Think your side of town is exempt from these detested toll plans? Think again! It’s officially out of the bag…TxDOT is following orders and plans to toll anything and everything they can manipulate into calling “toll feasible,” including tolling federal interstates! You read that correctly, though many were lead to believe interstates were off the table for tolling, not true. Un-elected bureaucrats want your money to pad their budgets and our politicians see toll slush funds as the answer to all of our state funding woes. They’ve already demonstrated that penchant since 25% of our state gas tax money already goes to fund public education.
Once these guys build-up a toll slush fund, can you guess what will happen to our gas tax money? Suddenly it won’t go to highways, but all the politicians’ pet projects. Even the toll revenues are up for grabs for things not related to highways like private rail lines. Governor-appointed Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson said just before the November election (2005) that they could use toll money to pay off the Prop 1 rail fund bonds (Read about it in the Star-Telegram). The Governor wants to give your hard earned tax dollars over to private rail companies to move their lines into the Trans Corridor.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect to the toll slush funds are that the federal law that stopped US 281 (National Enviornmental Policy Act or NEPA) won’t apply to toll revenues. TxDOT could literally have total authority to take your private land and stick a highway anywhere they want without ANY enviornmental considerations and without concern for the impact on Texans, property values, businesses, or your pocketbook! Toll money is totally unregulated by ANY federal law. Up until now, nearly every state highway in Texas has used some portion of federal gas tax money and hence has been subject to very specific procedures for building highways outlined in federal law. No such hassle with toll money. TxDOT can and WILL do whatever they want no matter if it’s wasteful, harmful, or a detriment to the community.