2004 Original Plan for Hwy 281

Here is the original improvement plan TxDOT was showing in public meetings for neighborhoods along the Hwy 281 corridor for the last 6 years. This is the plan that was thrown in the trash pile and repackaged into the proposed toll plans for the region. Note the “letting dates” of 2003 and 2004 for the improvements at Redland Rd., Evans Rd., Stone Oak Pkwy., and Borgfeld Rd. – all bottle-necks today. Had this plan not been trashed, the improvements would be DONE today! The ORIGINAL cost for the first 3 mile stretch was only $48 million, now as a tollway the cost is $83 million ($77 million in gas taxes, $6 million in utility relocation costs). See the article with the new price tag as a TOLLWAY in print here.

In fact, since that article was published, TxDOT District Engineer David Casteel admitted at the Bandera Road Toll Road Debate May 17, 2006, that the entire ORIGINAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN all the way to the Bexar County line is 100% paid for! If you look carefully, the original plan for all 8 miles to the Bexar County line was $100 million. In this audio clip from the debate, Casteel admits there’s $100 million available in YOUR GAS TAXES RIGHT NOW to build the improvements on 281. The proof: TxDOT has the funds RIGHT NOW!! He reiterated that TxDOT has $100 million RIGHT NOW to build improvements to 281 during a Radio Debate on KSLR AM 630 on August 31, 2006.

0 Replies to “2004 Original Plan for Hwy 281”

  1. Harvey Hild

    I wish you people would stop trying to cram the toll roads down our throat. The people have spoke. We do not want toll roads.

  2. Gary Macdecy

    What about Encino Rio and Bulverde roads. Bulverde is between Borgfeld and Stone Oak roads and to leave the current traffic light there and not put in an overpass kinda defeats the purpose. The light at Encino Rio is a definite bottleneck traveling north between 4:00-7:00PM, Mon-Fri and south between 6:00-9:00AM. I cast my vote for Mr. Macias in the Tues. primary and will vote for anyone but Perry in the Gov.’s race.

  3. jim hartman

    I am a resident of Bulverde and one of those optomistic people who attended those TxDOT community meetings of 2003-2004. We were briefed that the funding for 281 improvements from 1604 to Stoneoak Parkway were approved and available. This included lane additions,access roads and overpasses at Evans Rd and Stoneoak Parkway. Also an additional overpass at Borgfeld Rd was to be constructed ASAP with funds accessed via a fund set up to deal with identified “hot spots” i.e. numerous fatal vehicle accidents. Further they stated that funding for 281 improvements from Stoneoak to the Comal county line should become available in the very near future. Several of these meetings were held before the public at various venues. Thousands of citizens heard these plans! Suddenly silence from TxDOT. The next we heard was toll,toll,toll!! What the H**L happened? Thanks for listening.

  4. Lee Fox

    Toll roads are one more way, along with Washington “tax cuts”, which make the rich richer and the lower and middle class poorer.

  5. Brad Cutler

    In reference to the comments left above, dittos on what Gary Macdecy has said and done to help fight the toll road scheme.

  6. Rohan Corera

    Although the state of Texas has no income tax and if you take all the taxes that Texans pay including inflated property taxes then I wouldn’t doubt if ours aren’t as nearly as high as those folks in California pay. It seems as though the only people that want toll roads, are the politicians, the North Siders and the people that work for toll companies. I am sick and tired of politicians raising taxes every time they get a chance to and not worrying about the poor and needy.
    Here’s and idea for these toll road politicians. Instead of wasting millions of dollars to build a stadium for a professional baseball team, how about using that money to build the roads and help the poor.

  7. Harvey Hild

    Our legislators pulled a slick one on us again. They are trying to tell us that they do not have enough gasoline tax money to build all the roads that is needed in Texas. If they had not raided the gas tax fund there would be enough money to do what is necessary to do the roads needed in this state. It is like the Social Security fund that the Washington folks raided. Now there is not enough money for Social Security. They also did it to us on the lottery tax that was suposed to go toward our schools. They had all the money go into the general fund and now there is not enough money for the schools. They created it now they can fix it.

  8. darren

    it’s sad how the whole system gets abused! these damn politicians get caught up in the game by the lobbyists & illegal games (like kickbacks, etc.) & forgot why they were elected. what happened to the original plan a few years back? why was it scrapped? not enough tax money in your pockets? they’ve seen the growing need in the 281/1604 area & figure the toll road method is a way to make more money to line their pockets! you don’t need toll roads! build overpasses at the intersections where the lights are & you’ll keep the traffic flowing.

  9. Damian Stewart

    What I want to know, now that the “Toll Deal” is inactive for the time being, is how do we revive the old plan and get it going? Seems like all it would take is 6 overpasses and one extra lane to Bulverde to solve the problem!

  10. Linda Smith

    First of all, toll roads have nothing to do with the rich getting richer or the poor getting poorer – it is simple taxation of another kind. In addition, if the tax is really necessary to support this kind of infrastructure, why not tax the parties who are really causing it – the new subdivisions, multifamily housing areas and retail/office spaces? After all, what IS the reason the traffic increases – yes, more cars on the road. Most who are against the toll are those of us who have lived in the Bulverde area for many years and have paid our taxes to support our roads. I knowthis is not a perfect solution either, however it would help to be responsive to the issue BEFORE it gets out of control by addressing it when the real estate developers apply for their numerous permits. I also agree with those who feel the overpasses would solve the majority of the problems and we should at least revert back (and start construction on) the original plans that have been funded prior to the toll road being insidiously inserted, until the funding issue is resolved. Soon, gridlock will be so bad, any construction plan will cost twice as much, since increased traffic will require much more preparation.

  11. Damian Stewart


    I agree with you completely! We really need to get the original plan back in motion. The longer it goes without action, the worse the situation will get. Also, I would hate to see TXDOT somehow turn this around on the people that did the right thing by stopping the 281 plan. I can here them saying a few years from now ” Well, we tried to fix the problem, but we had interference that killed the improvements. The cost have tripled now and the only way to make the project work is by tolling the roads.” Then, we might not have a choice anymore. The State owns the right a way and the design is complete. Surely the money is there!?! What do we need to do to get it moving?

  12. Warren Cook

    What would the traffic flow look like on the 281 from 1604 to Bitters if they had the same stop lights we had on the 281 from 1604 to Evans? It would be a HUGE mess, and certainly require toll roads, I would think. Let’s be fair about this, let’s put traffic lights on the 410, on the 35 – let’s put them everywhere! Then we could put tolls on ALL the traffic in San Antonio. Just think how much money we could make if we tolled the traffic going downtown to work every day. Now we’re talking some real money!

    Naw, never mind. Here’s another idea. I vote for sanity. I vote for fairness. I vote for accountability to the voters who do the jobs, who earn the money, who pay the taxes. Why not, instead of tolls, give us a handful of overpasses north of the 1604? Just for fun, let’s try something obvious.

  13. Roger Satton

    Let’s not leave out the increasing traffic at Hwy.281 and FM 306.According to TXDOT the traffic count on FM 306 well exceeds FM 1863 right now. With more development and a new High School down the road the congestion is only going to get worse.Learn the lesson that Bulverde 46 is experiencing now.

  14. Outback

    Great web site. Thank you for the information. It’s apparent to me that the consortium of construction companies and toll road operators who stand to profit from this couldn’t care less about congestion or those of us who have to live with this mess. They’ve grown entirely too big for their britches and expect the public to bear the cost of making them rich. TTC is an even bigger travesty, with a Republican (in name only) governor advocating a land grab from Texas farmers and ranchers to build his multi billion dollar boondoggle. The bottom line is that I’m through enriching these thieves. If they build it, I won’t use it. Not next week, not next month, not ever. If traffic on the feeders gets too bad, I’ll find a job closer to home. They’re not getting a dime from me. Not one dime.

  15. Wilson

    San Antonio has a great freeway system–for 1995 or earlier. How does so much development occur in the last decade with so little planning to accomodate it? How is there just now an interchange being built at 281/410 and finally an update at 10/410? Loop 1604 is a joke, with its impractically placed ramps at random locations and no room to merge, not to mention its mazes that pass for interchanges at I-10 and I-35, and complete lack of one at 281. 281 North is the most ridiculous of them all, with all its bottlenecking stoplights and turn-around death traps, and absolutely no alternate north/south routes. When you drive 281 North and pass 1604, it’s like traveling back in time, from a simple and efficient freeway to a sea of brake lights. There’s even all kinds of right-of-way cleared for the freeway that was never built that you can look at while you sit at the stop lights. It makes you wonder what happened, because there were obviously plans for such a thing at some time. It also makes you wonder how Comal can put overpasses at 1863 and 46 and Bexar has nothing.
    These developments didn’t all spring up overnight and all these folks move in the next day. Planners had to know which areas were growing and how fast and watched traffic volumes go up over the years, but nothing was ever done. Responsible planning and use of then-available money would likely have prevented the current scenario, before the toll word was introduced as an option (and a forced one at that). And it’s absurd to say “well all the rich folks on the north side should be willing to fork out the money for a toll road”, just like those in higher crime areas should pay higher taxes for more police protection. I drive 281 every day and see way more pickup trucks and work vehicles and school buses than luxury cars, and I myself am a teacher that can ill-afford the cost of tolls, as do the rest of the middle class folks who drive it. If the City of San Antonio is going to continue to annex northward, it has a responsibility to those citizens to help provide safe and viable transportation for them. Since it is in the state’s hands, more pressure needs to be put on the state from local leaders to get it done and stop wasting time and money.

  16. Roger Satton

    According to TXDOT in 2007 there is a letting for widening FM 306 from Mystic Pwy. to FM 484 running East.
    Finally a traffic light is being installed at Hwy. 281 & FM 306,guess what the day they started Construction which was the 12th a accident occured 4 days later a accident happened 1,000 ft. from the interesection on FM 306.A Motorcycle traveling West on FM 306
    lost it around the curve.The hill needs to be excavated. TXDOT is going the wrong way if they are proposing Widening from Mystic Shores to FM 484?

  17. Mel Borel

    I am opposed to converting an existing highway (281 and 1604) to a toll road. The original plan for 281 makes the most economical sense even at this stage. I can’t believe the cost and inconvenience of constructing a toll road on 281 is a better alternative than overpasses at the major intersections.

    If our bureaucratic TXDOT insist on toll roads, let them start from scratch where there is no highway available. Using toll revenues makes some sense to fund a new highway. Economically this can be justified. From an inconvenience standpoint, there is no difference between a toll road and a non-toll road construction.

    A larger issue is how can we, as taxpayers, control what TXDOT does and plans to do? The taxpayers of San Antonio and Bexar County have rejected the issue of toll roads and TXDOT continues to insist on moving forward. Let’s again put this matter to a vote and remove the apparent (real or perceived) authority of TXDOT to tell us what they will do.

  18. Concerned Citizen

    My concern is simple. WHY! The Texas Congress has used TexDot funds for something else. They took money out of our highway taxes and used it for something else. This has been going on for YEARS!
    The concerned citizens need to form a Class Action Suit against the Texas Congress (1985 to Present). They need to write a bill and force the Governor to sign it. This bill would not allow the Texas Congress to remove any money from the TexDot fund without a state wide public vote. It should also include, or separate bill written for the School Tax. The Lotto money was susposed to go to fund schools. It has been taken since the lotto started and used for something else. These legislators need to be held accountable. When they steal money from one fund and use it illeagally for something else, they need to be removed permanantely! They are not doing good for Texans. They are serving their own purposes. THEY NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
    TexDot needs an overhaul. It has turned into another wasteful government group. It needs to be STOPPED in its tracks.

  19. Dorothy

    I think it’s a forgone conclusion that the 281 toll road gets built because state government has all the power and absolutely, positively does not care what the citizens think.

    My solution is to not use the road. Not ever. If we all refuse, the road will fail. For me, it means going to San Antonio far less than I do now. Not only will I save the toll, but also the money I currently spend on gasoline and the sales tax I spend when I get there.

    I’ve heard TxDot and Governor Perry loud and clear. Go to hell is what they’ve told me, told all of us really. No problemo. I may go to hell but I’m afraid that I won’t be going to San Antonio any more, at least not on the yellow brick road.

  20. B.T.

    First, the Constitution says nothing about the Government’s obligation to make the poor as rich as the rich or vice-versa. The Government’s only obligation is the general welfare of the country, and that just means “wellbeing.” So, the government has no business in seeing that everything is perfectly even. That might be equal, but it would not be fair.

    Second, the public has not spoken against toll roads. No votes have been taken either way. A lawsuit is currently holding up any progress on 281 and will continue to do so for the forseeable future.

    Something will have to be done. For the county and state to allow certain development out in that area without the necessary infrastructure to support that development is irresponsible.

    Something needs to be done soon because lesser needed freeways and tollways are being constructed all over this state.

  21. terrih Post author

    TxDOT colluded to break federal in how they conducted the study for the 281 toll road. The citizens’ lawsuit would have been thrown out of court had it not had any merit. We didn’t break the law, TxDOT did. We didn’t do the fraudulent study, TxDOT did. We didn’t nor did the court pull the clearance on 281, the feds did. We didn’t fail to build the promised overpass expansion project in 2003 (that had the funding and clearance), TxDOT did. Don’t shoot the messengers! Concerned citizens have EVERY RIGHT to redress their government for grievances and demand accountability for how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.

    The public HAS weighed-in in every way they’ve been given (they haven’t allowed a public vote). Over 90% of the public feedback for the 281 project said no toll road, just give us the original overpass expansion plan paid for with gas taxes since 2003.

    This project never should have been put in jeopardy. The simple solution to get us all moving again was to listen to the public feedback years ago, drop the ill-conceived conversion of an existing freeway into a tollway, and build the overpasses. Every transportation agency involved as well as tone-deaf politicians have allowed this situation to fester and REFUSED to heed the voice of the taxpayers, REFUSED to sit down and negotiate, REFUSED to the work with the community in any meaningful way.

    Go to http://www.281OverpassesNow.com to read about the ORIGINAL FREEway plan for 281, how it would cost one-tenth the price, make a much smaller footprint, and take less than half the time to build without new toll taxes on economically battered commuters.

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