Be one of the first to get the BRAND NEW "Fire Sen. Kirk Watson" T-shirt!

Monday Oct 8th is the big CAMPO freeway toll vote. You know, the one where Sen. Watson is pushing to spend $900 million tax dollars to shift Austin freeways to toll ways. So, I made the first of many products that will be hitting the street soon after the Toller vote.

CLICK HERE to order the Cafe Press "FIRE Watson!" T today (and we've got Tote bags, postcards and other stuff).
Brewster, Gerald and others shouldn't feel left out. After the vote, I'll be making T's and other items for each of the double tax toll board members - especially Round Rock Mayor Nyle Maxwell!

Krusee’s Influence And Credibility Are Gone.

Tolls : Leadership and money...two things lacking


The State of Taxes has run out of Money! (and other tall tales)

The latest Toller scare tactic is the “TxDOT ad” (TxDOT’s public relations campaign) that’s currently running in all the newspapers across the state. Yup, TxDOT is saying they’ve run out of money (again), so we need to use our limited Texas gas tax dollars to shift our freeways to toll roads.

In the Dallas paper, “State running out of cash for new roads”:

Texas will soon run out of money to pay for new roads or bridges, state transportation officials said Thursday.

Within three years, nearly all of the state's construction budget will be spent on maintenance and to pay debt incurred in building existing roads, top officials of the Texas Department of Transportation said.

"The people of Texas need to understand that within a very short period of time, there will be no money for mobility projects," said Texas Transportation Commission member Ned Holmes of Houston
This corruption of our government can be summed up in one word.


And everyone, from the Governor, to Sen. Kirk Watson, to Rep. Mike Krusee and TxDOT are guilty as charged.

Here’s how diversions work. And, how the parasites profit.

The Ledge diverts our gas tax dollars intended for free roads for too many pet projects that don’t include transportation. The President and Congress divert our gas tax dollars into the war and building free roads in other countries like Iraq.

And the largest diversion yet - TxDOT diverts the limited gas tax dollars we do get back - to shift our freeways to toll ways. Once the tolls are placed on our freeways, the tollers admit, they will never be removed. A eternal slush fund for all the parasites in this story, and other vermin like Take on Traffic (Austin Chamber of Commerce). The freeway toll tax will be administered by unelected people who give out NO BID contracts to themselves and freinds (like the CTRMA). And after the freeways are shifted to toll roads, they will be sold to corporations.

Gov. Rick Perry and his appointed holdover, Ric Williamsan at TxDOT profit off the diversions.

Sen. Kirk Watson, a blue democrat and Rep. Mike Krusee, a red republican find the color green in common - as they both profit off double tax tolls - as our families pay more.

The real solutions are simple, but they are not profitable for the crooks above.

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by clicking on the envelope icon below.

Cintra men arrested as Terrorists, later released.

Pennsylvania State police took two men into custody on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and interrogated them for taking photos of toll road facilities over the past several days. Police confiscated their cameras and laptop computers.

"We are treating this as a possible terrorist activity," Turnpike Chief Executive Officer Joe Brimmeier said initially, but it turns out that the two men may have been simply carrying out a work assignment for a Cintra, who is looking into buying or leasing the toll road.

"If we find they have keys to maintenance facilities and they were obtained illegally, we have a big problem," Mr. Brimmeier said. "Otherwise, things may work out for them. But I'm glad we have their cameras and laptops. God only knows who could get their hands on this type of information and what they could do with it."

Gov. Rick "Mr. 39%" Perry, Sen. Kirk Watson and Rep. Mike Krusee were not involved in this altercation.

More from the Penn Gazzette.

More Austin Toll Tag Reader Problems Says Source

This morning a reliable source tells me via phone - that the toll tag readers in Austin are not only double billing some drivers (as KXAN reports), but that the toll tag readers are also failing to bill some drivers.

I'm told that TxDOT is ultra frustrated with the malfunctioning of the toll equipment. Bureaucracy ALWAYS costs everyone more.

Another "Cock and Bull" Story: No money for roads


TxDOT installs Austin traffic signals to increase congestion and drive toll road profits.

Austin Toll Road Uses Traffic
Signals to Generate Congestion

By TheNewspaper.com

The Texas Department of Transportation is installing traffic signals designed to increase congestion and drive toll road traffic.

SH130 Toll RoadThe Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is using traffic signals to create the level of frustration to a point where the public is forced to accept toll roads. Earlier this month in Austin, TxDOT added an extra traffic signal on State Highway 71 to coincide with the opening of the third segment of the State Highway 130 toll road. Residents interviewed by News 8 Austin complained that the change made already bad traffic much worse on nearby free roads.

"At its worst it's about a two-hour wait," Daniel Villegas said. "Traffic just accumulates and accumulates."

Likewise, those driving on US 183 Liberty Hill are diverted onto a frontage road with a new traffic signal that generates significant congestion that can only be avoided by taking the 183A toll road.

"It has become obvious to me that this whole toll road system has less to do with improving mobility and more to do with lining the pockets of private toll road investors and property developers along the old and new routes," resident Malcom Terry wrote in a complaint to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority in February. "We were sold a bill of goods."

Often state agencies enter into "non-compete" agreements with private companies that operate toll roads. The provisions of these agreements require not only that nearby competing free roads remain unimproved, but also that various obstacles such as lowered speed limits and traffic signals be used to generate additional congestion, as happened on the Colorado E-470 and Sydney, Australia's Cross City Tunnel.

Read the original report HERE at TheNewspaper.com

NEWS 8 AUSTIN - Toll Authority Schemes to Force Public onto Tolls and buy the TaxTag

Texans will pay nearly $10,000 a month for Gov. Perry Temp home

Read Gov. Perry's Lease: http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/ae/Lease.pdf

Rudy Giuliani Benefits From Sale Of U.S. Highways To Foreign Companies


SA EXPRESS: Toll critic's resolution squelched


Overflow at CAMPO hearing

Re: Sept. 11 article “Tollway backers out in force.”

I was surprised and appalled. The article omits important facts about the toll road hearing.

Chairman Kirk Watson stated that sign-up of speakers was cut off shortly after 6 p.m. Because registration began at 5 p.m., only people who could afford to get off work early and/or worked downtown could speak.

The small auditorium quickly filled up with the “white hats” of Take On Traffic. The rest of the large crowd was directed to two overflow rooms, where they became helpless spectators watching on TV.

This arrangement meant that Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board members literally could not hear nor see two-thirds of the people who came. These were predominantly anti-toll, by my best observation. Of course, most people drifted away, disappointed and frustrated with our elected officials.


Houston Chronicle: "TxDOT is facing popular uprisings featuring everything but pitchforks in Austin and San Antonio."


Local Toll Authority, which has given out NO BID Contracts, will Administer Tolls for Austin Texas.

It was revealed in a little known Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) meeting yesterday morning, that TxDOT and the local tolling authority (Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority - CTRMA) had agreed that the Williamson County heavy CTRMA would administer all tolls that are planned on existing highways 183, 71W, 71E, 290W, 290E and 45S.

The State Comptroller Special Report called “CTRMA: A Need for a Higher Standard” exposed the tolling authority for giving out millions of dollars worth of NO BID contracts. These NO BID contracts were paid for with State, County and City Taxes and according to the report, some of the NO BID contracts went to board members and friends.

The Comptroller’s report also called the plan to toll existing highways, “Double taxation without Accountability”.

The CTRMA, is made up of mostly Williamson County (WilCo) people, with the majority of board members and Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein are from WilCo. WilCo is one-third the population and most the toll roads are in Travis. Apparently WilCo feels that Hays and Travis counties should be donor counties, as the revenue collected on Travis county roads could be easily spent in Williamson County.

Should Williamson County be tolling Travis County freeways? Should a convicted criminal be working with the tolling authority and TxDOT to toll roads we’ve already paid for?

Sen. Kirk Watson, chair of CAMPO has set that vote to toll our freeways with $900 million of our tax dollars on Oct 8th.

City of Austin records prove that one month after Sen. Kirk Watson became chair of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) -- an organization that directs billions of road dollars in Central Texas -- Watson was put on the payroll of special interest developers who profit from important transportation decisions.

"Roads and development
go hand in hand."

– Anonymous Reporter

"Yes, Kirk is not calling this incarnation
Phase II, but it's the same roads."

– Another Anonymous Reporter

Developers, a core of the toll lobby, see the toll road slush fund as an eternal source to pay for more sprawling roads to the land they buy cheap.

Not only is the plan of great concern, since it uses our tax dollars to build toll roads, but the roads would create monopolies by taking promised expressways and tolling them.

MPO Chair vs board member Toll fight in SA

Watch the sparks fly! MPO Chair and City Councilwoman Sheila McNeil stripped an item from the agenda AFTER Rep. David Leibowitz requested a vote to repudiate TxDOT’s ad campaign and lobbying of Congress. McNeil had already placed it on the agenda - then she unilaterally pulled the item.


TxDot can use public money to campaign for toll roads says Judge (click to read)

Texas Toll Roads Caught Ignoring Safety Standards

82% of Southwest Austin wants a Parkway Over Tollway

A recent telephone poll conducted by Opinion Analysts, Inc of Austin shows that 82% of the residents in Southwest Austin prefer a Parkway over TxDOT’s elevated toll road plan.

Fix290.org has produced a non-tolled plan that costs less, and can be built faster than TxDOT's freeway converting tollway. Fix290.org's solution costs only $100 million, compared to TxDOT's $411 million.

After Fix290.org was formed, the toll lobby and County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty created a pro-toll group that masquerades as a grassroots group called Consensus290 to push for the much more expensive solution - tolls on our freeways.


Houston Chronicle article on Letters to TxDOT on Tolls: "cover the spectrum from polite and well-reasoned to death threats." (A MUST READ-CLICK HERE)

YOU can Help Stop Sen. Kirk Watsons Highway Robbery!

THE VOTE WILL TAKE PLACE ON OCT 8TH - WATSON'S FREEWAY TOLLING SCHEME TARGETS OUR FAMILIES. The only thing that beats big special interest money is US - working together. We must boost our CAMPO feedback numbers ASAP.

Please download, print and deliver the “Freeways cost less and move traffic better than Tolls!” flyer ASAP. Print 50 of these and drop at your neighbors doors - to help educate others and get fast feedback "No Double Tax" to CAMPO. If you know someone with a store - have 100 or more printed at a copy shop and place them at the check out counter.

The flyer is here (copy and paste to download and print!):

Toll Authority Admits it Impedes Traffic

Random Double Charges From TxTags


KXAN EXCLUSIVE Exposes TxTAG Double Charges

There’s no mention of how TxDOT actually arrives at 150 people a day being double billed. There’s no mention about what TxDOT is doing to fix the problem! If they know how many are being double charged, why don't they send refunds in the mail?

"Thousands of drivers pay to use the new toll roads of Central Texas, but if they drive along sections of Loop 1 and state highways 130 and 45, they're prone to pay double.

"It's a timing issue between the tag readers and the cameras that are in the lanes, so it's that software that links the two together where we have a glitch in that software," said Garcia.

According to TxDOT, the software charges about 150 accounts double the required amount daily."

TxDOT threatened with injunction

It costs more to build a tolled freeway than a free freeway.

It costs more to build a tolled freeway than a free freeway. Feb 14, 2005, Central Texas MPO meeting minutes:

Council Member McCracken: And also just to make sure refer to the 290 and Oak Hill project it reflects that that road will also be more expensive to build as a toll road than it would be as a free road?

Bob Daigh (TxDOT dist. eng): Yes.

Council Member McCracken: In fact, by my calculations, at least in the information that the Board has, it will cost $90.8 million more to build these as toll roads than it will to build them as free roads.

Bob Daigh (TxDOT dist. eng): It will cost approximately $100 million more.

Since 05, TxDOT says it will now cost $411 million for the bloated tollway. Toll roads must be larger to separate the haves and have nots. Fix290.org has a free road plan that costs $100 million, some say it would cost as much as $200 million. But, $200m is still far less than $400m.

LETTER in Yesterday's Statesman

Not a booster

I can’t believe the toll advocates from “Take on Traffic” have the chutzpah to claim that buying a toll tag makes you a toll “supporter.” I bought a toll tag because I know I will have to use those roads sometimes, and I want to save money and time when I do it.

I bought a measles immunization, too, but that doesn’t mean I support measles.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lawsuit filed to STOP TxDOT’s illegal lobbying (click to read)

Sen. Watson's toll hearing Set up to Squelch Free Speech

This is a video of a citizen speaking at the final CAMPO toll hearing with Sen. Kirk Watson as Chair on Sept 10th, 2007. Push the arrow in the middle to play video.

Like hundreds of others at the final hearing for toll roads in Austin, TX, a citizen (Ann D.) tells Chair Sen. Kirk Watson that his hearing did NOT allow citizens to speak.

The citizen says she tried to sign up to speak at 6pm and she was told she could NOT sign up. The CAMPO meeting began at 6pm.

Highway checkpoint asks drivers for blood, saliva

Do you want California's $9.50 One-Way Tolls?

The Kirk Has No Clothes - AND, he's on the Payroll of Special Interests


CAMPO Chair, Kirk Watson sent out an email yesterday - with a lie that he and the Chamber’s Take on Traffic keep on weaving - that we have no other choice than to toll our freeways. Watson says in the email,

"In recent weeks, some have demanded that we take an approach that doesn’t involve user fees or tolls of any kind. I wish it were possible. Members of the CAMPO board, all of whom are good-hearted and dedicated public servants, would not subject themselves to the vitriol and name-calling that has come to mark this debate if they believed they had a choice."
The fact is the "user fees" (Kirk won't use the "toll" word) cost 2-4 times as much as a freeway. Watson and the Chamber continue to ignore the facts and they tell folks we don't have any other choice.

The fact is non-tolled roads cost much less since they don't have to separate the "Have" and "Have Not's".


City of Austin records prove that one month after Sen. Kirk Watson became chair of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) -- an organization that directs billions of road dollars in Central Texas -- Watson was put on the payroll of special interest developers who profit from important transportation decisions (Watson registered as a lobbyist with the City in 2/2007).

Developers, a core of the toll lobby, see the toll road slush fund as an eternal source to pay for more sprawling roads to the land they buy cheap.

The media has failed to tell that blatant conflict of interest story.

And the Chamber's Take on Traffic Website, Signs and Radio ads continue to trick the public into giving pro toll feedback to CAMPO - by hiding the word "Toll" in the fine print, just like Kirk.

And just try to reply to Watson's pro-toll propaganda emails, you'll never get a reply.

What citizens have said to Watson:
"By the way, it is especially annoying for you to send emails to me without giving me a chance to respond to you. The email address you use to send me propaganda repeatedly rejects my attempts to reply to your emails. It is common courtesy to at least include a working email address so that I can communicate with you since you're the one that initially contacted me!"
Since Kirk is stealing $700 to $900 million of our tax dollars and Billions of our public highway right of way, perhaps we should ask for a discount since so many of our tax dollars will have already paid some of that user fee.


Melinda Wheatley, One of the Most Wanted Lobbyists in Texas Gets Nabbed.


One of the Most Wanted Delinquent Lobbyists
the State of Texas signs Commission Order.

AUSTIN - The Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) has determined that toll road lobbyist Melinda Wheatley violated Texas law and must pay a $10,000 civil penalty. Wheatley failed to file dozens of financial reports describing her lobbyist activities over many years, according to TEC records. The order also states that Wheatley failed to pay the Office of the Attorney General for a default judgment for delinquent reports stretching back into the 90’s.

For years, Wheatley has been listed as one of the most delinquent filers in the State of Texas on the TEC website.

Melinda Wheatley is also a known associate of State Rep. Mike Krusee, the chair of the House Transportation committee. Wheatley and Krusee began working on education issues together in the late 90s. In 2003, when Krusee shifted gears to transportation and became the Chair of the House Transportation Committee, Wheatley also made the shift and began to lobby on transportation issues.

TransCore, one of Wheatley's transportation clients, landed a multi million dollar contract in 2005 to produce 500,000 TxTAG's for TxDOT toll roads. According to the Comptroller report, "A Need for a Higher Standard", Wheatley also received NO BID contracts from the local tolling authority, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA).

Sal Costello, TexasTollParty.com founder, said, "It's a good day when the most wanted lobbyist in the state, who has been hiding her toll road lobbying activities, is found to have violated Texas law. But we need to be aware that there are still way too many toll road profiteers lurking in the shadows."

The TEC order was signed by Melinda Wheatley on September 10th, 2007.

Download and read the TEC order here: http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/sworncomp/2006/2606164.pdf

Reporter banned from secret meeting on selling U.S. assets

Great letter to editor today

Two bits’ worth of advice

I was pleased to hear that the Texas Governor’s Mansion is to be renovated but disappointed that the renovation will not include the governor himself.

In the spirit of Gov. Rick Perry’s highway program, we need to make sure that those who use the mansion are the ones who pay for it, so let’s sell the mansion to some company in Spain and lease it back. We can pay for the lease by putting toll booths at the entrance to each room, with the highest tolls going on the bathrooms, to maximize our income.

If the governor can’t come up with, say, a quarter in the middle of the night, he can always go out into the yard to do his business - just as those who don’t want to pay highway tolls can use the access roads.



Commissioner Asks Senator To Put Brakes On Toll Road Plans (click to read)

2 Statesman Letters to the Editor Today

Re: Sept. 11 article “Tollway backers out in force.” Ben Wear’s report on the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board meeting would lead one to believe that the home builders, developers, real estate executives and road builders who wore white hats with the “Take on Traffic” logo represented the ordinary people of Austin instead of the special interest that will benefit from the proposed massive highway projects.

Granted, most of the early speakers did support the proposed highways. The reason had more to do with their ability to line up well before 5 p.m., when the sign-in started. Most ordinary people were just getting out of work; by the time they reached the Capitol, the sign-in period was over.

It does not make sense to spend $411 million to build two or three miles of elevated tolled highway to relieve congestion at the Oak Hill “Y.”


Re: Sept. 11 article “Tollway backers out in force.” That headline was misleading. It should have read: “Paid tollway backers out in force.”

Young men in Austin do not voluntarily wear business suits when out in the evening supposedly representing their own interests. Every “Take on Traffic” backer I saw at Monday evening’s meeting was dressed like they were paid to be there.

The American-Statesman should tell us who is providing “Take on Traffic” with its funding.


YOU can post additional comments online
now HERE at the Statesman web site.



Liars, Crooks, Thieves and other Vermin.

Today’s Austin American Snakesman article by Ben Wear confirms my forecast. I've also received many emails from folks having the same additional drive times near other toll ways all over town. The Snakesman states this about the traffic slow downs:
“The new luminous obstruction, according to some of the e-mails and calls I've been getting, initially added at least 15 minutes to some people's morning commute. One Bastrop resident says her commute ballooned from 30 minutes to 80 minutes or more. One person wrote, perhaps engaging in hyperbole, that the backup extended as far as 10 miles."
Sen. Kirk Watson, otherwise known as "Mr. Toll Road" has been pushing the unaccountable tax on Austin since he was mayor in the 90's. Watson diverted tens of millions of public dollars (intended for free roads) into the very first Austin toll roads - way before they were complete.

Lil' Watson continues to ignore the real solutions as he pushes to shift our public highways to tollways with the upcoming Oct 8th vote on CAMPO.

I said it years ago, and it’s coming true. I said, toll roads create traffic congestion.

Imagine, as the years pass, how much worse the free frontage roads will get as TxDOT will have a financial incentive to NEVER fix the free road traffic congestion. Hey Watson, it's a great toll scheme your pushing!

Here’s the kicker. Remember when the district engineer of TxDOT, Bob Daigh (you know, the TxDOT goofball with ties to convicted criminal Pete Peters) along with CTRMA's Mike Heiligenstein
, promised over and over in CAMPO meetings, and at community hearings that “No new stop lights will be added” near any new toll roads?

Well, Bob Daigh lied.


From that same story in the Snakesman:

“Signals installed after tollway opened causing new backups east of the airport."

Is McCracken Crackin'?

This video and text below is from Donna, who went to last Monday nights CAMPO meeting and wonders what McCracken was off doing for such a long time. Thanks for sending it to me Donna! Turn up the volume folks! - Sal

The many faces of Brewster McCracken, Austin's City Council member and CAMPO Board member. FEIGN (INTEREST), STARE, BORED, SNIFF, COUGH, GRIND.

The other night during the CAMPO Public Hearing on Toll Roads (9-10-07), McCracken, kept missing in action from his CAMPO Board seat. He was observed MIA 3 times for 20 minute periods. Where was he? What was he doing? He was supposed to be listening to the testimony from Austinites and how they do not want their roads tolled. Guess he had better things to do!?!?!?!

Brewster McCracken, vote for tolls, sell your soul!


PRO TOLL GURU ARTICLE: "Sen K B Hutchinson flip - says toll prohibition bills don't really prohibit tolling"

TxDOT NOT interested in keeping toll costs down.

Ric Williamson, chair of TxDOT, seeks to shift our state highways and interstates to toll roads and he doesn't care how much it costs our families. Once our public highways are tolled, they will be sold off to the highest bidder.

TAKE ACTION NOW - 30 Sec. ACTION ITEM!: Send an email to Sen. Watson and the other 19 board members with this one email address - campo@austintollparty.com, and tell them "DO NOT spend our tax dollars on creating Freeway Tolls - which will then be sold to corporations. THAT’S CORPORATE WELFARE! Use those tax dollars to build non-tolled roads today - they cost much less and can be built faster.”

Appointed Hold Over Vermin and TxDOT Arrogance

"We see what Senator Hutchison has done as a great step forward," said Ric Williamson, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission.

EYE ON WILCO: “We The People” vs. "Fat Cats in White Hats"

County commissioners yank a $500,000 loan to Regional Mobility Authority because, one commish said, the agency has been obsessed with toll roads.



I am already getting emails from folks thinking it's now illegal for TxDOT to double tax drivers on our state highways. It's just not true. Don't believe the press (and) they often get it wrong.



AUSTIN – Texas’ senior Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R–TX) passed an amendment that claims to protect Texas taxpayers from tolling existing highways in Texas.

Hutchison is dancing in the end zone, but she’s failed to make a touch down. Sadly, Hutchison’s bill is full of loopholes. Her press release claims:
Today we protected Texas taxpayers from paying twice for a highway,” Sen. Hutchison said. “I will continue pushing for a permanent prohibition of tolling existing highways.”
Sadly, Hutchison’s claim, that her bill stops double taxation of our Texas highways is 100% hogwash. State highways are not covered at all. And, gaping loopholes allow TxDOT to go out today and build new toll lanes, all day long on our interstates - and they can build them with 100% of our tax dollars. That’s exactly what TxDOT is doing all over Texas with our state highways today. The double taxation scheme here in Central Texas includes a plan to spend $700 million of our tax dollars - intended for freeways - and spend those tax dollars to shift our freeways to toll ways. Hutchison’s bill fails to protect us, with too many loopholes for a rogue agency like TxDOT to exploit.“ People for Efficient Transportation founder, Sal Costello said.

Hutchison's release also misleads the press with this statement:
During the 80th session of the Texas Legislature the state House and Senate approved a measure that would place a two-year moratorium on building toll roads in Texas.
There is no such "Toll Freeze" legislation. Hutchison is referring to SB 792. The simple fact is - that loophole filled moratorium doesn't stop any of the toll roads that are planned in the next 2 years. NOT ONE ROAD! THE TOLL ROADS PLANNED BY TXDOT ARE EXEMPTED.

TO PROVE MY POINT - Here is an
AP Report called "Texas Authorizes More Than 80 Toll Road Projects" from just a few weeks ago.

Contact: Sal Costello, Founder of TexasTollParty.com and
People for Efficient Transportation
E-mail: Sal@TexasTollParty.com

Thousands of motorists using the zip cash lanes on Texas tollways are paying just that -- Zip!


Hundreds of anti-tollers locked out of Toll Road Hearing.


In today’s Statesman article, Ben Wear creates the impression of grand support of the freeway to tollway plan - as hundreds of anti tollers were locked out of the main auditorium.

It is important to note that Belinda Gaudet, General Manager of the Austin American-Statesman is a Vice Chair for the executive committee of the Austin Chamber of Commerce (also known as Take on Traffic - pro tollers).

The Statesman has continued to squelch the citizens who speak out against the freeway to tollway plan with it’s articles, pro toll editorials and by keeping hundreds, if not thousands of letter to the editor from being published on the subject in the past years.


The toll lobby profiteers (also known as Take on Traffic - Developers, Bankers, Lawyers, Construction Industry people and their employees) arrived at the Capitol at 4:00 to 4:30 just to line up, to get on the sign up list to speak. The CAMPO sign up list was scheduled to begin at 5:00.

This strategic plan for toll profiteers to arrive early worked very well in conjunction with Sen. Kirk Watson’s choice to hold the meeting in an undersized auditorium where hundreds of anti-tollers were locked out. This illusion in the auditorium gave some of the press the impression that the pro-tollers had a larger presence than they actually had. Our presence was clear, and we called out the profiteers over and over.

Tollers continue to say there is not other choice, that we must toll our freeways. The smart solutions are right HERE.

CAMPO chair Sen. Kirk Watson is also a former Austin Chamber of Commerce president, and I would expect Watson conspired to help stack the deck with pro-tollers since the 2006 Austin Chamber of Commerce annual report, on page 23 (www.austinchamber.com/WhatsNew/2006OAAnnualReport.pdf), reveals that Sen. Kirk Watson, and Hughes and Luce, the law firm he is a partner in, have both contributed money to the Pro Toll Chamber.

During the meeting, Kirk Watson proclaimed many times to the press, the public, and the profiteers, "Everyone will get a chance to speak" - as hundreds of anti-toll citizens, who came directly from work and arrived after 6pm, were turned away and told they could no longer sign up to speak at about 6:15pm.


In my opinion, the campaign I created in the past few weeks bared the best fruit last night on TV news, as the smooth talking Sen. Watson was forced out of his hole into the light of day - as he was finally forced to publicly support tolling our freeways.

Records from the City of Austin show Sen. Watson is being paid to lobby for numerous developers (toll lobby) in Central Texas - all while Watson is chair of CAMPO, an organization that directs billions of taxpayer transportation dollars in Central Texas. A blatant Conflict of Interest. As a partner of Hughes & Luce law firm, Watson has yet to disclose how many toll lobby clients represents.

I'd like to personally thank the hundreds of great citizens who took a stand against Watson's corporate subsidy toll scheme last night. You guys and gals rock! Stay tuned to this blog and keep talking to your neighbors about the theft of our $700 million tax dollars to shift our freeways to tollways.

Read what others have to say and
sound off in the comment area here.

Inspector General Reports Impact of Transportation Funding Diversions (CLICK TO READ)

"The American people understand that transportation earmarks often have more to do with a politician's re-election campaign than the true priorities of each state's department of transportation," Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) said.

STATESMAN: Anti-tollers decry ‘fat cats in white hats’ - CLICK TO READ AND COMMENT

NEW Companion Bill Could Block Highway Tolls

Gary Martin
Express-News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — House lawmakers from Texas and Pennsylvania filed a bill to block proposals in their respective states to toll federal highways to provide revenue for repair and construction, officials said Tuesday.

The House bill is a companion to legislation filed in the Senate by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who has vowed to stop efforts in Austin to "buy back" federal highways and levying tolls on state taxpayers.

"Tolling existing freeways — the lifeblood of moving goods and services — is bad public policy, and states like Pennsylvania and Texas would incur irrevocable economic damage," said Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa....

Read the rest of the story HERE.


From McBlogger: Tolls - Release the McCracken!

Yes, I went to the CAMPO meeting last night. Then had to leave because I was LAUGHING too hard at the folks from the Chamber who did mob the meeting, yet still weren't in the majority. One key for you Chamber folks... if you're going to stack a meeting, cut back on the paid people and the buttons.

Specifically, I DIED laughing when some moron got up to speak and talked about the 242k people in Central Texas that have purchased TXTags basically supporting tolls....

Read the rest of the article HERE.


A Toll Night at the Texas Capitol

Folks, This is a great article by a great Texan and pal Peter Stern...Check out his Statesman blog HERE. Many people were turned away when they asked to sign up to speak, one person told me that hundreds of people were in the hallway, when she was told it was too late to sign up to speak about 6:30pm. That's dead wrong. That blame lands at Sen. Kirk Watson's feet.


By Peter Stern
September 10, 2007

Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) followed Texas law by holding an open meeting on toll roads to the general public for its comments. However, as too frequently occurs the auditorium at the Capitol was not large enough to permit the public entrance to the meeting. As may be seen from some of the following photos, more than 100 individuals were forced to wait outside the auditorium in the Capitol hallways. Many of those not allowed inside decided to leave.

Is this any way to run a meeting? Perhaps not, but it certainly ensures the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and CAMPO of a more controlled environment and stifles more urgently needed open public dialogue. Maybe the lack of seating was accidental, but you have to wonder when it seems this happened quite frequently at other "open" toll meetings at other locales.

Those in the hallway were told they were not permitted entrance because of standing room only, which is not permitted, a.k.a., fire marshal regulations.
A legitimate question could follow: Why are CAMPO and TxDOT planning the building and maintenance of our roads and toll roadways when they cannot even plan appropriately for a public toll meeting?

There were more than 120 individuals who requested speaking before the CAMPO Board and by approximately 8 PM only the first 20 had spoken. Most vocalized against toll roads.

Whether CAMPO and TxDOT actually listen to the public regarding toll road plans may be observed within the next several weeks. So far, neither one has a good track record when it comes to listening to the majority of taxpayers.

Let's "Tar and Feather those Crooks!" at the Capitol Tonight! Don't miss it!

History will be made Tonight!

6pm - Midnight at the State Capitol

Show up at the Capitol tonight to help stop Senator Kirk Watson from pushing the double tax toll scheme that shifts our Central Texas freeways to tollways!

Watson will steal $700 million in tax dollars (money intended for freeways) for double tax toll roads - if we don't flood the Capitol extension auditorium with concerned taxpayers TONIGHT. MORE CORRUPTION TO BE REVEALED AT THIS MEETING - DON'T MISS THIS EVENT - !

WHERE IS IT? State Capital Extension Auditorium, Room E1.004. Enter the main doors of the Capital, head back to the elevators, go down a level and through the tunnel towards the extension. The auditorium is the first set of doors on your right on the extension side of the tunnel. Bring others! FREE PARKING at 12th and Trinity.


Developers profit by buying cheap land and getting the public to pay for roads to that land. Records from the City of Austin show Sen. Watson is being paid to lobby for numerous developers in Central Texas - all while Watson is chair of CAMPO, an organization that directs billions of taxpayer transportation dollars in Central Texas. A blatant Conflict of Interest.

Tonight at the Capitol

Bring others!

CAN'T COME? Tell all 19 CAMPO board members to "Do NOT spend $700 Million of our tax dollars for monopolistic tolls on our freeways or I will work to remove you in your next election." This ONE email address goes out to all 19 Board members - a couple of them will block you - but your comments will be counted! (please include a subject heading, your name, address so they know you're a real person):


CLICK HERE: Eye On WilCo Blog talks about CAMPO, Kirk Watson & The Austin Chamber Of Commerce (Take On Traffic pro tollers)

McBlogger says this to CAMPO: "Tolls include profits for private contractors. The gas tax does not."

CAMPO is meeting next Monday, September 10th, at the Capitol in the extension auditorium, E1.004. As for parking, you're best bet is the garage at 1201 San Jacinto. It's an easy walk.


What Sen.Kirk Watson Does Not Want You To Know: The REAL SOLUTIONS!

Or Pay and Pay and Pay.

Smarter options, other than shifting our Austin freeways to tollways, do exist - although the Austin American Snakesman (which is on the board of the pro-toll Chamber of Commerce - also known as Take on Traffic) just wrote an editorial called "No Exit from Toll Roads" saying we don't have any other choice.

In the short term, the $700 million (updated, now $910 million!) tax dollars should
n't be spent on toll roads, but on cost efficient non-toll solutions such as:

· Variable speed limits
· Ramp metering
· HOV lanes without tolls
· Reversible/barriered lanes for peak periods
· Non tolled Parkways (like
fix290.org with a nontolled $100 parkway, compared to TxDOT's $400 million freeway converting tollway!)
· Pass through financing
· More arterial lane miles
· Better incident management and
· Advance computerized control of traffic signals.

In the long term we must index the gas tax. The
Texas Transportation Institute report states that more tolls are simply NOT needed - that indexing the gas tax and using the revenue to pay off bonds allows freeways to be built right now.

Once placed, the freeway tolls will NEVER be removed from our public highways. In contrast, the Ledge has the opportunity to index the gas tax every two years!

Texas Mayor in Trouble for Red Light Camera Lobbying

Bond Buyer Quotes Muckraker: “A lot of elected representatives are starting to see TxDOT as this rogue agency."


Ric Williamson Goes to Washington

A very reliable source tells me that Ric Williamson, the chemically imbalanced head of the rogue agency TxDOT, has been summoned to the principals office. He's meeting in Washington DC today with United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Looter Sen. Watson to Divert $700 Million in Taxes to Toll our Freeways

Watson is a Crook!

The Chair of CAMPO, Senator Kirk Watson, is pushing a double tax toll scheme that shifts our freeways to tollways. The Watson TxDOT toll plan also diverts $700 million tax dollars - intended for free roads - into toll roads. It is important to note that freeways have NEVER been shifted to tollways in the history of our country.

Conventional toll roads across the country have always been built on new land with investor dollars (after the public expressways had been built) so drivers have a choice between the public highway or the toll road. They are taking what is ours to charge us forever, as the tolls will never be removed even after the road has been paid for 100 times over. Don't let it happen, attend T-Day Monday.



Safe from the voters wrath, tollers selected the retiring Austin council member Betty Dunkerley to run interference, and confuse some of our greener folks who sent emails (via campo@austintollparty.com), with a tricky reply that said:

"We are considering tolls on new capacity not old..."

THE FACT IS, the Austin toll plan creates a monopoly by tolling public highways like 183, 71, 290, 45S and MoPAC.

Tollers seek to use our tax dollars (the $700 million) and the right of way we've paid for (Billions of dollars worth intended for our freeways/public highways) - to shift our freeway system into an unaccountable tax system. Period. This is a Double Tax.

These are roads that were always intended to be freeways. Tollers use our money, they use our right of way to charge us again - so special interest pals can profit off our families. There should be no free land and free roads given to toll road interests under the guise of providing maintenance for a bureaucratic double tax.


Help Stop the Double Tax on T-Day!
This Monday, Sept. 10th, 6pm at the State Capitol!
Be there or pay and pay and pay.

T-Day stands for Tolls, Taxes & let's "Tar and Feather those Crooks"!

Senators Introduce Legislation That Would Ban Tolls on Existing Interstates

TxDOT pisses off another member of Congress

August 31, 2007

The Honorable James Oberstar
House Transportation and Infrastructure
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently launched a $9 million advertising campaign to promote their Texas toll road plan. In addition to being a completely irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars, I believe it is unfair to the taxpayers of Texas for TxDOT to use funds to pay for an advertising campaign to promote converting existing roads, which have already been paid for by Texas taxpayers, into toll roads that will again tax Texas drivers who use those roads on a daily basis. Given that nearly half of the TxDOT budget consists of federal funding, I believe this is an issue that merits review by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Therefore, I request the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee conduct a hearing into TxDOT’s use of taxpayer funds for this advertising campaign and to investigate if the toll road plan being proposed by TxDOT is in the public’s best interest.

As a Member representing an expansive area in Texas and one of the largest congressional districts in the country, I believe my constituents and all Texans are owed the best efforts of the government to maximize the use of the available transportation dollars toward maintenance and relief of traffic congestion -- and not toward a public relations campaign to promote increased taxation.

I appreciate your attention to this request.


Ciro D. Rodriguez
Member of Congress


Which is the smarter road?

or the $411 MILLION TOLLWAY?
see fix290.org


For example, fix290.org created a non-tolled parkway that would move just as many cars as TxDOT's double decker toll road at the Oak Hill convergence of U.S. 290 and Texas 71 (SW Austin).

The smarter non-tolled parkway costs less than $100 million. TxDOT's
money grubbing freeway toll costs $411 million (since it needs toll equipment and a bigger foot print to separate the tolled freeway lanes from the frontage roads with stop lights). The tollway allows politicos to tax drivers again without calling it a tax. And, if you've tried to drive free near the new tollways in North Austin, you know exactly how they force drivers onto the tollways.

BREAKING NEWS: TxDOT ignores a CAMPO order to study
the non-tolled parkway! A MUST READ - CLICK HERE.

Click HERE to find out who is trying to toll
freeways in Central Texas today.

Lawmakers add voices to FIRESTORM over toll road plans

Congressman Rodriguez Calls for Congressional Hearing to Examine TxDOT’s Plan to Re-Tax Texans


Senator Kirk "Freeway Toller" Watson and Our $700 Million Tax Dollars.

Senator Kirk Watson and others are now seeking to steal
$700 million of our tax dollars for a scheme that shifts freeways
to tollways in Austin. The final CAMPO public hearing for this
double tax is Monday, Sept 10th at 6pm at the Capitol.
Be there or pay and pay and pay.



10) The State Comptroller's in depth report calls this scheme "Double Taxation without Accountability". The comptroller also found toll road board members giving out NO BID contracts to themselves and their pals!

9) This crucial vote will cost your family $1,000's of dollars a year - and don't forget, convicted criminal Pete Peters is at the heart of the whole scam!

8) This bloated tax and debt scheme is the most expensive solution for our families - it could cost us 30 times more - and it doesn't even address the biggest congestion problem! - which is found on I-35. It's a revenue generation scheme, not a congestion
reduction plan.

7) 93% of the public feedback in 2004 said NO TOLLS, but these sneaky politicos are trying to slip one by us yet again, to help their fat cat contributors profit off our families.

6) These tax funded public highways have already been promised as freeways but politicians seek an unaccountable taxation scheme that doesn't use the "tax" word.

5) You and your family shouldn't be forced to pay a toll, if you want to drive on the express portion of a freeway to get to work, school or shop! Slow service roads with gtrowing congestion and stop lights (that force us to pay a toll) is not an alternative. With freeway tolls, tollers will have a finacial incentive to NEVER fix the free frontage road congestion.

4) We've already stopped the double tax at MoPAC and Wm Cannon - Drivers drive that overpass for free and save Millions of dollars in bureaucratic freeway tolls every year! We've also stopped tolls on loop 360, and parts of 290 and 71! Take action today!

3) NO OTHER CITY IN THE COUNTRY HAS SHIFTED IT'S FREEWAYS TO TOLLWAYS! Over a Billion dollars worth of our tax dollars and right of way we've already paid for will be used to create a monopolistic unaccountable double tax on our freeways.

2) NO ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY HAS BEEN DONE (see #2). All goods and services will cost more, as the additional cost of driving on freeway tolls, will be passed down to the consumer.

1) CAMPO board members like Sen. Kirk Watson don't want you to speak up or come to the Sept 10th "T-Day" hearing. They want you to stay home and watch TV, so they can use $700 million dollars worth of our tax dollars (intended for free roads) for toll roads! Sen. Watson and others ignore the public so they can harvest our families for special interests pals like Take on Traffic (Chamber of Commerce).

The final CAMPO public hearing for freeway tolls:

Sept 10th at the Capitol (6pm)

"We should all be angered, outraged and disgusted at our officials for this continued lie."


Some Wealthy & Powerful Drive On Tollway For Free

CBS 11 News DALLAS-- Some very rich and powerful people are getting free TollTags – for life -- with virtually no limits on how many times they can ride for free.

A CBS 11 investigation found Dallas resident Jere Thompson with a free TollTag. He lives in a $1.4 million house, is CEO of a local electric company, and years ago served on the board of the North Texas Tollway Authority [N.T.T.A.]. According to records obtained by CBS 11, Thompson had more than 1200 transactions on the Dallas North Tollway in a recent 12 month period. All of them were free.

Read the rest of the article HERE.