The Bond Buyer: Austin Agency’s Vote Met With Opposition

As you might guess, the Bond Buyer is a publication for bond investors, and those investors are perhaps not as keen on putting up money for projects that are not that popular. 75% of the CAMPO public feedback opposed the tolls CAMPO voted for this week. A section of the Bond Buyer article:

"...The board is made up of representatives of regional governments and led by former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, currently a Democratic state senator. To accommodate the crowd of sign-carrying opponents, the meeting was held in the auditorium of a local high school.

“There was a lot of hooting and hollering and cat calls,” said Sal Costello, founder of the Texas Toll Party that opposes tolls on existing tax-financed roads. “The public really feels that it’s been ignored.”

Some of the signs protesters brought to the meeting read: “No tolls on existing roads,” and “Watson won’t listen.”

Watson voted for tolling on four of the five highway projects, but recused himself on a proposal for U.S. 290 East because he is a director of a bank that owns land along the route.

While the vote Monday night was intended to be conclusive, Costello said that his organization is not ending the fight. Texas Toll Party will target six CAMPO board members who face re-election next spring, including state Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Austin, who sponsored House Bill 3588 in the 2003 session of the Legislature that promoted tolling.

Costello said that he formed his organization in 2004 in opposition to the tolling that was allowed by that bill. At that time, CAMPO was seeking to turn eight highways into toll projects. Through political pressure, the regional governments reconsidered its plan. In the intervening three years, the number of toll projects was reduced from eight to five..."
Read the whole article HERE.

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