The fact that Judge Wolff chose to make toll roads a centerpiece of his state of the county address today, and his attempts to make toll roads sound inevitable only confirms that the LOCAL part of this toll road nightmare comes straight from his office WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE!
Judge Wolff’s comments today are deceptive and they’re an OUTRAGE! It reflects the heavy-handed methods with which our elected officials govern this county and this state. There’s a total disconnect between our elected officials and the PEOPLE they’re supposed to represent with only two noteable exceptions Commissioners Tommy Adkisson and Lyle Larson.
First of all, TxDOT cannot produce a signed contract indicating ANY work is imminent on 281. If tolls on 281 are done deal, where’s the contract? They’re either lying to the public or violating open records laws. This shell game is part of the ploy to make the public think tolls are a done deal. NOTHING IS DONE DEAL in politics until the VOTERS say it’s done! Our grassroots citizen movement doesn’t underestimate the power of the ballot box. With elections coming next year, WE NEED CANDIDATES TO RUN AGAINST TOLLERS!
If you’re tired of our elected officials representing ROAD BUILDERS instead of YOU, then:
1) Help us find and help support viable candidates to run against tollers (tollers in the region: Frank Corte, Carter Casteel, Joe Straus, Mike Villarreal, Ruth McClendon-Jones)
2) Write and CALL Judge Wolff to respectfully express your opposition to this toll mandate (firstname.lastname@example.org and (210) 335-2626) and submit it in the form of a Letter to the Editor email@example.com.
3) Get your neighborhood associations and small business community involved in the fight (have them call me (210) 275-0640 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for how they can help)
4) Help INCREASE OUR NUMBERS by taking a shift to hand out fliers to motorists at key intersections (call or email Operations Chair, Bob Throckmorton at: email@example.com or at (830) 438-7195)
5) Send this to everyone you know in Texas and ask them to sign our online petition.
Second, Judge Wolff called on the business community to help…That’s precisely who’s been pushing this toll road scheme upon us because they’re the ones who will profit off of what we’ve already paid for. The conflicts of interest within the business community on this issue is exactly what makes the public suspicious of their attempts to push tolls. These secret 50 year agreements that amount to giving private companies monopolies over our PUBLIC infrastructure violate the public trust and our principles of open government. Yet this is what Judge Wolff and the business community is promoting.
Third, a controversial sales tax hike (called the ATD tax) was pushed through just last November that gives Bexar County the ability to get matching funds for highways just like tolls would do, and yet they’re going to make San Antonians pay toll taxes for their lifetimes ON TOP of the gas tax and sales tax hike to pay for highways. That’s THREE taxes for highways! They’re holding us hostage just to drive to work, school, or shop!
Then, Judge Wolff FALSELY claims San Antonio’s economic development is being hampered due to lack of highways. In fact, San Antonio ranks 5th in the nation in number of lane-miles of highway! Our economic development isn’t being hampered by lack of roads but lack of interchanges and better intersections! San Antonio’s economic development seems more hampered by excessive taxation than anything else!
And this is taxation without representation! Unelected tolling bureaucracies are making these multi-billion dollar decisions without accountability for their decisions. These aren’t traditional toll roads either, they’re tolling highways we’ve already built and paid for. That means they’re going to toll lanes we drive on today for free. They’ll tell you they’re not, because they’re bulldozing what’s there, re-arranging the pavement and repaving it as a toll road. But they are, IN FACT, tolling existing highways and rights of way and TxDOT’s own documents prove it.
The cost will be enormous. TxDOT’s own online survey quoted $.39 cents a mile for a 15 mile commute on Loop 1604. That’s $5.90 ONE WAY to work, and more than $3,000 a year (and that’s just the starting toll rate)! The median wage earnings in San Antonio (according to many studies) is slightly higher than $11 per hour. Judge Wolff is asking the median wage earner to spend more than 5% of their income on toll costs. Plus, we ALL pay the higher cost of goods for tolls since our HEB trucks and others will pass that cost onto us, the consumers.
Did the lottery solve our public school funding crisis? Have toll roads solved Houston’s or Dallas’ congestion and highway funding issues? NO! This toll mandate is an OUTRAGE and our grassroots movement is growing by the day. It’s time to restore government to the PEOPLE! We need a taxpayer revolt and a statewide referendum process to redress our government for grievances such as this. If our Governor, the Legislature, and even our local leaders refuse to listen to the PEOPLE they are elected to represent (instead of the highway interests), then we need to be able to put this and other issues on the ballot ourselves. Please take the ACTION STEPS listed above TODAY!