How Special Interest Politicians Kill

Over the past year numerous accidents had taken place on 71W in West Austin, just minutes from my home. The media has reported how this stretch of road was clearly overburdened and unsafe since the many accidents and deaths. Everyone agreed 71W was a major problem, except the greedy.

In August of 2007, I wrote a blog article about how Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty (above) irresponsibly voted to approve the development of 1,500 homes on 71W - even though the road clearly couldn't handle traffic it already had:

This vote proves that Commish Gerald Daugherty cares more about his contributors profits, than the safety of our families.
Commissioner Ron Davis used common sense and voted 'No'. According to the 8/22/07 Statesman article Davis stated:
"the county should turn down the subdivision because it presents a general threat to the safety and welfare of people living in southwestern Travis County."
Sadly, just last week another major tragedy took place.

3 teens were killed, 5 other injured - from the Statesman (2/17/08):
Austin High School student Audrey Ducote and Marble Falls High School student Randall H. Hibler, both 16, were killed in the wreck. Lauren Hoffman, 17, of Waco was also killed. Saturday's rainy weather was a factor in the collision, which occurred at 1:08 p.m. on Texas 71 at Bee Creek Road, Texas Department of Public Safety officials said.
and from the same article:
Over the past year, residents and elected officials have raised concerns about safety along the stretch of Texas 71 where Saturday's wreck occurred. There have been multiple fatal wrecks on the portion of the highway that winds from the Village of Bee Cave to the western edge of Travis County.
Like all special interest politicians, Daugherty ignores the public and listens to his greedy developers/real estate fat cats pals - they could care less about our families. They only care for the almighty dollar.

After these deaths, and political pressure TxDOT says they will add rumble striping.

Commissioner Gerald Daugherty also pushed for and voted for tolling Austin roads we've already paid for in 2005 and 2007, even though an overwhelming majority of citizens said "No".


Anonymous said...

Just another example of how poorly the infrastructure in Austin is designed. This road was flawed from the begining, it could have been fixed a long time ago, and nothing was done.

Anonymous said...

A small portion the 9 mil spent on TollNazi propaganda could have been used to fix this. There's blood on someone's hands at TxDOT.

Anonymous said...

I live just past the "Y" in Oak Hill out 290W, and I frequently travel to the southern side of Lake LBJ for the weekend. I drive out 71W on Saturdays, when the traffic is crazy...way too many cars, and most likely a lot of people drinking... going out or coming from Lake Travis. One day, there was a slight misty rain, and traffic was completely stopped in both directions just prior to the turnoff for Pace Bend park, where there are a lot of hills and curves. Five minutes into my wait for this accident (I assumed that is what it was), Air Flight helicopters landed to take victems to the hospital. I never learned if anyone died, but it looked extremely tragic as the traffic was released to continue down the road. To all citizens traveling this stretch of highway, please be extremely careful...there is no divider and no turning lane throughout much of this road. It has heavy traffic with many people having just been to the Highland lakes. Stories like what happened to these teens make me very sad, and there is not a lot of empathy/money coming from TxDOT or Commissioner Daugherty to get the situation fixed.

Anonymous said...

Why would you expect empathy from a government official? These fat cats don't lift a finger unless there's something in it for them or the public yells loud enough about a problem

Take note of these chumps and deal with them at the polls.

Sal Costello Sal@TexasTollParty.com said...


Making Texas 71 safer

Installing left turn lanes and wider shoulders is not going to prevent vehicles from sliding across the road into oncoming traffic. What is needed are barriers to divide the east- and west-bound traffic.

Either that, or plow the whole thing under and rebuild it from scratch.


Sal Costello Sal@TexasTollParty.com said...


That stretch of Hwy 71 is a really deadly stretch of road. The very idea of wider shoulders and left turn lanes just leaves me wondering how whoever is in charge in TXDOT got there, it certainly wasn't due to an intelligence test. The problem is the way the road is constructed, paved, and a lack of some sort of a divider, there are also warning signs and people ignore them now just as they will ignore any new signs put up along that stretch of road, that's no answer either.

The Austin area has some of the worst roads for accidents that I've ever seen, except for one over in Alabama, and people out here tend to drive beyond their capabilities. The politicians don't seem to care.