We need your help in these areas ASAP, Early voting is taking place now, Election day is March 7th:
1) Toller KRUSEE VS. SAMUELSON: Call Richard to help from home or on the streets at 636-0869.
2) Toller SONLEITNER VS. ECKHARDT: Call Eddie today at 917-7557!
With a little help from YOU we can send a clear message and get these looters FIRED!
We need your help in these areas ASAP, Early voting is taking place now, Election day is March 7th:
CTRMA "NO BID" contractor threatens to sue me. Click here and wait a few moments to see letter from lawyer. Stay Tuned! : )
CLICK HERE to see NO BID Owen Consulting contract at bottom of page 4 of Comptroller Report Appendix 5.
AGAINST TOLLER GOV. PERRY!
Governor Rick Perry,
TxDOT, CAMPO & SAMPO
AUSTIN, TX - The defendants (Gov. Perry, TxDOT, CAMPO & SAMPO) filed pleas to the jurisdiction requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed. A hearing was held and the district court denied the defendants' request that the case be dismissed.
The Governor argued that the suit should be dismissed because of sovereign immunity: "Specifically, the Governor clearly has statutory authority under the Federal Act to make the Section 134 Designations. Consequently, the Governor enjoys immunity to any [declaratory judgment] challenge to the Section 134 Designations." The district court disagreed, finding that federal law does not empower the Governor to create MPOs. The resolution of one of the major issues in this case was therefore decided in favor of the plaintiffs, People for Efficient Transportation Inc. (PET).
TxDOT, CAMPO, & SAMPO argued that the suit should be dismissed because of the statute of limitations: "More than four years have expired since the Governor and TxDOT adopted rules with regard to MPOs and since CAMPO and SA-Bexar MPO were created. As a result, Plaintiff's declaratory judgment action is barred by limitations." The district court also rejected this argument, finding that the applicable limitations period began when members of PET members were injured, not when the MPOs were originally created. Since that was within the last two years, the suit is not barred by the statute of limitations.
All defendants argued that the plaintiff lacks standing to sue on behalf of its members. PET did not make any specific factual allegations regarding the issue of standing in its original petition. Under applicable rules of civil procedure, the district court required that PET amend its original petition within 30 days to add the necessary factual allegations regarding its standing to sue on behalf of its members. After amendment, the defendants may again raise the standing issue either by summary judgment or at trial.
Our suit began on 10/05/05. In the suit, People for Efficient Transportation, the plaintiff, makes the following legal allegations:
(1) Neither the governor nor the Texas Department of Transportation has authority under Texas law to create special districts like CAMPO and SAMPO;Steve Smith continues to work pro bono to fight for ACCOUNTABILITY.
(2) Legislators serving on the CAMPO and SAMPO boards violate the separation of powers provision of the Texas Constitution; and
(3) neither CAMPO nor SAMPO have authority under Texas law to appropriate the tens of millions of dollars they spend each year.
In yesterday's San Antonio Express, the editors printed 5 letters to the editors. 1 of the 5 was pro-toll and from a "working mom". Here it is:
Give drivers a choiceCome to find out, Brenda Vickery Johnson is the president of Vickery & Associates. Vickery & Associates is a TxDOT contractor, and Ms. Johnson is on the board of the greater chamber and SAMCO. I doubt that many other "working moms" are for tolls. Here are a couple of Brenda Johnson's recent contracts.
I agree with Joe Krier's comment in support of tolls. This is about defining our quality of life as this city continues to grow. By 2030, the estimated population will be 2.4 million in San Antonio.
As a working mom, I want the choice of paying a toll to get out of traffic, get to work faster, pick up my kids, run errands and get home to spend more time with my family. Nobody wants to pay tolls, but the alternatives stink! Traffic congestion, gridlock, increased gas taxes and long waits to get home.
As a business owner, I also need the choice to pay tolls to avoid congestion, which will allow my company to continue to operate efficiently and provide responsive and reliable service and high-paying local jobs. There are no other alternatives to solve our transportation funding shortage.
— Brenda Vickrey Johnson
Contract Amount: $900,000
Awarded to: Vickery & Associates, Inc.
Contract Number: 15-548P5012
Contract Amount: $165,000
Awarded to: Vickery & Associates, Inc.
2006 ACCOUNTABILITY ENDORSEMENT LIST FOR
PEOPLE FOR EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION PAC
(AustinTollParty.com & TexasTollParty.com)
If you live in TRAVIS County Precinct 2 or Precinct 4, or BEXAR County Precinct 2, VOTE in the Democratic Primary (Travis County Precinct map at the bottom of this email and at this link http://www.texastollparty.com/documents/Travis.jpg):
Travis County Commissioner:
Precinct 2: VOTE Sarah Eckhardt*
Sarah Eckhardt is a former prosecutor, ready to fight for accountability and oppose Special Interest Candidate Karen Sonleitner. Sonleitner has 1) Voted to privatize and toll hundreds of millions of dollars worth of our public highways - as a member of CAMPO. Double Taxation 2) Ignored 93% of the public feedback that opposed the toll plan. 3) Raised County Taxes for all Travis County residents. 4) And, after all that, Sonleitner gave herself a Pay Raise!
Precinct 4: Yolanda Montemayor
Bexar County Commissioner:
Precinct 2: Enrique Barrera
A vote for Barrera will give us a majority on the commissioner's court!
All other areas of Texas, VOTE in the Republican Primary:
Texas House of Representatives:
District 47: Bill Welch
District 50: Don Zimmerman
District 52: Barbara Samuelson*
Barbara Samuelson is opposing Mike Krusee in this important Williamson County race. Mike Krusee created the new freeway toll tax, TTC land grab schemes and unaccountable bureaucracies that will cost our Texas families $1,000’s of dollars more a year. As a member of CAMPO, Krusee also voted to privatize and toll hundreds of millions of dollars worth of our Central Texas public highways after ignoring 93% of the public feedback that opposed the toll plan.
District 73: Nathan Macias*
Nathan Macias is opposing Carter Casteel. Casteel backed up Krusee as a Transportation Committee member to help create the new freeway toll tax and TTC land grab schemes.
District 83: Frank Morrison
District 87: Annette Carlisle
District 101: Tom Latham
District 4: Gent Wade
Texas Supreme Court:
Place 2: Steve Smith*
Former Supreme Court Justice Steve Smith is our PET Inc. Attorney who is suing Gov. Rick Perry on the behalf of Texans, to fight double tax tolls and the TTC. He's done months of work Pro Bono! The person who is opposing Steve Smith in this Primary is a special interest funded Gov. Perry appointee that had NO experience before Perry appointed him.
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals:
As State Representative, Terry Keel's independence caused him to be the first elected person in Texas to call freeway tolls "a double tax". In 2004, Terry Keel asked the State Comptroller, Carol Keeton Strayhorn to investigate the first Freeway Tolling Authority in Texas for using gas tax dollars to create freeway tolls. Read the 2005 Comptroller Report that shows "Double Taxation Without Accountability" and "Favoritism And Self-Enrichment": http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05/
Texas State Railroad Commissioner:
Major Buck Werner
Texas State Senate:
District 3: Bob Reeves
District 18: David Stall
David Stall is cofounder of CorridorWatch.org. David is a true Texas patriot that has dedicated years of his life educating citizens and elected officials about the truths of the Special Interest Trans Texas Corridor. David Stall is selfless and devoted to Texans.
Collin County Commissioner:
County Judge: Rick Neudorff
Precinct 4: Jeran Akers
Both the Democrat and the Republican Parties have failed to represent us. Special interests, who fund toller campaigns, are being allowed to toll and profit from public highways we've already paid for, and the TTC is taking our land After reviewing and comparing PET PAC's comprehensive questionnaires from candidates and past voting records, our crosspartisan volunteers have endorsed the following Independent Democrat and Independent Republican champions.
IMPORTANT: This is a strategic plan to replace special interest politicians. This strategy includes voting in the primary of any party to stop the looting. We can no longer vote along party lines. We must shop the ballot to de-elect the looters and elect the better candidate. The Strayhorn campaign urges everyone to vote in the very low turnout Primaries where our votes really count. Strayhorn campaign has the money to get all the signatures she needs. Strayhorn is the ONLY candidate that has the millions needed to beat Rick "Toller" Perry AND her campaign is gaining momentum: http://salcostello.blogspot.com/2006/02/strayhorn-gets-big-mo.html Strayhorn has also found Perry's freeway tolls to be Double Taxation and has been fighting with us for almost 2 years!: http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05/
AUTOMATICLY BY CLICKING
THE ENVELOPE ICON BELOW.
MR. WILLIAMSON: We have the dilemma of having to provide infrastructure for that growth in the fashion that the governor and the legislature has given us. It was the governor's view that if we were to have to go down this path, the wisest course of action was to place the financial benefit of doing this at the taxpayer level of those who were going to pay for it. So we created the structure of the RMA and toll equity so that if you choose to pay a toll, every time you pay a toll in Central Texas, that dollar is staying in Central Texas.
MR. COSTELLO: THAT IS NOT TRUE. The dollar that somebody pays at a toll booth, a portion of that, a large portion of that, about 45 percent of that dollar goes to collecting that dollar. That is what happens with the tolling idea. It is a sloppy, inefficient, additional tax, that's what it is.
MR. WILLIAMSON: Why don't we stop for a second. Is anyone here with expertise that can speak to that? Phil? Because if Mr. Costello believes that 45 percent of our gross revenue goes to collecting the toll, then if he's right, then we need to be doing something real fast.
MR. POWELL: I can't tell you exactly what the percentage is right now.
MR. BEHRENS: State your name for the record.
MR. POWELL: I'm David Powell, director of Information Technology and Operations for the Turnpike Authority Division. I don't have an exact percentage as to what that is. I know on the total project budget there's something like 5 percent for toll collection systems, and the operations the per transaction cost can be somewhere around a quarter apiece. A lot of that is labor to collect the transaction which people locally employed is a high component of that cost.
MR. WILLIAMSON: I thought that our system or any system we invested in also envisioned electronic tolls only, no coin collections. Is that not the case?
MR. POWELL: Absolutely, yes, and electronic toll collection is much less expensive.
MR. WILLIAMSON: I'm sorry, Mr. Costello.
MR. COSTELLO: Also, what was proposed to CAMPO when they voted that this would be an all-electronic plan, but when you add toll booths -- which now they're talking about collecting cash as well, you're slowing down traffic, we're talking about bottlenecks all over Austin. How does that help mobility? And again, we want to see a study.
MR. WILLIAMSON: Well, Mr. Costello, I can tell you that this commission has made it very clear publicly we will not invest the state's equity in any toll plan that is not 100% electronic. We're not going to be in the toll booth business
MR. COSTELLO: Well, I suggest you look at the CTRMA's website because they are backing off the electronic route only on their website and even in recent papers, The Houston Chronicle yesterday talked about the problems with all-electronic. These tollways that were all-electronic, they're having major problems with them.
MR. WILLIAMSON: Well, major problems from one person's perspective. We view the very objection you have to the traffic backup for coin boxes as being more of a problem than whatever problems are occurring electronically, and I will just tell you -- in fact, if you care to stay till probably about six o'clock tonight, we're going to have a discussion about interoperability of tolls, and we will repeat our toll master down there what we've said to him ten times: no booths; we are not in the toll booth business, we're in the electronic toll business, that's all we're in.
After TxDOT promises NOT to be in the toll booth business, I find TxDOT documents showing dozens of toll booths for Central Texas. The diagram below shows how the toll booths hold TOILET's. Doesn't look 100% electronic does it?
PET PAC endorses Steve Smith for Texas Supreme Court: Former Supreme Court Justice Steve Smith is our PET Inc. Attorney who is suing Gov. Rick Perry on the behalf of Texans, to fight double tax tolls and the TTC. He's done months of work Pro Bono! The person who is opposing Steve Smith in this Primary is a special interest funded Gov. Perry appointee that had NO experience before Perry appointed him.
Unsafe at any speed.
At $1.5 Billion dollars, the 130 turnpike is the largest transportation project in Texas.
Documents just revealed by an inside source, show the primer for Gov. Perry's TTC, Turnpike 130, east of Austin, and other toll roads being built around Texas, have FAILED numerous “Dry Density” tests. Documents from inspectors show this amount of failure is causing a loss in concrete integrity by 5 to 8% within the first few months of being poured, and inspector charts show they will continue to decay rapidly. I've seen the documents myself. Part of Jack Blood's report states:
"What the documents prove so far, is that:Read Jack Bloods complete report
The Crushed Limestone used to make the concrete of which the roads are to be built with is weak. This has lead to a total failure of most of the structures, and superstructures currently standing as our future Trans Texas Corridor. Translation: These roads will fall apart long before they are paid for, and could take innocent drivers with them. This has apparently been covered up not only by TXDOT and their contractors, but is being certified out the door by the very contractors there to make sure we never get to this point.
Charts done by my source and other inspectors show that the standing infrastructure is failing right from the beginning. “Decantation tests.” A 5.1 – 8% loss in concrete integrity over just the last few months. This seems to be caused by the initial testing, or lack of testing, of the Sieve quality. (Sieve refers to the rock that makes up the concrete.) In fact my source told me that he was told to inspect around the #4 Sieve (The bigger rocks) because they would not pass, and therefore not be usable in the project. He would eliminate them from the test, but they are used in the end product. He also said that it wouldn’t matter if the test failed anyway, and the testing itself is just a formality. The sieve goes out before the tests are even done, and subsequently used on the roads. No matter how bad it is, it’s just too late. Can you imagine what this concrete will look like in a few years when the job is completed? If it is completed.
In documents reflecting the number of tests needed for August – October 2005, we found that on the SH 130 Turnpike project alone, the tests performed versus the tests REQUIRED by law were far less than required. It seems like TXDOT doesn’t care, and I suspect that they are confident that they wouldn’t get caught. So much for that now.
Tests on the concrete failed consistently on: The Hanson aggregate freeways, the Burnett Grade 2 aggregate, the RTI Georgetown aggregate, Capitol Bolm Road, the Travis aggregate, TXI Green Plant, and the SH 130 Turnpike in general. Nothing was ever done to comply with these tests, and again inspectors were told to shut up about it, or else. So now they are not just under testing the grade, but also covering up failed tests."
“Dry Density tests” are soil tests to make sure that the soil under the freeway structure isn’t “Quick sand”. On the charts we have in our possession, the curve shows that the Dry Density Test met with a maximum percentage of 126.27. I am told that it needs to be closer to 270.00. The inspectors will again “#2 Stamp” the approval and move on, with the soil test coming in under 50%.
"TEXAS TOLL ROADS COULD COLLAPSE BEFORE THEY ARE PAID FOR".
Most people, including myself, have no objection to traditional tollroads, where toll revenues on Turnpike A are tied to the investor financed Turnpike A, and Turnpike A is designed and built as an ALTERNATIVE to our public expressways.
Traditional tolls in this country have NEVER shifted existing highways to tollways. Tollers permanently take our public expressways from us, after they make us pay for the right of way and construction of the road.
Texas elected thieves, fools with a toll road fetish like Mayor Will Wynn, Brewster McCracken, Mark Strama & Gov. Perry, want to place tolls on roads we've already paid for. By doing this unaccountable theft, tollers produce "Freeway Tolls".
Who would Jesus Freeway Toll?
AS PRINTED IN THE AAS TODAY:
Toll numbers inflated
Austin City Council Member Brewster McCracken's tax-funded review of Austin's "freeway tolls" has been hijacked by tollers. The pro-toll committee is allowing the toll authority to hire a company to fluff traffic forecast numbers.
That company, URS Corp., has a magnificent record of failed tollways and inflated traffic forecasts. URS has inaccurately forecasted nearly a half-dozen failed projects in Florida. One of those, the Suncoast Parkway, was projected for $70 million in year one. It produced $7 million.
The failed Camino Colombia tollway promised to be a "generator of regional economic activity." URS forecasted $9 million for year one — but it produced $500,000, which was 6 percent of the URS forecast.
We can only memorize the names on the toll committee: McCracken, state Rep. Mike Krusee, state Rep. Mark Strama, Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, Austin City Council Member Betty Dunkerley and fire them in upcoming elections for a sham "review."
Founder of People for Efficient Transportation
What the Statesman cut out and other details:
Forbes, in 9/3/01 put it best, "It has become painfully clear to bondholders and politicians that many of the public toll-supported projects built in the past decade, the majority blessed by URS and its ilk, have become financial albatrosses."
Standard and Poor's bond analysts, after reviewing forecasting case studies for years, have concluded "Optimism bias remains a consistent feature of toll road traffic forecasting."
Read the expanded version here.
THE BIG MO!
One month and Strayhorn's $1 million dollars on media moved her up 10 points in the Rasmussen Poll! Gov. Perry spends $2 million plus and his unfavorables go up 8 points with his favorables dropping 8 points! Strayhorn has got the big momentum.
TEXAS SURVEY of 500 likely voters
www.rasmussenreports.com (Independent poll)
Monday, February 6, 2006
40% Perry (no movement from 1/5/06 poll)
31% Strayhorn (a 10% increase from 1/5/06!!!)
13% Bell (1% decrease from 1/5/06 poll)
9% Friedman (3% decrease from 1/5/06 poll)
Favorable 53% (8% drop from 1 month ago)
Unfavorable 45% (8% gain from 1 month ago)
Favorable 55% (4% gain)
Unfavorable 31% (no change)
Favorable 33% (2% gain)
Unfavorable 36% (1% gain)
28% (3% drop)
40% (6% gain)
The Krusee Corruption Ad that hit this weekend is sure to be the topic of conversation at water coolers across Williamson County today! The ad is running/has run in four newspapers, including yesterdays WilCo Sunday Statesman with a total circulation of over 100,000+!!!!
SEE THE AD (CLOSE-UP) HERE:
RARE OPPORTUNITY TO FIRE KRU$EE!
The "Krusee Corruption Campaign" presents a rare, but HUGE opportunity for us to further educating voters about Krusee's new tax, toll & debt schemes. The very low turnout Republican Primary election, is a rare opportunity to FIRE Mike Krusee. The last nonpresidential District 52 Republican Primary had only 11,000 voters! This is OUR BEST CHANCE to give Mike Krusee the boot!
ALL TEXANS BENEFIT FROM REMOVING KRU$EE
Krusee is the creator of corrupt legislation that STEALS our land and our Texas roads. He created the double tax Freeway Tolls, the Trans Texas Corridor land grab, and all the unaccountable layers of bureaucracy that come along with his special interest corporate welfare. Dumping Krusee would send a message to ALL politicians -- that we CAN and WILL FIRE any looter that fails to represent the people! A Krusee defeat will draw statewide attention from the media to our David vs.Goliath victory-- their coverage will tell our "no tolls" story to hundreds of thousands of Texans!!!
BARBARA SAMUELSON IS READY TO FIGHT FOR TEXANS!
Barbara Samuelson stands for fiscal responsibility, smaller, accountable open government, streamlining education costs, and opposes Krusee's tax, toll and debt schemes. Your contributions can help DUMP Krusee and replace him with a common sense citizen who will fight to stop double tax tolls and the TTC! Learn more about Barbara Samuelson and her family at www.VoteBarbara.com
in an effort to save all Texas families
$1,000's of dollars a year!
to continue our "Krusee Corruption Campaign".
If Krusee wins, ALL TEXANS LOSE! Please send whatever you can ASAP.
Contribute with a credit card online now!
Send a contribution via check today!
People for Efficient Transportation PAC (Dump Krusee Fund)
PO Box 90715
Austin, TX 78709
Dear Travis County Commissioner Karen Sonleitner,
A number of reliable sources, over the past year or so, have told me that you and Mike Heiligenstein, executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) had an intimate relationship for some time. I frankly don't care who our representatives date, or if they are married or not. It's none of my business. BUT, I'm very concerned when my tax dollars are involved and when a group of folks are crafting a way to double tax citizens, create new layers of unaccountable quasi government and privatize and toll our public freeways.
In 2003 Mike Heiligenstein was a Williamson County Commissioner and he voted for the formation of CTRMA. He also voted for appointments of four (4) of the CTRMA board members. Those CTRMA board members then thanked Heiligenstein by giving him the CTRMA top position at $120,000+ per year. The "circle" is well documented in the report below, as CTRMA board members have given NO BID contracts to themselves and their friends.
Records show that you sent emails to other Travis County Commissioners to push and rush a tax give away to the CTRMA. In June 2003, you and the other Commissioners voted to give $250,000 of our tax dollars to the CTRMA and on October 16, 2003, another $300,000 of our tax dollars was given to the CTRMA.
Your campaign financial reports also show the same special interests who profits from the double tax, funds your campaign.
“Double Taxation without Accountability”
– TEXAS COMPTROLLER's March 2005 Special Investigation
into the Freeway Tolling Authority (CTRMA)
As a taxpayer I ask that you please disclose when you dated Mike Heiligenstein, since hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the publics roads and tax dollars are involved in this freeway boondoggle.
A Concerned Citizen,
sends me an email, then we have a dialog.
Click on the "comments" area to read it.
Our Endorsed candidate in Dist 47 puts his money where his mouth is with Oak Hill at the "Y" Billboard!
Our active volunteers unanimously endorsed Bill Welch for State Rep in Dist 47. Our complete endorsement list will be coming out very soon. Read about our Bill Welch endorsement HERE.
Steve Smith, a former Texas Supreme Court Justice, and attorney for People for Efficient Transportation Inc, in the PET Inc lawsuit vs. Gov. Perry, TxDOT and MPO's, is running for Place 2 on the Court against Governor Perry's appointee Don Willett.
Steve Smith is president and general council for Texas Legal Foundation, and has produced months of hard work PRO-BONO to take a stand for accountability, fiscal responsibility and good government for ALL Texans
In the PET vs. Gov, Perry suit, People for Efficient Transportation, the plaintiff, makes the following legal allegations: (1) Neither the governor nor the Texas Department of Transportation has authority under Texas law to create special districts like CAMPO and SAMPO; (2) Legislators serving on the CAMPO and SAMPO boards violate the separation of powers provision of the Texas Constitution; and (3) neither CAMPO nor SAMPO have authority under Texas law to appropriate the tens of millions of dollars they spend each year.
Inexperienced Perry Appointee Receiving High-Dollar Contributions
From a financial standpoint, the Republican primary race for Place 2 on the Texas Supreme Court is shaping up as a classic bout between David and Goliath. Campaign finance reports show that incumbent Justice Don Willett collected $434,726 in contributions during the last half of 2005, while former Supreme Court Justice Steve Smith represents ordinary Texans who don't ordinarily (can't afford to) contribute to political campaigns. Rather than accept campaign contributions from special interest groups, Smith made a strategic decision to self-finance a modest but aggressive campaign.
Before his appointment, Willett had no judicial experience, had never argued an appeal, and had never tried a case in the trial court. Since joining the Court, he has authored no opinions. Because the Court is substantially behind on its workload, now is an especially bad time to appoint someone like Willett who lacks the experience necessary to be a productive justice.
Smith is running on his record of achievement at the Texas Supreme Court. While on the Court, Smith authored sixteen published opinions, including the Court's landmark decision in Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services v. Mega Child Care.
Vote Steve Smith in the Republican Primary!
Email Sal@TexasTollParty.com to get our complete Statewide list of People for Efficient Transportation PAC endorsed candidates that will be released soon. Vote for accountability, fiscal responsibility and good government. Stop the bureaucratic privatization and toll taxing of our public highways and the land grabbing TTC. Vote PET PAC endorsed candidates.
The study was unanimously approved by the Austin City Council. A March 3, 2005 city resolution promised "the study is not to be delayed". Ten months have passed and the process is just getting started. People for Efficient Transportation pushed for and publicly supported the idea of an independent study, until recently.
The tollers have hijacked the study and now the tolling authority has been allowed to hire a contractor with a long history of inflated revenue projections to push fiscally irresponsible toll projects. They are stacking the deck. I believe a TRUE Independent Study is crucial, because the Austin toll plan will break new ground by privatizing and tolling most of our public expressways. With the possible additional cost of thousands of dollars a year for the average family -- the affordability of our great city is at stake.
Traditional toll roads have been brand new roads utilized as a means of raising money to pay for a whole new road. In Austin, the plan calls for tolling existing public highways to generate money for more toll roads.
With traditional toll roads, the public has a choice between the toll road and a public expressway. In contrast, Austin's 'freeway tolls' permanently take the option of a free expressways away from drivers. Austin's freeway tolls are created with primarily gas tax dollars, and politicians have stated publicly that 'the toll booths will never be removed.
The steering committee created by Brewster McCracken, who himself voted twice for the toll plan, includes Rep. Mike Krusee, Rep. Mark Strama, Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, Toll Authority's Bob Bennett, Toll Authority's Johanna Zmud, TxDOT's Bob Daigh, Austin Councilwoman Betty Dunkerly, Round Rock Councilman Joe Clifford, Wilco Commissioner Frankie Limmer and Hays County Judge Jim Powers.
That pro-toll committee will give a company called CRA direction to perform the study.
Earlier this month, McCracken's pro-toll committee allowed the tolling authority to hire URS to supply the fundamental traffic forecast numbers.
URS, has one of the most disturbing records of inflating traffic forecasts, in the industry.
URS has produced inaccurate forecasts for nearly a half-dozen toll road projects in Florida. In some cases, the roads drew only half the cars URS predicted. One of those, the Suncoast Parkway, was projected to make $70 million; instead, it produced just $14 million. URS predicted that the Parkway would take in $70 million in tolls in its first year of operation, and it produced only $7 million - a tenth of the projection. URS predicted the Osceola would bring in around $9.4 million in tolls every year. It Instead, brought in less than $6 million annually and could end up going $1 billion or more over its original $150 million budget.
Forbes, in 9/3/01, offered the following scathing statement,
"It has become painfully clear to bondholders and politicians that many of the public toll-supported projects built in the past decade, the majority blessed by URS and its ilk, have become financial albatrosses."
Standard and Poor's bond analysts, after reviewing forecasting case studies for years, have concluded
"Optimism bias remains a consistent feature of toll road traffic forecasting."Many would agree that one of the worst boondoggles in Texas history was the Camino Colombia toll road. Camino Colombia was promised by politicians to be a 'generator of regional economic activity'.
Records show, that Governor Rick Perry's appointed board that governs TxDOT, the same group that are now pushing freeway tolls, also pushed for the Camino Colombia toll road fiasco.
URS forecasted the traffic revenue for Camino Colombia at $9 million for the first year - but it only produced $500k. That is about 6% of the URS forecast! Camino Colombia was sold auction style on the steps of the Webb County Courthouse in January 2004, with TxDOT in attendance. John Hancock Financial Services Inc. bought back its investment for $12 million at that auction. TxDOT then paid John Hancock a premium of $20 million for Camino Colombia.
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