Commentary: Politicians the real threat to nation's bridges

Link to Toll Party Founder’s guest commentary here.

Comment: Politicians the real threat to nation’s bridges

08/15/2007

By Terri Hall

Let’s face it: We live in a quick-fix world. Rather than thinking long term and genuinely planning for the nation’s present and future, politicians have become an extension of the 24/7 sound-bite media and short-term gain addicts on Wall Street.Those against the push to privatize and toll our freeways as a quick fix for America’s aging infrastructure see the Minnesota bridge tragedy as a transportation wake-up call.

It’s criminal for politicians in Congress to have passed a highway bill in 2005 that funded a $223 million “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska instead of retrofitting that Minneapolis-St. Paul bridge, located on heavily traveled Interstate 35. We have seriously misplaced priorities in this country, pointing to politicians who are derelict in their duties.

The 2005 federal highway bill had 6,000 earmarks for frivolous congressional pet projects pilfered from dedicated gas tax revenues at a time when the Bush administration was pushing the privatization and tolling of our highways, saying new toll taxes were necessary to address congestion and the aging infrastructure because of a shortfall in revenues.

By design, they want to double-tax us by tolling the traveling public to plug their own leaky boat.

Politicians are now blaming taxpayers for not giving them enough of our money to pay for infrastructure when, in fact, they have pilfered and diverted billions from both federal and state gas tax funds, creating an artificial revenue shortfall and causing our infrastructure to fall into disrepair.

In Texas, 25 percent of otherwise dedicated state fuel tax revenue is diverted to nonroad uses, such as public schools, while another 10 percent goes to other budgetary items that don’t relate to highways. The Legislature has diverted more than $10 billion from the highway fund since 1986 for items like the arts, the Historical Commission and mineral rights litigation.

It also has deceived taxpayers into thinking the only way out of our infrastructure woes is to toll citizens who drive on what their taxes have already built and to sell our highway system to the highest foreign bidder while still failing to keep bridges and highways safe.

With a $14 billion surplus in Texas (Minnesota had a $2.1 billion surplus), it is clear America doesn’t have a revenue shortfall problem, but a profound case of fiscal irresponsibility on both the state and national levels.

Heads need to roll rather than politicians in Austin and Washington double-taxing drivers and consumers by irresponsibly spending our dedicated gas tax revenues and then adding insult to injury by tolling our roads.


Terri Hall is founder/director of Texans United for Reform and Freedom, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that educates the public on the shift to privatizing and tolling freeways.

0 Replies to “Commentary: Politicians the real threat to nation's bridges”

  1. Alvin M. Bloom

    Terri:

    Thank you for exposing the facts about toll roads to the voters of Texas. This
    Governor and the state senators and representatives must be voted out of office because of their attempt to double tax the people.

    Also, someone should check to see if laws have been violated by diverting dedicated gas tax funds for roads and bridges to nonhighway purposes.

    Al Bloom

  2. Patricia A. Jones

    http://impeachperry.indytexans.org/
    My home is Hill County where Interstate 35 splits to go east to Dallas, and west to Ft. Worth. Our county heavily depends on the revenue we receive from the traffic on I-35. There is no way we will survive IF the Trans-Texas Corridor-35 bypasses us. Also, TTC-35 will eat up 5,200 acres of some of the best farm land in Texas. Governor Perry agrees with many of us that we have an immigration problem here in Texas. His remedy to this is to build a wall or barrier between the Texas and Mexico border. He plans to take the Texas National Guard and the Texas Rangers off their regular duties and have them patrol this barrier. If this sounds as illogical to you as it does to me, throw in the Trans-Texas Corridor 35 which will usher in immigrants at 85mph. Why build a wall, when you already have plans in the works to breach it?
    Governor Perry’s plan for the Trans-Texas Corridor 35 is the first leg in the integration of Mexico, the United States, and Canada into the North American Union. This, in itself, is unconstitutional. If Mexico and Canada want to join OUR SOVEREIGN NATION, they can do so by becoming the two newest of our fifty States. They will be subject to OUR laws and protections in the same way all our other States are.

    “There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution.”
    -U. S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor-

  3. Mrs. J. D. Hines

    Would someone please contact that head-in-the-sand radio [KLUP] talk show host Michael Medved about all this. Almost every day he denies what we all clearly see is really going on re the “NAFTA Super Highway”: that the 1st leg of it is THE TRANS TEXAS CORRIDOR. Today on his show he had as a guest interview–to debunk the “NAFTA Super Highway” — the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Mr. David Bohegan (sp?). Of course, there is no “NAFTA Super Highway.” That’s not what the GOVERNMENT calls it! They call it by the name they’ve given it–some such “North American ___something or other”—I can’t just now remember their label. Medved also makes fun of Ron Paul in general, but specifically for Paul’s claims re the NAFTA Super Highway (as does another KLUP ‘talker,’ Mr. Hugh Hewitt). Medved also casts ugly comments toward Lou Dobbs for his similar claims and opinions. He calls “World Net Daily” the “World Nut Daily.” Medved: “How many miles of this SUPER HIGHWAY have been built so far?” Caller: “Well, none [yet], but–” Medved: “Ha, ha, ha. There are none and there aren’t any plans for a NAFTA Super Highway to be built.” [[Me: “Well, what were all those meetings hosted by Tx Dot about — of which I attended several!?!” Of course, their own little dups at the meetings deny any knowledge of the NAFTA Super Highway.]] Naturally, Mr. Bohegan denied that any intention of the SPP to combine Mexico, US, and Canada was anything more than to improve the “prosperity” of each of the three countries individually and together. Well, maybe some of you others know of what I speak concerning Michael Medved [and Hugh Hewitt] who rails any mention of the conspiracy [yes, that disperaged word] and sloughs it off to the “black helicopter, Builderberger (sp?), Trilateral, CFR nut cases.” Maybe you can tell him…or send him something (to read) to convince him of his mistaken position on this issue. After all, as I understand it, he used to be “pro-choice” and became convinced of the “pro-life” stand. Maybe someone can convince him of this.

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