Look who's watching HB 2772!

Peter Samuel is the Father of Toll Roads and publishes a pro-toll newsletter, Toll Road News. The industry takes their cues from him. He called our fellow compatriot, Sal Costello, of Texas Toll Party, an anti-toll hyena! ALL EYES ARE ON TEXAS to see what happens here. Clearly, the BIG MONEY is getting an ulcer over the grassroots revolution that taking our legislature by storm. Are any of us crying they won’t be able to commence with the public fleecing?

Link to Texas Observer blog here.

Highway Hyenas

By Eileen Welsome
Texas Observer

March 15th, 2007

The debate over toll roads is getting uglier as a bill that would impose a two-year moratorium on the pay-as-you-go highway contracts edges forward in the Texas Legislature. Peter Samuel, who lives in Maryland and publishes an industry newsletter called TOLLROADSnews, today referred to local Austin blogger, Sal Costello, as an “anti-toll hyena.” Toying with Samuel much like, well, a large cat, Costello fired back, “Peter, my freeway tolling pal, the hyena has one of the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom — able to crunch through bones like they were mere saltines.”

Samuel doesn’t seem to understand why Texans don’t want mega-corridors the width of four football fields criss-crossing the state. Seeking answers, he interviewed UT’s Lisa Loftus-Otway, among others, to find out what was up with the sheep over at the “Leege” who have been struck dumb by the “anti-toll frenzy” gripping the natives. The UT official offered lots of theories, but she appears to have overlooked the simple fact that the natives may have a little more sense than the bureaucrats at TXDOT who seem delighted with the idea of turning over the state’s infrastructure to private companies for the next century or so.

She did mention that grassroots organizations have been a factor in turning public opinion against toll roads. Actually, organizations like Corridor Watch, the San Antonio Toll Party, and hyenas like Sal Costello have probably been the major factor in the debate. This morning, Corridor Watch reported that 25 of 31 senators and 93 of 150 House members have signed on to a bill that would place a two-year moratorium on toll-road contracts. Speaker of the House Tom Craddick has referred the bill to the House Transportation Committee. That committee is chaired by Round Rock Rep. Mike Krusee, who several years ago rammed through the omnibus bill that served as a charter for the current road-building binge. A spokesman in his office said this afternoon that the committee was definitely going to debate the bill, possibly as early as March 27.

The Town Krier cries about our progress…
Then, see what our favorite San Antonio based pro-toller, Joe Krier, is telling the Greater Chamber. More lies…we’re not “anti-growth” nor are we advocating “doing nothing.” Our web site has a whole section on non-toll solutions! He’s the one using scare tactics and spreading misinformation, not WE THE PEOPLE and two-thirds of the legislature!

San Antonio Greater Chamber of Commerce Newsletter Week of March 12, 2007 –

Keep Texas moving

Legislation has been introduced in Austin to slow or stop construction of major Texas’ highway projects and to remove non-tax funding as a revenue source. One of The Chamber’s legislative priorities this session is to keep Texas moving by supporting toll roads as an additional funding source, as well as searching for innovative solutions to get roads built faster without increasing costs to taxpayers. “Doing nothing is not an option,” said Chamber President and CEO Joe Krier, who chairs the San Antonio Mobility Coalition (SAMCo) as well as Texans for Safe Reliable Transportation. “A moratorium might stop the spreading of the false and misleading information currently circulating among anti-growth factions, but it puts at risk citizen safety and economic prosperity. Most of our Austin legislators recognize that Texas needs more and better roads, and everyone is searching for solutions. Facing up to the problem and dealing with it by allowing private investment and user fees is a better option than a moratorium, which is nothing more than a short term political fix to a long term problem.”