More than 600 turnout to oppose 281 tolls! TxDOT cut off mics midway through the mtg!

Both Commissioner Lyle Larson and Commissioner Tommy Adkisson spoke to raucous applause from a very frustrated and motivated crowd last night. Both encouraged attendees to contact their legislators IMMEDIATELY to demand our raided highway funds get returned and that they STOP THE WIDESPREAD TOLLING OF TEXAS! Larson emphasized that though he’s been with us since the beginning, he has no direct oversight over TxDOT, only the Governor and Legislature do. So it’s imperative that we contact the Legislature immediately and follow-up frequently during this legislative session that ends in May.

Freshmen State Representatives Nathan Macias and Joe Farias also spoke and received hearty applause for their strong stand against the tolling of existing highways and they, too, encouraged us to contact our representatives about this issue. Macias welcomed constituent feedback as “refreshing.”

CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TO SAY NO TO TOLLS!

To find out who your representatives are, go here.

Contact State Senator Jeff Wentworth (210-826-7800) and State Representative Frank Corte (210- 349-0320) and respectfully but firmly demand they return the STOLEN highway funds and STOP THE TOLLING OF 281 IN THEIR OWN DISTRICT!

TxDOT tries to silence citizens AGAIN!

TxDOT REFUSED to allow citizens to put out a table with petitions and information saying it was private property. We called a County Commissioner and Attorney both of which said this was a PUBLIC MEETING and PUBLIC FORUM and the facility was rented with TAXPAYER MONEY and the citizens have a FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT to FREE SPEECH! So we handed out our information at the end, but lost precious opportunities to inform attendees about the TRUTH for a good portion of the meeting.

Then, TxDOT cut the microphones about three-quarters of the way through the meeting claiming they suddenly had “sound problems.” This agency is shameless and behaving as dictators who are trying to SILENCE THE CITIZENS!

GET YOUR COMMENTS ON THE RECORD BY FEB 16!

EMAIL comments to get on the LEGAL RECORD here or fax comments to (210) 349-2101.

TOLL PARTY COMMENTS AT 281 PUBLIC HEARING

Here’s 3 things that everyone needs to know:

1) The needed overpasses for 281 are already paid for! A plan for overpasses and expansion of HWY 281 has been presented to and PROMISED to the public in prior public meetings since the late 90s. I hold in my hands that ORIGINAL improvement plan that should have begun in 2004 as scheduled and would have been completed last year. The cost was $100 million all the way to the county line. TxDOT’s own documents show they have $100 million RIGHT NOW to install these improvements. Now to build this as a tollway, it’s more than DOUBLE the pricetag to the taxpaying public.

2) This toll plan has two bidders. Both are foreign companies. TxDOT is planning to give one of these foreign companies control of our PUBLIC infrastructure for the next 50 years…that will outlive most of us in this room. This isn’t just some ordinary highway project. We’re talking about something that will impact our children and grandchildren and change San Antonio forever!

These contracts include something called non-compete agreements where TxDOT would give control of the free routes around the tollway to this private company, which not only means they’d control the signal lights and speed limits on the non-toll access roads, but they may also control Stone Oak Parkway and Bulverde Rd. We won’t know for sure until the contract is already signed since this is being negotiated in SECRET, and even our elected officials cannot see the terms of this contract UNTIL AFTER IT’S SIGNED. So TxDOT’s version of tolls won’t solve congestion; it’ll manipulate it for profit. Over the next 50 years, this foreign company stands to make $1.6 billion just on this one 8 mile stretch for a project that costs about $200 million to build. This is truly highway robbery!

3) The Legislature has stolen our highway funds to the tune of nearly $10 billion and spent it on political pet projects for things like tourism, TX Commission on the arts, enhancing benefits for public employees, and WE THE TAXPAYERS need to demand they give it back. If that money had not been stolen from us, we would not be discussing tolls across Texas! We don’t lack funds; our politicians lack fiscal accountability. Call Wentworth and Corte and demand we get this money back and that they STOP the tolling of 281!

The taxpayers have a right to vote on matters of such grave public interest. We are the owners of government, not an unelected bureaucracy behaving as dictators of public policy.

We’re tired of the manipulation of the timing of the stop lights on 281 and bringing this corridor to needless gridlock by stealing our time since last January when a lawsuit shed light on these fraudulent plans. They’ve hijacked the PUBLIC’S highway to push a political agenda by misleading the public into thinking the ONLY solution is a tollway while NOT telling us they already have the plan and money to fix it, but they’d rather hand it over to a foreign company and collect tolls without limit than install the simple, sensible, less expensive solution they promised the public would be done last year.

This Governor and his Transportation Department are guilty of colluding to defraud the public and of purposely increasing our cost of transportation from pennies a day under gas tax to dollars per day under an unaccountable toll system in the hands of a foreign company for private gain WITHOUT THE PUBLIC’S CONSENT! TxDOT’s own studies show toll rates of up to $1 a mile! We’re talking about $2,000-4,000 more per year to use our PUBLIC highways. The community will not let you dictate this to us and target 281 users while those in other parts of town enjoy FREE routes. You’re taking away our freedom of mobility to line the pockets of private corporations. The taxpayers not TxDOT have the final say on the public’s roads.

Get informed and get involved. SAY NO to this money grab because they’re selling Texas to the highest bidder unless we stop them!

0 Replies to “More than 600 turnout to oppose 281 tolls! TxDOT cut off mics midway through the mtg!”

  1. Rodney Young

    To Mr. Krier…

    I found it significant that it was only the paid “Suits” that spoke in favor of the Tolling of highway 281. I am sure that Mr. Zachary feels that his due$ have been well $pent! Let me figure this out. The paid suits favor the tolling, the rest of us are opposed. Find the truth , follow the money.

    Please Joe, tell me.. Where does that”out of town senior executive” that is coming to SA to hire thousands, get his/her toll pass? I am sure they must have a Limo that will have a pass, but what about the tourist, the trucker or the south-bound snowbird?

    How do you think those in Stone Oak (WashMutual) and residents will feel about the traffic that will divert through their streets to avoid construction and the tolls when the maze is complete? Don’t forget Bulverde Rd, 3009, Blanco Rd. and all the through roads along 281.

    BTW, those of us up north, in Comal, are shopping less and less in SA. No, it isn’t only the traffic, but we have NO reason to pay tolls to drive to SA when New Braunfels and Boerne offer more each day. We will support our local merchants that don’t support tolling us.

    I am sure that I cannot change your voice since I pay no due$. I only hope to remind you that you are $elling your voice. Of course, counselor, that is your job.

  2. Robert G. Collins Sr.

    I am tired of getting raped. We are the government, we pay their salaries. I want to fire them and start anew.

  3. Rene Krause

    I am a member of Linda Curtis’ group. Is our group allowed to give our input to your representatives? We are busy griping to our own. We are planning on going to the rally in Austin. Hoping that each community combined will provide a good turnout, no matter what group we are with.
    Please continue to keep us posted on how things are going in your neck of the woods. God bless us all in this endeavor.

    Renee

  4. Neil Campbell

    One of the major problems is that the DOT does not have an elected beuracrat who answers to the voters.

    The “shell game” is that the state collects highway taxes, mixes the funds in a giant pot and then says we don’t have funds for the roads. Whoops the money got lost? (A private business or charity could get sued for misrepresenting the collection of these considerable funds – and maybe even convicted of a crime?)

    TX-DOT is oblivious to the will of the people as they cannot lose their jobs no matter what we think.

  5. Michael Glover

    Terri,
    I noticed at the 281 Toll Hearing that several people mentioned that some of the monies went to special interest projects. Including “cemetaries”. Would you by chance know who these cemetaries are owned by? Michael.

  6. Norman

    Good Citizens of Texas, this is not only about toll roads, it is about a run away Texas government. In a democracy sometime, few suffer for the many but in increasingly it is many suffer for the few as Perry spreads his wisdom..

    We need to take back the voter rights that our country has fought for in other lands to establish and preserve. “Taxation without representation” is a wake up call. It is a call to action before it becomes more prevasive and hard to stop.

  7. Mike Traweek

    Let’s see if I get this straight. TXDOT claims they don’t have the money for overpasses on 281 even though daily traffic exceeds 100,000 vehicles creating enormous congestion. Oh but they do have money to build an overpass on IH-10 at the Dominion for a few hundred wealthy homeowners. Hmmmm….

  8. Fred Waters

    I am against the tolling of Hwy 281. If the state government is really concerned about the citizens of Texas, I think money would be better spent providing police and fire protection than this ridiculous, expensive re-building of Texas highways as a toll roads.

    I know that San Antonio government is allowing this tolling project on Hwy 281 because Bulverde stopped the northern growth of the city when it incorporated. Get over it. You don’t have to punish your neighbor to the north, rather it would be better to work with Bulverde to promote economic prosperity for both cities. You are shooting yourself in the foot by discouraging Bulverde citizens from going to San Antonio for business and
    shopping. By tolling Hwy 281 you are actually promoting the growth of business in Bulverde and losing revenues for the north side of San Antonio business.

    Grow-up and do the job you were elected to do or be replaced by someone who will.

  9. Jim

    We need to get petitions signed and to the elected officials immediately, letting them know we DO NOT WANT the toll roads. Until that happens, they will continue to turn a deaf ear and claim they did not know the majority was opposed to toll roads.

  10. Christine P.

    We are smart enough to realize that the Government is committing a crime that is concealed by titles and cover-ups to benefit the few higher-ups. Let’s just say that when our short time on this earth is up…those “few” will have to answer to a level higher than our Governor and their own bank accounts. For all the people they have hurt to benefit themselves, they will pay their own toll.

  11. Dorthea Edgecombe

    During the meeting, Mr. Krier claims to have over 75 businesses who support the tolling of our public roads. I say we get a list of these businesses and distribute them to the public. Let the will of the people speak to these businesses in the language they understand, economically!

    In addition, Mr. Krier claims he and his followers are for alternatives to congestion on public roads, which include tolling. If he and his posse are sincere about this, give this issue to the people. Let the public vote, rather than dictate alternatives.

    PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! Contact Corte and Wentworth today!

  12. Brent Burnham

    Please don’t let this toll be put into effect. This is insane. To double pay such intolerable fees for the roads that we have already paid for is unreasonable. Those corrupt politicians that are so self serving will make enough “pocket” $ in this deal that a few dollars of toll money will not be a big deal, but for the rest of us it will hurt alot.
    I am amazed that anyone that is elected or that has the publics “best interest” at heart could even consider this toll. The only answer is the personal benefit that they receive.
    At some point in time, the public will get fed up with all the selfserving greed and there will be another “Boston Tea Party”, only it may be the corrupt individuals that might be thrown into the harbor. I hope that logic will prevail and those who make these decisions, will put aside thier own greed and do what is right. We do not want toll roads here in Bexar county!!!

  13. Brian Hubbard

    Below is an email from Jack H. Leonhardt who voted in favor of the toll road but lacked significant information. I’ll bet the press would find this very interesting.

    Is this the status quo for Texas politics?

    Email from Jack H. Leonhardt

    Dear Mr. Hubbard,

    When I am referred to as the Windcrest Mayor, I understand your question of how Windcrest is interested in Route 281 highways. Although I am the Windcrest Mayor, I serve on the MPO Transportation Policy Board as the representative from the Greater Bexar County Council of Cities (GBCCC) – this is an organization of Mayors/city officials of the 20+ suburban cities in the area. Similar to any state’s legislative body, all members of the body vote on issues brought before that body even though they may not pertain to that member’s area of constituents. Thus as a member of the MPO TPB, I vote on all issues.

    If you were at the MPO meeting, I hope that you recognized that all members were being asked to vote on a measure where we lacked significant information, such as new costs of the original project, how much money was now available, and (most significant to me) what existing projects might now be scuttled by approving the original Route 281 project. For example, there is currently an approximate $9M project along I-35 at Walzem Road. Might this have been scuttled by my voting differently. And as I thought about any other current highway project within the GBCCC area, would any of those cities really have wanted me to vote affirmately without any clue of the potential serious consequence to their city? The appropriate action would have been to support Commissioner Tommy Adkisson’s motion to delay the vote and obtain more information, but that didn’t happen.
    Hope this might give you the other side of what happened.

  14. Mary Olson

    Having toll roads on Hwy. 281 would be a travesty of the worst kind. These roads have already been paid for and should already been completed.

    DO NOT LET THESE TOLL ROADS GO THROUGH!!!!

    The public has a right to be heard and TX Dot has not right to stop our voices!

  15. Imogene W. Chapman

    To: State Re[ Frank Corte and State Sen Jeff Wentworth

    I am firmly against tolling 281. Please vote no on the tolling issue.

  16. Michael J. Holt

    Just to let you know that I am directly opposed to any tolling of our pre-existing Texas “Freeways” or any building of additional lanes to be tolled and than neglecting the maintenance or making the existing lanes less user friendly by “tinkering with the lights” or adding stop signs (look at 281 in north Bexar County) just to force us to have to use the toll roads.

    These are just a few of my points I hope that you will take the time to consider:
    1. There are other more affordable ways to accelerate 1604 improvements than tolling. TxDOT’s own studies show they can pay for 1604 improvements 100% with bonds, yet they choose the most expensive option which is tolling. TxDOT is saying the options to the public are toll it or NO IMPROVEMENTS. They are not considering the less invasive, more affordable, and less damaging options like paying for it with bond funds and installing the original 2 lanes in the median that ALL motorists can use.

    2. The toll plan will use tax-funded right of way, gas taxes, and even public bonds to finance this project, but the public will not be able to use it without paying an additional tax, a toll tax, to drive on it. This is DOUBLE TAXATION!

    3. It will increase the cost to motorists for using the highway from 1-3 cents on average per mile now (under gas tax system) to roughly 29 cents per mile per TxDOT’s own online survey conducted by Survey Cafe September 2005 that quoted $5.90 EACH WAY for an approximately 20 mile commute, bringing the net annual tax increase to over $3,000 per year per commuter!

    4. Devastating economic affect on businesses and consumers alike reaping both direct and indirect cost increases (higher cost of goods), particularly businesses with fleets that use our highways multiple times per day for deliveries and home values in the affected corridor. It is a known fact that people change their behavior to avoid toll roads. This is a totally unnecessary new cost with damaging economic, social, and health impacts.

    5. TxDOT needs to be held accountable for choosing the MOST EXPENSIVE option. They plan to sell a 50 year monopoly of this PUBLIC freeway to a FOREIGN company using a public-private partnership contract taking what belongs to Texans and giving control of it to a foreign entity for profit. This privatizing and management of our public infrastructure by foreign companies is dangerous and is tantamount to eminent domain abuse of the worst kind.

    6. Being a small businessman and owner of a service providing business, what do you think myself and all the other businesses that use the Freeways(ha, ha) will have to do? Well, raise prices of course, just another increase that the public will have to pay!

    7. I have so far been able to withstand the ever increasing fuel prices without having to raise prices, however when this TOLLING STARTS and it begins to force me and every other business to pass the increase along to my customers and they ask me why, I will be the first one to tell them that it is due solely to the tolling of our existing roads.

    The community wholeheartedly demands that TxDOT abandon tolling 1604, UsHwy281 and any other existing roads in Texas, which are FREEways that ALL the taxpaying public can use.

  17. Betty Hutzler

    Dear Madam/Sir:

    I am against the tolling of Texas Roads and against the Trans-Texas Corridor. A free society is a prosperous society according to the world renown economist, Milton Friedman. There is an end to the fees and taxes that Texans/Americans are willing to pay. Next they will be charging us “Congestion Taxes” like Great Britain. No, No, No. on both of these issues.

  18. Ed McGann

    Joe Krier and his gang are lying to the citizens about which lanes will be tolled. They have claimed repeatedly that toll lanes will be built in the highway median, while existing lanes will not be tolled. They even had published in the Express-News a before-and-after picture of 281, showing toll lanes in the median. The “after” picture had been computer-altered to stretch the median to fit the toll lanes. I have personally measured the 281 median at Encino Rio, and it is under 40 feet wide. Toll lanes will require at least 100 feet of width. The Krier gang know this, yet they lie to hoodwink the public. Citizens, your existing freeway lanes will be turned into toll lanes, and you will be told the cluttered, obstructed access road is your new free lanes.

  19. Jimmy Lamberth

    Unfortunately we no longer have “Statesmen” running the affairs of this Great State of Texas. We have those who are insterested in “lining their pockets and the pockets those close to them”. Fortunately, we have a limited few in office who are trying to turn the tide before we are all drowned by it.
    We should be able to trust our elected officials to act in the best interest of Texas and her citisens. We should be able to go about our business of trying to survive the drough and careing for our personal responsibilities.
    Instead, we are having to devote too much of our time “fighting for our rights and those of Texas”. We should not have to form “grass roots orgnizations, attend protest meetings, write letters, etc.
    We are not the first to face crooked politicians and leaders. In years past many honest people have had stand up and fight to protect Texas. Fortunately, they prevailed with guns, tar and feathers, impeachment, etc. We must not let them down by letting ourselves be “sold out” to foreighners by our state officials.
    It takes a long time to kill a tree by pulling off the leaves. The fastest way is to cut the “tap root”. I think Rick Perry is the “tap root” on this “invading tree”. Let’s impeach him.

  20. A.C. Galvan

    I am a 78 year resident of Texas and have grown to love our form of government, though
    it is far from perfect. Recently I have become alarmed at the need of our citizens to keep
    watch on our government. Government attitude has evolved, because of our passiveness,
    to a point where they legislate with the intent of redistributing our nations wealth to benefit
    their sponsers and special interests. There is no apparent concern for the welfare of our
    country as long as government members benefit. It is time we rise up and oppose this corrupt form of governing, otherwise most of you will notice it when you feel the restraints
    of the noose around your neck.

  21. Judy Geissen

    The solution is simple–construct the overpasses with the money that was set aside years ago and forget tolled roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor. I want to see a referendum on a public ballot and give taxpayers the right to say “No”.

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