30 Billion. Don’t people in the real word get fired for that kind of lie, mistake or whatever you might want to call it? The San Antonio Express article tells it well:
"TxDOT failed to account for how much tax revenues would go up over the 25 years from increased driving, he said, and overestimated unfunded needs for state roads by $8 billion.

And, when calculating the funding gap, TxDOT added an estimated $22 billion for local streets in the eight largest cities, though the state has no responsibility for such roads.

The study concluded that a bloated $86 billion in unfunded needs espoused by TxDOT is actually just $56 billion."

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Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me what 'indexing the gas tax' means, and also what it means to 'borrow against that index'?


Sal Costello said...

Currently the gas tax is a set amount for a gallon of gas. Everything else you buy, you pay a tax percentage.

If a widget costs $1.00 today, you pay .0825 cents tax in a store, but in 5 years, when the widget costs $2.00, you pay .165 cents tax (based on .0825 tax). Just about everything we buy is indexed. Gas should be as well. It's a simple and fair solution compared to creating a whole new tax structure (tolling roads we've already paid for).

Texas Mobility Fund is currently funded with our tax dollars for toll roads (used by the tollers as to divert tax dollars to toll roads). Borrowing against them for free roads is a tool, along with indexing can be used to replace tolls.

Anonymous said...

I think you should point out that indexing the gas tax is INCREASING the gas tax - it just happens every year automatically rather than the Legislature having to pass an increase.

That report says that the gas tax will be 84 cents instead of the current 40 if it is indexed.

Sal Costello said...

Everything else we buy is indexed.

Why create a whole new unaccountble tax by tolling existing roads? That will cost more than 36 times more per mile. AND, tolling existing roads doesn't help as much with congestion since not everyone can afford to drive the tolled expressway.

The index to match inflation would NOT equal 44 cents, at least not for some decades. Read the report.

Sal Costello said...

The sales tax for EVERYTHING we buy is indexed to inflation. Are you going to call for the end of that as well? Good luck with that reasonable demand.