Toll roads and TTC were a BIG factor in this election…

Link to Express-News article here.

In Driscoll’s article there were inaccuracies…Nathan Macias is from Bulverde and he did have a Democrat and Libertarian challenger. He failed to acknowledge the battle in this race and some of the others was during the primaries, not the general election. We still succeeded in unseating a toller in that district. Also, he used the Texas Toll Party endorsement list not ours locally to judge how we did. On our list 4 of the top 8 won. Thirdly, when nearly every candidate ran as anti-toll, there’s no way to say we didn’t achieve victory.

Also, there was NO acknowledgment that we had NO MONEY and were up against an established two party system and the highway lobby. Carole and Kinky certainly did a lot better than Buchanan did in 2000! He also fails to recognize it takes years to build up a grassroots organization and the rate at which we’ve grown (without any funding and when 90% of what’s going on has been happening under the radar), and the power we’ve wielded in such a short time is making BIG waves. No candidate was eagerly pushing tolls (and tollers were running from their records), with the exception of Perry who failed to get a majority.

Here’s what really happened in this election…

Contact: Terri Hall, Regional Director, San Antonio Toll Party

Toll roads and Trans Texas Corridor a BIG factor in election

San Antonio, TX, November 10, 2006– “Perry wins in negative landslide” says the Houston Chronicle, and that’s precisely what happened. Considering every candidate against Perry ran on an anti-toll platform, and when looking at the 60/40 Party split for other statewide races, Perry took a beating due to his obsession with toll roads and the Trans Texas Corridor. He couldn’t even garner 40% of the vote, which is what Democrats received in statewide races.The usual suspects are focusing on all the WRONG things…nearly EVERY race on the San Antonio Toll Party endorsement list had both candidates claiming to be anti-toll. How is that not a victory?

“Our movement made tolls a factor in every key race. There is no way to say toll roads weren’t a factor in this election,” states Terri Hall, Regional Director of San Antonio Toll “Our preferred candidates may not have won, but their opponents, with the exception of Perry who didn’t win a majority, said they were anti-toll.”

If there had been only one independent candidate for Governor, the independent vote would have taken Bexar County and beat Perry. That’s a major accomplishment in itself.

“Carole Strayhorn brought toll roads and the Trans Texas Corridor to the forefront for this race. She proved there is a viable non-toll transportation plan using existing right of way and existing funds (see it here), while the Governor and his Transportation Commission continue to mislead the public in saying there’s no money for road improvements requiring a new toll tax everywhere,” Hall emphasized. “That, too, is progress.”

In total, Perry lost 1 million voters since the last election…which shows a significant loss! Also, Strayhorn won (or came very close to winning) these counties in the path of the Trans Texas Corridor TTC-35 project:

Colorado – lost by .1
Waller – lost by .2%

We proved to be a force to be reckoned with despite having no money. During the campaign, a Dallas news station acknowledged that the Governor’s race was quickly becoming a referendum on the Trans Texas Corridor (see it here).

Indiana a case in point
The GOP lost control of the Indiana House and a U.S. House seat due to Indiana toll road sale to Cintra-Macquarie. So buyer beware!

“You can bet this issue is far from over. These legislators know and have heard plenty from their constituents about their opposition to Perry’s version of toll roads regardless of who they voted for. And people clearly don’t want the Trans Texas Corridor. Let’s not forget that EVERY Party platform in the state has a plank against tolling existing roads and against the Trans Texas Corridor,” said Hall.

They know this issue is radioactive and I think many of them are tired of carrying Perry’s water on this. They aren’t going to vote for something that will make them lose their jobs in two years. We’re in a much better position today to gain cooperation in the legislature than we were in 2005,” Hall notes.

Many in the Legislature are hungry to rein in our out of control Department of Transportation and their obsession with tolling everything they can get their hands on regardless of what we, the taxpayers, want. Our legislators are beginning to reach out to us, and we’re receiving many invitations from politicians who are eager to sign-on to our legislative agenda. The hogs are still at the trough, so we have two choices: we, meaning our representatives and the PEOPLE, either rein them in and they start listening to the people or we’ll tie up every toll road plan in town using whatever means at our disposal until we get taxation with representation!

So our question to our politicians is this: are we going to continue in this fight with line in the sand stalwart opposition to one another, or are we going to find common ground with what the people want?

The people have spoken.

Lastly, this letter to the editor in the Statesman says it all:

Majority didn’t want this
Perry doesn’t deserve to serve, majority isn’t getting representation

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Every Texas voter should be upset with the election for governor. No matter which party, Republican, Democrat or Libertarian, no one should occupy the Governor’s Mansion without winning a majority of the votes cast. To have a governor who received only 39 percent of the vote goes against the very principle of majority rules.

Everyone should be outraged by this. It is time to put pressure on our representatives in Austin to change the Texas Constitution to guarantee that this doesn’t happen again. If this means having a runoff, so be it. Better to have a runoff than have any governor who 61 percent of Texans voted against. It is time for the 61 percent (silent majority) to stand up and be heard. It’s time to
put the election of state officials in the hands of the majority.


Election losses aren’t daunting toll-road foes

By Patrick Driscoll
Nov. 10, 2006

Did someone say something about a voter revolt to boot Gov. Rick Perry and all the other toll-road “bums” out of office?Yes, loudly and often.

But the grass-roots uprising, fueled by 54 public hearings last summer on a controversial plan to build a supercorridor of toll lanes, railways and utility lines parallel to Interstate 35, couldn’t muster enough firepower to spark a widespread revolution in Tuesday’s election.

Still, toll-road opponents vow to keep fighting.

Less than half of the 28 candidates endorsed by toll critics won their races, and six of the victors are incumbents. None scored a win for a statewide office or congressional seat.

The biggest defeat was Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s dismal showing in a race with four other candidates for governor, a critical loss because the governor wields veto power over state bills and appoints the Texas Transportation Commission.

Perry pulled 39 percent of the votes, twice as many as Strayhorn, which lets him keep pushing plans to build toll roads wherever feasible. He beat her by almost the same margin in the 81 counties where the quarter-mile wide corridor has been an issue, winning 38 percent.

Toll critics view the outcome differently.

They say Perry’s failure to win a majority shows the strength of their issue, since his major opponents all opposed state toll-road plans.

“Gov. Perry has no mandate. He’s weak,” said Terri Hall of San Antonio Toll Party. “Sixty percent of Texans voted to throw him out.”

If anything, the battle has just begun, Hall and others said.

Fundraisers are planned to stock war chests. More rallies will be held.

And toll critic groups are putting together an agenda that they intend to ask legislators, one by one, to support when they assemble in Austin in January. Expect demands for public votes on toll issues and adding protections for people faced with losing their land.

House members who don’t get in line will be targeted in the 2008 elections.

“You vote for this (toll-road) stuff, it’s radioactive, it’s going to come back to haunt you,” Hall promised.

Toll critics are counting on five House members who kept their jobs Tuesday, including David Leibowitz, a San Antonio Democrat. But they also have three new allies.

Republican newcomers Nathan Macias of Boerne and Tom Latham of Dallas, who didn’t face Democrat challengers, easily won.

And Democrat Joe Farias slipped by Republican George Antuna to represent House District 118 in Bexar County, where Perry’s corridor could end up.

“It’s a big issue for me,” Farias said. “I have yet to have a citizen, I’m talking about the average citizen, tell me that toll roads are OK.”

Toll critics also have the ears of some of the very politicians they tried to oust.

Rep. Joaquín Castro, a Democrat representing a part of Northwest San Antonio where toll roads are planned, was hit hard by Toll Party members trying to get Republican Nelson Balido elected.

Castro glided to an easy victory. On Thursday, Hall called to congratulate him and see if he’ll meet with her.

Castro, who’s against a plan to add toll lanes to Bandera Road but is willing to talk to both sides, said he’s going to take Hall up on her offer.

“I’m open to considering their options and I’ll be waiting for that meeting,” he said.

Toll critics will also probe for tender spots to exploit in the next round of elections.

They smell an opportunity with Rep. Mike Krusee, a Round Rock Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee and shepherded in toll-road bills that Perry signed.

Under-funded Democrat Karen Felthauser got 45 percent of the votes to his 50 percent.

“Krusee cannot afford to run again in two years,” said Sal Costello of Austin, founder of the Texas Toll Party, “in case someone with money steps in to take him out.”