Tricky TxDOT Alters Toll Road Customers Check and Calls Texan Liar

I wrote about how TxDOT/TxTag altered a customers check and how they got caught in

Today, and update as a Star Telegram reporter looked into the altered check fiasco.

Gabriela Garcia
, a TxDOT employee who is know for lying "like a rug" (and not answering questions) says TxDOT didn't have a motive:

Department spokeswoman Gabriela Garcia told me last week: "We're very certain that it did not occur on our side." Then, referring to the Gibbs family, she added that the check alteration "could have occurred [by] the other party for that matter as well. We don't know."

When I told Debbie Gibbs that an agency spokeswoman suggested that she could have altered her own check, Gibbs replied:

"I'm not in the habit of writing checks for more than the bills are. They are calling me a liar. I can't stand it. I'm furious. I want some type of ownership as to who did it, and why they did it. And trying to say that I did it is ludicrous!"

Brian Gibbs told me that when he first called TxTag to complain, a supervisor told him that it shouldn't be difficult to track who handled the check because employees log in with identifying information on all transactions.

I asked Garcia about those identifying procedures, but she wouldn't answer, saying instead, "There was no motive for a payment processor to change a check to match the bill statement." But that wasn't my question.

Read this EXCLUSIVE REPORT of mine from last October:
TxDOT/Gabriela Garcia Deception
Shown Within Internal emails.

Letter to the Muckraker


It's little incidents like this that add up to tell the story of what these toll roads cost our community, especially when improvements to competing roads are precluded either by language in the toll bonds or by back room decisions.

I have now observed what I have feared would result from adding toll roads to our transportation grid and ignoring needs of drivers who cannot afford to use these roads regularly.

I play soccer on Sundays and a new county park has opened just south and east of Manor where I have now driven twice to play. The most direct route for those of us going from SW Austin is to take Hwy 71 east, just past the airport, to 973 and take that north to Blake Manor Road, which is just south of Manor and Hwy 290. 973 basically parallels tolled Hwy 130 the entire distance.

Even on a Sunday morning, 973 is very busy. Looking over at Hwy 130, I don't think it is nearly as busy. So it seems to me drivers are choosing the free two lane country road over the mega-lane toll facility in large numbers. I suppose some of the traffic on 973 is local, but several cars I traveled along with took 973 the entire distance from Hwy 71 all the way north to Manor.

The first week I played soccer in Manor I came upon an accident on 973 on the way home and discovered one of my teammates had been rear-ended hard enough to spin her across the road, into a ditch and total her vehicle. My friend had stopped because the truck in front of her, towing a horse trailer, had stopped at a narrow bridge to let something wider pass by.

The police officers who responded to the accident said the number of accidents on 973 was escalating rapidly because the area is growing so fast. A friend of the woman who rear ended my teammate also stopped to be helpful. She said she lives near 973 and 130 and takes 130 when she goes to work at rush hour, but can't afford to take it more than that. She said she just prays to be safe when she takes 973 the rest of the time because it's crowded, people speed and pass inappropriately on it. To me this is social blight caused by toll roads. People who can't afford to take the toll road end up on unsafe back roads which have their own costs to everyone; accident rates go up, insurance rates go up and we have two classes of drivers, ones who can afford the toll and ones who pray for safety.



Boondoggle backers ponder name change for the Trans-Texas Corridor

Stubborn elected representatives like Gov. Perry and Sen. Watson act like they are kings, while they ignore the will of the public. While all along, the fact is THEY WORK FOR US! Instead of listening to the public, these slippery snakes play word games and lie.

For example, Sen. Kirk Watson started to call toll roads "managed" lanes some time ago, just so he didn't have the say the unpopular "Toll" word.

And today, we have evidence that some of these fat cat crooks are looking to use other words to describe the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC)!

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today:

"We're calling it a 'regional loop' because you can't say 'Trans-Texas Corridor' in the state of Texas anymore," said Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

"The Trans-Texas Corridor is a lightning rod," he told visiting state representatives this week while explaining how the corridor would connect to regional highways by 2030.
These corrupt crooks would screw their own mothers if they could gain a dollar or get a little more power.


Toller/Arrested Gunman/Candidate Dwight Thompson Gets Special Treatment

Dwight Dallas Thompson
Felony Arrest Photo

Dwight Thompson, former mayor of WestLake Hills and former Vice Chair of CAMPO (who voted to toll Austin freeways) was arrested on 7/21/06 for having a loaded gun at an airport checkpoint.

Since we helped to fire Thompson in early 2006, he’s been off my radar.

BUT, he is now running to become mayor of WestLake Hills - again. So I started to look into the status of his arrest and other details.

In 2006, police at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport arrested Thompson, who had a LOADED .38-caliber handgun at a checkpoint - a very serious offense, a Felony. A felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Think about this...You either have a loaded gun or you don’t, right? Well, he had a loaded gun. There is NO gray area on an issue like this.

And, to make matters worse, some months before, he had been arrested in another state, for the same thing! A gun at an airport checkpoint.

The Statesman even mentions this double offense some days ago:
“...Thompson — who has been arrested twice for carrying a firearm in an airport.”
Keep this in mind: With a felony on his record, Thompson would not be able to run for office again, as stated on the ballot application he filed out earlier this month to run for mayor.


Since he’s a VIP, Thompson gets special treatment from the DA’s office. The Austin Police Department reports that the third degree felony charges of were reduced to misdemeanor charges.

A court hearing for the misdemeanor charge is scheduled for April 24th - a trial by Jury in Travis County Courtroom #6. You or I would get the book thrown at us, especially if we were caught twice bringing a weapon into an airport, but I guess the elite are above the law.

Details I found...
Filed as FELONY, case #: 06-2020347
Cause #: D1DC06203891

Refiled as Misdemeanor
Cause #: 07-400389

March 10, 2008 Ballot Application:
Dwight Dallas Thompson
900 Redbud Trail
Westlake Hills, TX 78746
DOB: 7/11/52

Must Reads - Freeway Tollers Clash With The Law!:


EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS: Tollers Fight Tollers For Tax Dollars

Sen. Kirk Watson vs. TxDOT!

The war is on! - Heated letters went out this week between TxDOT and Sen. Kirk Watson of CAMPO.

But, it's not a fight over whether Austin freeways are toll taxed or not toll taxed.

The fight is about which pot of your tax dollars pays for the double tax tolls! Just last fall, Sen. Kirk Watson and others voted to divert $910 million tax dollars promised from TxDOT, to shift Austin public highways like 183, 290E, 290W, 71E and 71W, into toll roads.

But soon after the CAMPO toll vote last October, TxDOT cried wolf and said they didn't have the $910 million, that CAMPO would need to find the tax dollars themselves, since CAMPO would benefit from the revenue generation scheme of tolling freeways. I wrote about this flair up between Sen. Watson and Ric Williamson in December HERE.

A reliable source now says all or most of the MPO's in the state have coordinated and produced a similar letter to Sen. Kirk Watson's. I would guess that it was Watson's idea to coordinate, since he's been trying to wrestle tax dollars from TxDOT for freeway toll roads for months.

The letter from Sen. Watson (CAMPO), dated 3/24/08, to TxDOT includes these interesting lines, exposing that TxDOT is hiding money:
"It is my understanding that TxDOT has accumulated a balance of Transportation Development Credits approaching $110,000,000, and that these credits are available."

" ...(these) credits are eligible to be used as the 20 percent local match..."

"...with the state producing additional credits every year."
This ongoing toller vs. toller battle over our tax dollars has slowed the process of shifting our freeways to tollways. You could call it a slow dance of thieves, or a negotiation over which pot of money to divert tax dollars from. It's all the same unaccountable crap.

6 Cities Were Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For Profit

by The National Motorists Association:

Short yellow light times at intersections have been shown to increase the number of traffic violations and accidents. Conversely, increasing the yellow light duration can dramatically reduce red-light violations at an intersection.

Some local governments have ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead.

Learn about the 6 cities that have been caught with short yellow light times over the past few years, CLICK HERE.

CAMPO Board Member speaks out: It's a Taxation Plan, NOT a Congestion Plan

CAMPO board member Jeff Mills (City of Sunset Hills Council member) reveals that the new tolls which will shift our freeways to tollways in Austin, which Sen. Kirk Watson pushed and voted for, do NOT deal with the most congested areas of Central Texas.

Mills explained that 80% of the most congested areas in the region are not addressed with the toll plan in his speech in October, 2007. The toll lobby had been selling the toll plan as a congestion relief solution, when in fact, it's a taxation plan.

"These (toll) projects do nothing for the main points of congestion," Mills said, noting that the Texas Department of Transportation had made it clear that it was only interested in toll roads. "There are sufficient funds for non-tolled roads."


H-O-R-S-E - - - S-H-I-T!

Look at this pile of dung served up by the Austin Business Journal (I added the links):

"Seattle officials come to Austin looking for transportation lessons-learned

Facing transportation challenges of their own, a group of almost 100 Seattle Chamber of Commerce delegates will visit Austin on March 28 to talk about how Central Texas is coping with traffic congestion and trying to generate revenue to fund transportation projects.

The group will take part in a panel discussion, "Tackling Traffic: The Culture of Tolling and Regional Governance" with Texas Sen. Kirk Watson, CTRMA Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein and Ed Pensock, director of corridor systems for the Texas Deparment of Transportations's Turnpike Authority division."

Another "391 Commission" Formed In Grimes County?

On the 20th, I wrote about the first "391 Commission", and how it's a new tool to stop the TTC.

It looks like Grimes County is considering one as well, according to the Navasota Examiner.

'San Juanistas' claim ultimate victory

San Juan, Texas activists known as the San Juanistas say they have achieved the ultimate victory. Having successfully fought off attempts to have a toll road foist upon them, they and city leaders broke ground Tuesday on a massive retail development where the toll project would have gone. The 32-acre San Juan Corners development will boost the city's tax base. A toll road would have blighted the city, said San Juan Mayor San Juanita Sanchez (who I met with in 2005), leader of the San Juanistas.

Read about it here in the Rio Grande Guardian

Sen. Steve Ogden and Special Interest Pals Push Multi Billion Toll Pension Scheme!


So, you thought our Texas muddy government waters of massive diversions and special interests skimming off privatization deals couldn't get worse? Think again.

Investment bankers, TxDOT and the unaccountable toll tax loving Senator Steve Ogden, the Senate Finance Chairman, are pushing for a radical plan to intermingle state pension funds and unaccountable toll roads - as they drool over the $130 Billion dollars in the state pension fund.

From the Houston Chronicle:

"Investment bankers and a state highway official Tuesday told legislators the state's two largest pension funds should consider investing some of their $130 billion in holdings into building toll roads in Texas."
Thomas Osborne of the UBS Investment Bank was there with his hand out for some Billion dollar crumbs. Ogden's historical love affair with special interests who seek public subsidies and toll tax revenue goes way back.

Sen. Ogden was a Co-sponsor of Krusee's HB 3588
(which made it legal to steal our roads and land - freeway tolls/TTC). Ogden is also a former CAMPO board member who voted to divert our tax dollars to shift our Austin freeways to tollways in 2004 and 2005.

Ogden also supports creating more levels of bureaucratic government so our tax dollars can get lost in the shuffle even faster. More on all this shameful scheme from QuorumReport.com today:

Chairman Steve Ogden said using pension funds to invest in Texas roads a win-win but other Senators sound cautionary notes; Senators also cautioned that funds' focus on high rates of return need to be balanced with risk management.

A joint Senate panel tossed around today a novel way of paying for more roads – getting pension funds to invest in new projects. And to give the discussion an added twist, Senators were also asked to consider creating a new quasi-public entity that would funnel pension fund money from Texas and elsewhere into new road projects."
And from Sen. Odgen's (steve.ogden@senate.state.tx.us) Op-Ed in the Austin American Statesman yesterday:
"...I want to explore the possibility of investing a portion of our state's trust funds (i.e., Employees Retirement System, Teachers Retirement System, Permanent School Fund, Permanent University Fund) in TxDOT toll projects."


Toller/Gunman Seeking Re-election

A reliable source says the former Vice Chair of CAMPO, that we defeated in 2006 for his vote to toll our Austin freeways, is once again running to be Mayor of West Lake Hills.

See the story about his arrest below - that I posted in 7/2006:

Toller Dwight Thompson
Arrested for trying to board
a plane with a .38-caliber handgun.

Dwight Thompson, former Co-Chair of CAMPO and Westlake Hills Mayor was Arrested Friday for trying to board a plane with a handgun.

Police at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport arrested former mayor Dwight Thompson, Friday morning who had a LOADED .38-caliber handgun at a checkpoint, said Jim Halbrook, an airport spokesman.

Dwight Dallas Thompson, who lost his seat because of his vote to toll already funded roads, was charged with possession of a firearm, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Thompson was arrested at 5:27 a.m. while going through a checkpoint to board a plane, Halbrook said.

Thompson was release from Travis County Jail at lunchtime Friday after a bail bond was put forward.

30 Day Extension for TTC-69 Comments

The Texas Department of Transportation gave a 30-day extension of the public comment period for the Interstate-69/Trans-Texas Corridor today. Texans can submit comments online at keeptexasmoving.com.

TxDOT accused of hiding information on 290 project

Required environmental study could cause major delays

TxDOT has been hiding information it knew would lead to major delays in completion of the Hwy. 290 project, say members of Fix290 and the Save Our Springs Alliance.

At community forum meetings last summer, TxDOT claimed that the Fix290 parkway proposal would require a new environmental impact study while their design would not. Now it appears TxDOT knew all along that all of the options they were presenting needed an additional environmental impact study.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) had requested that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) complete a Supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in part because of the controversy over the project and in part because the original document is 20 years old.

In all likelihood, this means a major delay of at least two years in the completion of the Hwy. 290 project at the “Y” in Oak Hill.

The November 30, 2007 letter from FHWA District Engineer Salvador Deocampo, said, “Currently, on the west side of the project from FM 1826 to Williamson Creek, TxDOT has been working on a reevaluation of the project. The reevaluation was commenced to address changes in design which include consideration of additional alternatives including a reduction in the overall footprint of the segment and to toll the mainlanes. This reevaluation would also assess environmental issues such as endangered species, Mobile Source Air Toxics, noise impacts, etc., not previously studied in the original EIS and approved in the 1988 ROD [Record of Decision]. The project has generated some controversy as is expressed in public statements by the Fix290 neighborhood group, the Save Our Springs Alliance (SOSA) environmental group and several anti-tolling groups.”

The letter was discovered by SOSA when officials made a Freedom of Information request. Andrew Hawkins, staff attorney for SOSA, told the Gazette, “Yes, we (SOSA) sent a FOIA request to FHWA and turned up this letter. Public information laws are a crucial part of the democratic process, as they give people a way to hold our government accountable for its actions, all the more important to take note of during this Sunshine Week. But certainly it should not take a FOIA request to FHWA to find out what's going with the TxDOT's schedule and plans for the 290 project.”

March 16-22 is Sunshine Week, a campaign by the media to push for an open and accountable government.

TxDOT did not respond to a request about whether the requested SEIS will delay the project. Said Hawkins, “When TxDOT presented the matrix of new alternatives last year, they estimated 48 months for an SEIS. They have some amount of time allotted in the current schedule for reevaluation that could be used for the SEIS, but we're still looking at a substantial delay.”

Steve Beers, a member of the Fix290 Coalition that wanted a parkway instead of a multi-level roadway, told the Gazette, “In the mediation sessions [last summer to encourage Oak Hill groups to pick the best design for 290], TxDOT claimed a SEIS for their so-called ‘parkway’ — Option 5 — would take 48 months. Since I think they were exaggerating then in order to push their tolled and elevated plan, I think the true reality is closer to one or two years. But who knows? It probably depends on their funding, and the reluctance with which they approach the work. If they drag their feet, or produce biased studies, there may be further delays and possibly even legal trouble.”

Carol Cespedes, spokesperson for Fix290, told the Gazette, “Last summer TxDOT made the claim that the Fix290 parkway proposal would require a new EIS while their design would not. I wonder how much longer people will believe TxDOT's statements when they are not only mistaken, but try to conceal their mistakes from the public.”

Read the rest of the report HERE.


Surveillance video update

FYI: I received the surveillance video from the city, you know, the one of Mayor Wynn choking the citizen (see posts below) It is so dark, nothing can be seen, so I won't be posting it on youtube. I watched it 5 times and can't see jack.


Clint Eastwood gets Fired for Opposing Gov. Schwarzenegger's Toll Road!

WTF? Sneaky politicos who claim they oppose Taxes - sure do LOVE unaccountable Toll Taxes!

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
terminated his own brother-in-law, Bobby Shriver, and actor-director Clint Eastwood, from a state parks commission where both had served since before Schwarzenegger took office. The two oppose a Schwarzenegger-backed plan to build a toll road through a state park. Shriver said Thursday that the governor's decision was a surprise to both of them says Fox News.

Another TxDOT Scheme To Get More of Your Money

Gov. Perry's TxDOT, the evil fuckers who ignore the public, toll our tax funded roads and steal our land for foreign profits, has found yet another scam to take money from your family. TxDOT hands out our scarce tax dollars to local law enforcement agencies across Texas, to pay overtime to officers, so they can write more traffic tickets, so TxDOT can profit. The revenue scheme is called the "Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grants". Really, that's the real name.

Here's how it works in 3 EZ steps.

1) TxDOT gives your tax dollars to the local police.

2) Your tax dollars pay for more traffic writing ticket hours.

3) TxDOT takes $100 "off the top" of each ticket written.

Will this rogue agency ever stop? More from the Dallas Blog:
"...What the state agency seems to be more concerned with is how many more tickets are being written. Section 8 of its grant application indicates that a city’s or county’s past "performance" on enforcement will be considered in future grant requests from this organ of your state government.

Interesting – anyone care to venture a guess why?

Most taxpayers aren’t aware that almost all of the first hundred dollars paid by an individual who is cited for a speeding infraction goes to the state.
The remainder goes to the city or county. So an organ of the state, TxDOT, gives a grant to a local law enforcement organization to cover overtime pay for officers in order to write more speeding tickets, and the state receives the lion’s share of the first hundred dollars collected on each and every speeding ticket. That grant sounds more like a business loan to me. This deal becomes quite a potential moneymaker for the state as well as the ticket-issuing cities and counties.

Couple this with the fact that the enabling legislation for the Trans-Texas Corridor contains language that could result in a special police organization being formed to regulate traffic and enforce law in the corridor, and TxDOT’s foray into influencing local departments becomes more interesting. Is this a window into how a new TTC special police would be run? It appears TxDOT and your state would like to extract money from motorists coming and going. Do we live in Texas or "Taxus"?

Report Urges Tolling Every Road Leading to Washington

By TheNewspaper.com

Local government officials in the Washington, DC area released a plan yesterday calling for the addition of toll booths to every road leading to the nation's capital. Federal gas tax funding worth $300,000 was used to pay for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments study which took eighteen months to complete.

Read the whole article HERE


Texas Farm Bureau: “TxDOT’s Draft Environmental Impact Study will not withstand judicial scrutiny”

According to the Texas Farm Bureau’s comments in a Southwest Farm Press article:

"the failure of the DEIS to consider the environmental impact of using existing rights-of-way–rather than a single minded focus on building a completely new route–means the study could not hold up in court. Current law and actual practice in the only other state, Indiana, to file a DEIS on the massive interstate project dictate that existing rights-of-way be considered. Indiana’s DEIS did, in fact, consider existing rights-of-way.

Read the whole of the article HERE

ACTION ITEM: Take the Central Texas Regional Growth Survey

Please take 5 minutes to fill out this online Central Texas Regional Growth Survey HERE (under "Whats on your mind").

On #13: Please comment on the proliferation of the coming toll roads, where portions of 71w, 71E, 183, 290e and 29ow will be shifted to toll roads. Something like, "Our tax dollars should not be diverted to shift portions of our public highways to tollways!"

New Tool to Stop Gov. Perry's TTC Land Grab.

There is no one silver bullet to stop the TTC land grab or the shift of our public highways to tollways. But, like a carpenter finding a wrench for the first time, we've got another way to bog down Gov. Rick Perry's highway henchmen (TxDOT).

It's called CHAPTER 391. REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSIONS, and it's found in Texas law.

Here's the kicker. From what I understand, it looks like any local elected officials, from any part of the state, can form a commission to ask TxDOT and the feds questions, which can help bog down the TTC. Start talking to your elected officials and to get additional commissions started today!

Anyone interested in learning how to form a 391 Commission to require TxDot to Coordinate the TTC with their local community needs to read the article prepared by attorney Fred Kelly Grant titled "The Creation of the Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission" on our website a www.stewards.us. This is the most complete explanation of how easy it is to form a Commission, and how effective it can be.

Here's a great article from the Houston Chronicle today:

Putting up a roadblock of questions

Houston Chronicle

LUFKIN — Mae Smith, the 64-year-old mayor of the teeny Central Texas town of Holland, seized the civic center lectern like a dragon-slayer ascending the throne.

In a fiery red pantsuit and a voice that echoed without the help of a malfunctioning microphone, she and her cohorts revealed to a crowd of about 50 souls clad in denim and plaid a little-known weapon against the foe of all in the room: Gov. Rick Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor.

The weapon, Smith said, doesn't involve marching on the Texas Capitol, like more than 1,000 did last year, some on tractors and horses. It doesn't involve clever Web sites that have been launched with cartoon characters and screaming rainbow text. And it doesn't involve confronting TxDOT big shots at public hearings across the state, like thousands did last year.

No, the mighty sword revealed by Smith is something called the Eastern Central Sub-Regional Planning Commission.

"It's a mouthful," Smith acknowledged quickly of the bureaucratically nebulous name. "You ought to try saying it with a lisp."

Re-conquest of Texas

Smith insists that such a commission is the best way for rural communities to empower themselves and fight the massive highway-tollway-rail project, slated to cover 4,000 miles, cost up to $183 billion and take a half-century to build.

The corridor, pitched by TxDOT as the answer to Texas' urban traffic crisis, is perceived by many rural folks as a land grab, an assault on rural life, the Spanish re-conquest of Texas by the Madrid-based company Cintra, which won the first contract.

But since Smith and three other mayors of nearby towns in Bell County formed their nine-member commission in August, they've already had an influence on the process.

Just since October, several representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation have traveled to Holland — population 1,180 — to meet with Smith and her cohorts, not once, but twice, to discuss citizens' concerns over the project. The most recent chat lasted four hours.

The fine folks of the Environmental Protection Agency paid a visit in January.

"They wouldn't be coming to us if they didn't have to and if a law wasn't on the books saying they had to," Smith said.

The law to which Smith is referring is found in Chapter 391 of the Texas Local Government Code. Strengthened in 2001, the provision requires state agencies, "to the greatest extent feasible," to coordinate with local commissions to "ensure effective and orderly implementation of state programs at the regional level."

In other words, the law may require TxDOT officials to sit in a room for hours, months, years, maybe even decades, as members of the Eastern Central Sub-Regional Planning Commission dwell on how the corridor might affect their water lines, EMS response times and any unforeseeable impact on their rural way of life.

ECSRPC commissioners plan to prolong the "coordination" process until, as Smith puts it, "they do it right or change their mind. I have no time limit, honey."

Read the rest of the article HERE.



Tollers claim new managed lanes (tolls) on MoPAC will lessen traffic congestion. How will this be done? By charging up to $1.00 a mile, and pricing people out of their cars - like the managed lanes in California (Hwy 91) see the photo above. Note how managed lanes create traffic congestion.

Under the guise of “managed lanes”, the plan to toll Austin's existing Mopac (Loop 1) Expressway is underway. What makes these tolls unique, as well as most new Texas tollways, is that the toll you pay does not pay for the road you are driving on. The new toll lanes are already paid for.

The construction for new Mopac toll lanes are 100% tax funded and the right of way is 100% tax funded. These new lanes could and should be open as free lanes.

The managed lanes create more gridlock as people try to cross over 3 lanes to enter and cross over 3 lanes to exit the center managed/toll lanes!

So who voted to toll these MoPAC lanes we’ve already paid for?

WHO VOTED FOR THE "MOPAC DOUBLE TAX"? According to CAMPO, the vote took place in January of 2004:

Brewster "Double Tax" McCracken, Austin Council Member
(Brewster is expected to run for Mayor next year!)
Mike Krusee, State Representative
Mark Strama, State Representative
Bob Daigh, TxDOT District Engineer
Dawnna Dukes, State Representative
Dan Gattis, State Representative
Will Wynn, Austin Mayor
Gerald Daugherty, County Commissioner (1 of SLEAZY 6!)
and others.

These double taxers keep voting to toll roads we’ve already paid for and they star in this online movie.

Send this article to others you know by
clicking on the envelope icon below.

Mexican official says NAFTA includes superhighways

'Transportation linking the United States,
Mexico and Canada is key to the future'

By Jerome R. Corsi, WorldNetDaily

While President Bush and other U.S. officials have derided fears of a NAFTA superhighway as merely conspiracy theory, a Mexican transportation expert contends the trade agreement includes plans for a network of international ship, rail and truck connections to deliver consumer goods from China and the Far East to Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.

"Transportation linking the United States, Mexico and Canada is key to the future of NAFTA," Eduardo Aspero, president of the Mexican Intermodal Association, told a recent luncheon sponsored by the Free Trade Alliance San Antonio.

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Obama's Speech: 'A More Perfect Union'

Read the transcript here. Comments on Barack Obama's speech from the media:

From Political Wire:

Sen. Barack Obama's speech on race this morning showed off exactly why he's become the Democratic front runner for the presidential nomination. He's absolutely willing to challenge the conventional way of how politicians approach controversy. In my opinion, it was the best speech so far in this campaign.
From the Dallas Morning News:
Obama's speech will go down in history as one of the best modern speeches about America's ongoing racial divide and the failure to address the roots of it.
From Time:
An extraordinary speech — not because of any rhetorical flourishes, but because it was honest, frank, measured in tone, inclusive and hopeful… [Obama] clearly demonstrated today his capacity to lead public opinion and not simply be a slave to it. Indeed, I would say he appeared wise beyond his years and genuinely presidential.

Sen. Kirk Watson Thinks You're a Peon.

Yup, little ol Kirk Watson is at it again. That weasle Watson hates transparency, and he loves back room deals (far from the accountable eyes of the public).

This week Sen. Watson, as chair of CAMPO, is having "closed door" meetings to hand pick a new director of CAMPO. And, the pesky public is certainly NOT invited. From the Statesman:

"Six semi-finalists to lead the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization are spending the afternoon in closed-door interviews with the CAMPO board’s executive committee."
Sen. Watson loves back room deals.

From the million dollar deal Watson made with Intel as Mayor, to diverting our tax dollars to toll our Austin freeways. Watson hates when the "little people" (that's you and I) get in the way of his business dealings. He's just better than you and me.

You could send him an email to complain, but he's known for not responding to peons like you.


Private Toll Road Uses Public Money

By TheNewspaper.com

Texas toll road touted as the private sector alternative to traditional public financing of roads is in fact being partially funded with taxpayer dollars. US Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced Monday that the SH 130 toll road would be financed with a $430 million federal government loan to the Spanish company Cintra and Zachry American Infrastructure, the companies that will own the road and collect fees and fines from motorists.

"We're helping give this project the push it needs so commuters can experience less congestion, shippers less delays and the region less headaches," Peters said in a statement Monday.

Although exact loan terms were not available, similar construction projects commonly feature easy repayment terms at or near below-market rates. Texas Toll Party founder Sal Costello suggested that it is no coincidence that Cintra won from the state a deal to build the $1.3 billion toll road. Calling it a "revolving door" Costello pointed out that Texas Governor Rick Perry's former top legislative liaison, Dan Shelley, has close ties to both Perry and Cintra. Shelley first worked for Cintra, then Perry, then Cintra again. According to state filings, Shelley expects to receive up to $150,000 from Cintra for his lobbying efforts this year.

Read the whole article HERE.


Hillary Clinton: Questions on Iraq

Hillary Clinton Fibbing about her "Experience"

I know, your shocked. Here is a great Huffington Post article on how Hillary Clinton has been lying about her experience. It's called, "Bill's Ex-Counsel: Hillary Is "Misleading The American Public""

Toll Road Legal Work Goes to Law Firm of Governor

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, also known as "Fast Eddie", has been working hard behind the scenes, just like Gov. Rick Perry, to toll tax our public highways.

Diverting tax dollars to toll our freeways (a massive subsidy for contributors) is the latest double tax scam for old school politicians like Rendell and others. Profiteer Rendell is handing millions in legal work to his fat cat contributors (and former law firm) according to TheNewspaper.com:

"Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) has handed his former law firm millions in payment for legal work on plans to toll Interstate 80 and privatize the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Over a period of about a year, the law firm Ballard, Spahr, Andrews and Ingersoll has collected $2 million, according to invoices obtained by yardbird.com. Rendell decided that the law firm where he worked as a partner from 2000 to 2002 was better suited to the job, rather than use the seventy lawyers on staff at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Rendell fundraisers became big winners in the toll road deal. Kenneth M. Jarin, co-chairman of Rendell's re-election campaign, billed the state $24,703.15 for forty-six hours of work with Ballard Spahr. The payment was approved by Pennsylvania State Treasurer Robin L. Wiessmann, who also happens to be Jarin's wife.

Ballard Spahr also happens to be one of Rendell's biggest campaign donors. Since 2001, the firm has given $456,839 to Rendell's campaign committee. So far, attempts to turn Interstate 80 into a toll road have stalled as opposition from members of Congress has blocked Rendell's plan."
Gov. Rendell has been pushing the special interest candidate, Hillary Clinton for weeks, as the Pennsylvania state primary creeps up next month. Rendell hopes to round out Hillary's corruption ticket with a spot as VP.

Dallas Tollers to convert SH 161 and tax dollars into Goose that Lays Golden Egg.

Everything else takes priority when it comes to special interests gobbling up tax dollars. This football stadium freeway toll road is a top priority for Dallas porkers.

SH 161 is a public highway that was always intended to have a free expressway. But special interests love public subsidies, especially one that creates a monopolistic unaccountable daily toll tax. The cost of the right of way is unknown, but it's certainly part of the freeway to tollway corporate welfare scheme.
And don't forget, "$200 million in local funds" = your tax dollars.

Building of toll road fast-tracked

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

How important is the construction of the Texas 161 toll road for traffic flow at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington?

Important enough for Dallas-Fort Worth planners to gamble more than $200 million in local funds to get the project under way. That will improve the odds that the road will be partly open by the 2009 football season, the Cowboys' first at the stadium, and mostly complete by the 2011 Super Bowl.

Read the rest of the story HERE.


Hillary Clinton says that special interest "Lobbyists represent real americans".

U.S. gas prices hit record, head to $4 a gallon

Read the whole San Antonio Express article:

"U.S. gas prices, averaging a record $3.28 a gallon today, are on pace to reach $4 a gallon this spring, says a federal agency known for conservative estimates."
And make sure you read the 2006 SA Express article, "Gas-price impact on toll roads feared".

Cintra using loan from U.S. to build segments of TTC

Cintra gets a low interest loan from the feds to build segments 5 and 6 of SH-130 (primer for the TTC).

Read the whole article from Landline Magazine:

"Officials with the Spanish toll road operator Cintra have announced that the company has secured $430 million in loans from the U.S. government to build and operate two segments of a toll road in central Texas."


"OOIDA Senior Government Affairs Representative Mike Joyce told Land Line that the Association does raise red flags when federal dollars are used to subsidize private investors. Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are not, however, categorically opposed to a state using future toll revenue to pay off bonds.

“I’m skeptical of any funding schemes that involve the private sector,” Joyce said."


Gov. Perry/Cintra Billion Dollar Inside Man

Gov. Rick Perry's Transportation Advisor and lobbyist rehired by Cintra.

Now that the new deal for SH 130 (TTC Primer) was just signed, its important for people to know this "Perry Inside Man" story. This Dallas News article from 2006, tells the story about how the revolving door spurs profits for the special interests and undermines the voice of the public. I' think it's time for the press to give us an updated article on the Perry/Shelly/Cintra Connection. According to state filings, Shelley expects to receive up to $150,000 from Cintra for his lobbying efforts this year.

Trans-Texas firm hires ex-Perry aide
He worked before for company that won bid for transit corridor

August 18, 2006
The Dallas Morning News

Once again, Gov. Rick Perry's former liaison to the Legislature is working for the Spanish company that won the rights to develop the $7 billion Trans-Texas Corridor.

Lobbyist Dan Shelley worked for the firm as a consultant just before he went to the governor's office, a connection first revealed in 2004. State officials denied any connection between that circumstance and the decision, three months later, to award Cintra the huge highway contract. Now, Mr. Shelley has left the governor's office, and he and his daughter have large contracts to lobby for the road builder.

This week, Mr. Shelley had planned to take four state lawmakers – including two Dallas-area senators – on a four-day, all-expense-paid trip to Canada. But the trip was abruptly postponed after The Dallas Morning News asked questions about it.

A call to Mr. Shelley seeking comment was returned by an Austin spokeswoman for Madrid-based Cintra, who said that Mr. Shelley's contract with the company prohibits him from discussing his work with reporters.

Spokeswoman Rossanna Salazar confirmed that Mr. Shelley was helping to arrange the fact-finding trip to visit a Cintra toll road near Toronto.

"Dan Shelley was going to cover those costs" for the lawmakers' expenses, Ms. Salazar said. "He would have had to publicly report those costs to the Texas Ethics Commission."

Though the payment of trip expenses by Cintra would have been legal, companies stand to gain by having lawmakers' undivided attention for several days, said Tom "Smitty" Smith, director of Public Citizen of Texas, a watchdog group. Lawmakers should use their campaign funds for such expenses, Mr. Smith said.

"That's preferable from taking money from corporations that stand to make billions in the continuation of this Trans-Texas Corridor project," he said.

Mr. Shelley resigned his state job in September and struck a lobbying deal with Cintra worth between $50,000 and $100,000 to work from March through the end of this year. In addition, his daughter and lobbying partner, Jennifer Shelley-Rodriguez, will earn between $25,000 and $50,000 from the company over the same period, state records show.

The Trans-Texas Corridor is Mr. Perry's vision for a statewide network of toll roads, rail lines and utility lines to improve transportation for the next 50 years. Cintra won the development rights in 2004 to the first corridor section that will parallel Interstate 35E.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Ledge Tells Perry's TxDOT to Use Bonds for Roads - Perry Says No, We'll Just Toll Everything

From the Statesman yesterday:

"The short letter — signed by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Tom Craddick, Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden and House Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum — recommends that TxDOT borrow another $1.5 billion against future gas tax revenue to bridge a temporary financial tight spot."
Perry rejects Dewhurst/Craddick suggestion as a 'two-year stopgap.' Read the Statesman article HERE.

Article from 1999 Reveals The Clintons, NAFTA and Global Special Interest Pals

A closer look into Bill Clinton, and since she wants to take credit for the good stuff - Hillary Clinton

by Hightower Lowdown:

"Last year in Paris a bunch of guys in suits met secretly to draft a document they called 'the constitution of a single global economy.' We called it 'NAFTA on steroids'-a stealth, ONE WORLD, WDI plan for a rogue world government. Their scheme was so butt- ugly that it couldn't stand the light of day, and thanks to grass- roots exposure and agitation, the suits have had to back away from any direct presentation of their 11 global constitution,' which they called the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI)."

"But every one of these trade agreements and structures rips more economic and political power out of our hands and conveys it on a silver platter to the elite club of international speculators, powerhouse bankers, corporate jefes, and other hustlers—men with smiling lips and squinting hearts."
Read the whole article HERE.


The Muckraker: In a Nutshell (and an Invitation)

I got active in my community in 2002.

An attorney friend, Bill Gammon, and myself teamed up to give our community control of our Home Owner Association - for the first time since it began the 1980's. It all began when the developer controlled board refused to give residents information we had a right to see. Then they refused to let a candidate on the ballot. And then they played dirty and pulled down our signs (I captured the theft on tape and was able to get it on the local TV stations - we won the election). After many months of hard work, we got rid of the old special interest board which comprised of developer Gary Bradley cronies.

As many of you know, I created AustinTollParty.com in 2004, and then TexasTollParty.com in 2005 after Gov. Perry/TxDOT began talking about shifting our public highways to tollways. And I helped Terri Hall get her start with the San Antonio Toll Party. In that time, together, we've gotten a lot accomplished.

Over the years, some folks have asked me if I was an attorney, perhaps because of the great advice I've gotten from my attorney friends.

I'm not a lawyer. I'm a Creative Director. I've had my own business, Costello & Company for about 15 years. I basically help my clients sell more of their products and services though strategic advertising, smart marketing and thought provoking design.

I'm telling you all this because I'm excited about something I finished recently. I want to invite you to visit the brand new Costello & Company website. You can see a snapshot of it above. Shoot me an email, and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Bill "Bilderberg" Clinton Heckled Again

From CNN:

A young man then started shouting at the former president, repeating "1991 Bilderberg." After a moment or two, Clinton stopped trying to speak over him and acknowledged the heckler.

"Look, this is the deal, folks," he said. "All these people that are paranoid about the world come and scream at me everywhere."

The man said that if Clinton heard him out, he'd leave, so Clinton did so. But as he shouted about Bilderberg, NAFTA and the Trans-Texas Corridor, the crowd drowned him out with boos.

Eventually, Clinton rather calmly addressed the remarks of the heckler...

He said he did attend the 1991 conference of global players at the invitation of Vernon Jordan. "To the best of my knowledge, NAFTA was not discussed by anybody in my presence," he said. "I was talking to people who happen to be from Europe who did not give a rip about NAFTA."

Clinton then gave a general defense of his role in NAFTA, saying he tried to get labor and environmental standards into that agreement, "but I couldn't because it was already negotiated when I got there." He also said that as president, he enforced trade laws more than the current Bush administration has.

Bill Clinton, the other half of Hillary Clinton, didn't comment on the Trans Texas Corridor or the NAFTA Superhighway.

Analysts says $200 a barrel is possible.

Goldman Sachs analysts predicted the $105 a barrel in 2005 when it was at $55. The same Goldman analysts now say a major disruption could spike oil to $200 a barrel. That's about double the cost of the high price of oil today.

A $2 rise in oil prices will cost US consumers $280M next week, says oil and stock expert Philip Davis. The Bush/McCain War in Iraq is now costing $12.5 Billion dollars a month. THAT is why we get our freeways shifted to toll ways.

The Bush/Clinton Economic Meltdown...is Coming

The George Bush and Bill Clinton failures on Oil dependence is coming home to roost. Hey Hillary Clinton, will you take responsibility for dropping that ball - as part of your 35 years of experience? Gas costs are now going though the roof, and there’s no going back. Oil is at a record high, about $110 a barrel.

The costs of all food, goods and services are about to skyrocket, while China and India gobble up more oil than ever expected - the economic meltdown is coming.

Some call it “Peak Oil”.

Imagine the added cost of Gov. Perry's and Sen. Watson's overinflated tolls added to our freeways, so their special interest pals can continue to profit, while our famalies keep paying more.

From the Washington Post:

“...."We're hurting in this thing, and it doesn't look like there's any end of it," said Ralph Bombardiere, executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops. "It looks like it's heading to $4" a gallon.

Bombardiere, who said members of his group of small service stations
were having trouble raising pump prices fast enough to keep up with rising wholesale costs, added: "As the price goes up, it becomes a concern for us. We're the last line. We're the guys you face."

An opinion poll conducted in early February by the Pew Research Center
for the People and the Press showed that 35 percent of Americans named the rising price of gasoline as the economic issue that worried them most. In the same poll, 60 percent of those surveyed said it was "difficult" for their families to afford gasoline. Since the poll was completed, retail gasoline prices have risen 24.7 cents a gallon.

The prices of other petroleum products are also soaring. Diesel fuel,
usually cheaper than gasoline, is now more expensive. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said the average U.S. price of diesel was $3.819 a gallon in the week ending yesterday, up 53.9 cents in just four weeks. Heating-oil prices are also at all-time highs, up more than a dollar a gallon over the past year.