City Council endorses tolls by giving $49,000 in YOUR tax money to Joe Krier's SAMCo

Yesterday, the City Council officially jumped on the pro-toll bandwagon by allocating yet more money to the San Antonio Mobility Coalition (SAMCo). Read the WOAI radio report here or see story at the bottom.

My comments on the outrageous claim that funding the tolling authority does not equal an endorsement of toll roads is below:

Money is tantamount to support. NO politician is courageous enough to say they’re FOR toll roads. Instead they resort to these inane statements like “we have no other choice” or try to deceive the public by denying that giving $49,000 to SAMCo (a group of 70 private companies who stand to profit off of toll roads and/or the highway slush fund it’ll bring in) isn’t an endorsement of tolls. SAMCo’s own web site explicitly states “the Regional Mobility Authority will build, operate, and maintain newly created toll projects within a designated area.” That ought to settle it in the minds of residents, your City Council just endorsed toll roads and they have yet to deal with the illegal $500,000 loan they gave to the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority last year (the tolling authority is set-up by the State with board members appointed by the county commissioners). (Read article here.). Does Mr. Perez and the City Council take us for fools? In America, the land of the free, home of the brave, the beacon of light and liberty to the world, it’s an insult to democracy to suggest we can’t come up with ANY choices other than to toll every highway in town!

SA Taxpayers Already Paying Cost of Toll Roads
Council allocates $49k to toll road construction group, says it does not ‘represent an endorsement of toll roads.’

By Jim Forsyth
Friday, March 24, 2006

Not a single mile of toll roads have been built in Bexar County, the concept is still very controversial and is being challenged in court, but San Antonio taxpayers are already paying for a group that helps plan toll roads, whether they like it or not.

San Antonio city council last night allocated $49,000 of your tax money to the San Antonio Mobility Coalition, which ‘advocates for transportation solutions for the San Antonio area,’ including the construction of toll roads.

Councilman Richard Perez, who heads the the Metropolitan Planning Organization, denies that the contribution represents city council’s ‘support’ for toll roads.

“This is just another way that we support the need for additional transportation dollars for the city of San Antonio,” Perez said, adding that the RMA has ‘several other transportation functions.’

But on it’s own web site, in response to a ‘frequently asked question’ about ‘what is a Regional Mobility Authority’, the San Antonio Mobility Coalition responds, “the Regional Mobility Authority will build, operate, and maintain newly created toll projects within a designated area.” It says nothing about ‘other transportation functions.’ A spokesman for the San Antonio Regional Mobility Authority says the web site is ‘outdated’ and ‘should have been upgraded.’

Local transportation groups have come under fire from toll road opponents for rushing toll road construction, and trying to begin work on toll lanes of US 281 between Loop 1604 and Stone Oak Parkway without undergoing the essential environmental impact studies.

1200 WOAI news reported this week that some business groups supporting toll road construction have decided not to call them ‘toll lanes’ any more, opting instead for the expression ‘express lanes.’

The San Antonio Mobility Coalition has also advocated for improved rail and other transportation efforts.