12/04/2007

San Antonio MPO Ignores The Public And Votes To Toll Public Highway 281 With Tax Dollars.

The modus operandi of yesterday's toll SH 281 MPO vote in San Antonio is the carbon copy of the Austin CAMPO vote from October (list of Central Texas tollers here as well).

The M.O.? A smaller than needed venue, Chamber of Commerce getting the profiteers out early, and a bunch of politicos ignoring the public will - as they vote to shift another public asset to an unaccountable revenue generating machine. Critics outnumbered advocates 3-1.

From a San Antonio Express article:

By the time board members convened at the VIA Metro Center, the 208-person capacity room was full and dozens of people were locked out, prompting complaints that the meeting should have been held in a larger room.

For the first time at an MPO meeting, people entering had to empty their pockets and let a guard use a hand-held metal detector to search them.

From a Carlos Guerra opinion article today:

The Greater Chamber, I was told, mounted a major effort to get its people to attend.

"I got 442 e-mails generated by the Chamber," County Commissioner Lyle Larson mused, pointing to a breakdown of the senders. "You've got engineering firms, 86; real estate firms, 67; construction and engineering, 37; homebuilders, 33 ...

"These are all folks that have a vested interest in getting construction under way. But I can tell you that the lion's share of correspondence I've gotten over the last 31/2 years has been opposed to (toll roads), and I mean by the thousands."

Like others, Larson doesn't buy into the notion that tolling is the only option for alleviating traffic congestion. And he questions the numbers the Texas Department of Transportation has issued to support its pro-tolling arguments.

"On the state level, at least, they're focused on revenue," he said.

"It's not about building capacity, it's about revenues."

From San Antonio Toll Party's Terri Hall (which includes the list of San Antonio tollers):
NON-COMPETE WILL PROHIBIT EXPANSION OF SURROUNDING FREE ROUTES! These sorry excuses for elected representatives voted to limit ANY new roads or expansion of existing roads surrounding the the 281 tollway which undoubtedly includes, Stone Oak Pkwy, Bulverde Rd., Red Land Rd., and Blanco Rd. (up to a 4 mile area around the tollway by law, yep that counterfeit moratorium Perry rammed through allows it)!



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you read Carlos Guerra's article on MYSA.com, he mentions that there was an argument used yesterday that residents of Austin, Houston, and Dallas have "embraced" tolling as an option. So, I just emailed him this:

Dear Mr. Guerra,

Having grown up on the north side of San Antonio, I understand the frustration people feel about the new 281 - 1604 toll road plan, some of which was displayed at yesterday's vote. I have several members of my immediate family that live along the 281 proposed toll route. I am very educated about the transportation issues of the state of Texas. I now live in Austin, and have been a resident here since 1989. I just wanted to let you know that you mentioned in your article, Crowded meeting, lots of e-mails show the passion over toll roads on MySA.com, that there is an "argument that Austinites have embraced tolling options", as well as those citizens of Houston and Dallas. I can tell you, that argument is not even barely true. Austin's citizens have fought toll roads with every fiber of their being. Most opinion polls put the numbers around 75-90% of Austinites are openly opposed to tolling as an option. Austin's anti-toll road citizens have recently had exposure in national media oulets concerning their outcries against this. That is hardly "EMBRACING" tolls. As in San Antonio, Austin is coping with TXDOT, a rogue agency that is filled with arrogance at its new capacity...that of an independent, unaccountable, taxing agency. TXDOT has held our Mobility Board, CAMPO, hostage with threats of pulling funding for our roads, if the board does not vote for the roads to be tolled. It sounds like this might be a difficult thing for TXDOT to do, but it's not, because a majority of our board members receive funding (especially at campaign time) from special interests (largely, Chamber of Commerce big business) that will make huge profits from tolling exsisting freeways. Please do not let the people of San Antonio think that Austin has embraced toll roads. At present, we are fighting desperately to vote these CAMPO members, that voted for toll roads in Austin, out of their current positions.

If anyone else has anything to say about this article, his email address is cguerra@express-news.net

lifesaver said...

I appreciate your passion for tolling issues in Austin, because you live there. But thats also the point of my post; you live in Austin - not San Antonio. You aint got a dog in this hunt. It's a San Antonio issue, and the last thing we want or need is someone else coming down from the capitol city with our 'best interests' in mind. Corrupting the oft heard quip about the federal government, the most dangerous phrase to any Texan is "I'm from Austin, and I'm here to help."

Butt-out Sal. Mind your own business.