McCombs pro-toll group comes under fire for lack of transparency

Read Jaime Castillo’s column about McCombs’ group here:

Also read his column from this weekend:


It says anti-tollers are using hyperbole. We may be passionate, but we’re TRUTHFUL. We’re not promoting propaganda, nor trying to mislead the public like the other side. Our arguments don’t skew the debate, they inject TRUTH into the debate. Truth is, TxDOT’s figures don’t add up. If you take TxDOT’s numbers (which continue to go up now they’re saying we need $16 billion in the next 20 years as cited by Scott Erickson at an MPO Planning Meeting), they want $10,000 in NEW TAXES from every man, woman, and child in San Antonio alone just for transportation (and that’s in addition to the gas tax, a portion of sales tax, and a slew of other fees and taxes we pay for roads)! That’s $40,000 in the next 20 years from every family of four! It’s insane!

We’re all volunteer citizens versus the toll pushers are politicians (whose campaigns are funded by the highway lobby) and businesses who contract with TxDOT and that have a financial interest in toll roads.

Here was my note to Mr. Castillo after his first column:

Never take the word of a bureaucrat without verifying the info. Julie Brown is not telling you the whole story either. We have the District Engineer for TxDOT, David Casteel (the top dog for San Antonio), ON CAMERA at a Leon Valley debate admitting they have $100 million gas taxes for the 281 corridor. We have TxDOT documents (toll feasibility studies for 281) showing the same. Looking at the cost of the ORIGINAL plan for 281 (10 lanes including frontage roads), the entire 8 miles from Loop 1604 north to the county line, it was $100 million. They DO HAVE EVERY PENNY NEEDED TO FIX 281! Now they want to charge us in excess of $200 million to build it as a 16 lane toll road and turn it over to Cintra-Zachry. That’s not hyperbole, it’s well-documented in stories in your own newspaper. Follow the money, it leads right to Zachry.

If you ever wish to find out the TRUTH behind these toll roads and view the EVIDENCE we have to prove our points, please ask. Nearly all of it is on our web site. See this page in particular:

Your article doesn’t seem to take a fair look at this debate. You’re comparing it to a totally different debate about flouride which was based on competing science. This is about transportation planning being hi-jacked by special interests and our government refusing to give us congestion relief that’s PAID FOR! We live in a democracy and it’s our right and duty to redress our government for grievances. That’s all we’re doing.

In TxDOT’s own survey by UT Austin in 2003, they found a supermajority of Texans are against tolling existing highways and that most believe we ought to CUT our highway program at least a little. Seems we’re not the minority nor the real opposition here, TxDOT is. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on why this doesn’t seem believable to you…