MPO Chair: "Those people can afford the tolls"

In an outrageous display of bias and class warfare, Chairwoman Sheila McNeil who chairs the MPO Board that will take a vote to toll 281 and shift tax money to build toll lanes on 281/1604 on December 3, proclaims to her constituents that “those people can afford the toll roads. The average income up there is $300,000 a year.” The City of San Antonio’s web site says the per capita income in District 9 is only $31,000! What a lie! She’s fine voting to toll the northside, just not in her backyard!

See it on YouTube below.

McNeil attended a cozy, closed door meeting at Valero Oct 19 that the Chamber of Commerce crowd called to rally the business community to gain approval of the toll roads at the MPO on December 3…a clear conflict of interest for her as MPO CHAIR to participate in such a meeting.

Object to such blatant pandering to the highway lobby by McNeil who then fulfilled her marching orders by Zachry to ram toll roads down her constituents throats and essentially tell them if you can’t afford tolls, you can become a second class citizen and take the congested access roads. I don’t think that’s the kind of equality Dr. King had in mind.

Email the MPO and tell them to VOTE NO TO TOLLS and NO on using TAX MONEY to build toll roads! It’s a TRIPLE TAX!

38 Replies to “MPO Chair: "Those people can afford the tolls"”

  1. Esteban Erik Stipnieks

    Shelia after she lets the developer build the East side Berlin Wall Memorial around their high dollar property should visit a gated community off Borgfeld road. She would see “Those People”

    The biggest shocker would be the amount of “non white” people there. A house I helped with frame inspection on his brother US Army he a preacher and tax lawyer. They ain’t hispanic asian or white! A recently completed house with a not so small price tag is to a man who busted his behind to get there. He and his wife both not white are proud of their hosue.

    There is an asian family married USAF nice house live up on a corner. I have met another couple with their dog Rocky a yippy yappy Yorkie….cool people they did not look down on me as I was cleaning up a house under construction.

    The builder I work for and his wife both were abused as kids and went from home to home. He built his own house. His replacement is about as white as King Henry the first. He lives in the district represented by Cisneros.

    As for the labor force I wear the tag “El Medio Gringo” Half white boy. Some of the trades like electricians are white but trust me Tejano and Mexicano are those people would bear a stiff bite on the toll road to make it to work on time.

    Sheila McNeil should look at “Those people” She should talk to “Those people” working the Dairy Queen Counter.

    She should eat at that Dairy Queen and talk to the not so rich folks who will have their home health care assistance pass the cost of the commute on to them and in the end have less health care!

    Sheila should to talk to “Those people” who work the Jack in the Box and McDonalds off 281 about what a loss of job would mean to them! Those workers could hardly afford the effects of the toll road.

  2. Tim Jacobi

    Since when is tolling a question of who can afford it or not?

    Does that mean if I can document that I can’t afford the toll road I can use it for free? Definitely not…

    She sure sounds like a racist

  3. Mark Dorazio

    We don’t want the toll roads here on the north side. We have already paid the taxes for corrective measures on these highways. Why do we want to give our money to a foreign entity for the next 50 years?

  4. George Heagerty

    VOTE NO TO TOLLS and NO on using TAX MONEY to build toll roads! It’s a TRIPLE TAX!

    All we ask for is an opportunity to vote-

  5. Bob Terrill JR

    What the hell is this lady smoking?? I don’t know anybody in this neighborhood that makes $300,000 a year much less the neighborhood as a average!!!
    You PAID this lady off and and as long as it is NOT in her back yard. “Then we can talk”. What kind of crap is that ?

  6. Anna Gonzalez

    Sheila McNeil is an IDIOT! Who the hell makes $300,000/yr? NOT US! I make $28,000/yr, my spouse makes $32,000/yr. After I pay bills and mortgage I have almost $300 left for food/gas. Who is this idiot? BESIDES, double taxing is illegal, she is missing the WHOLE POINT. This is one miserable, greedy, bitter woman. Oh, and….will she be paying tolls???

  7. Nancy Strack

    For starters, in typical fashion of those who push toll roads, she wouldn’t let the gentleman talk.

    Then she led him to believe that toll roads wouldn’t be coming to “his” area along I-35. Oh yeh? What about the proposed toll road on I-35 (elevated lanes) from the Guadalupe County line to downtown (and possibly beyond if they can)?

    Lies, lies, lies.

    I still ask, what happens when people exit the toll lanes? They come to the traffic lights they’re trying to avoid and that started this fiasco!

  8. Clay Carr

    Yes I have to agree with her “to some degree” when she says we can afford the tolls. BUT, I can not afford them and I know alot of others who live there who cannot afford them. Yes alot of the people can but they should not have to. These roads are already existing and to aleviate the traffic they only need to build bridges at all of the intersections (lights and a few other areas {Redland road & entrance area to Sendoro Ranch and Mountain Lodge, Summerglen, Overlook PKWY}). I drive on this road every day and the traffic congestion is only due to the lights. Without the lights there would be no traffic congestion as you can see just as soon as you get to 1604 Loop there is no traffic. She needs to come live up here and drive it every day at different hours to see what the problem is and then get with the other “KNOW HOW TO FIX IT ALLS” and then they can make an intelligent decision instead of looking into their pocketboks for kickbacks from the tolling authorities and companies who would profit from toll roads. I do not know of even one (1) person no matter what their income is who wants to spend money to drive on a road that hard workiing tax payers have already paid for. Then to top it off she is only looking at the people who live in the area and is only considering them. What about all of the people who do not live in the area but drive through it every day (South San, North Bulverde, etc…). I do not believe they are all so rich that they can afford to pay tolls especially now with the cost of gas. They have to live in a lower income area but transverse through this area to get to their jobs. I guess they can drive on the access roads too but then we are descrimnating against them also. Were did these people come from that are making all of the decisions. Obliviously they have not talked to the local residents who live in the areas and asked them for inputs on how do they think the problem can be fixed. I have talked to over one hundred who live in the area and “ALL” of them say the same thing I do. BRIDGES. Two to three lanes is even enough if the bridges are built. Thank you for listening to and reading my rambling. Clay Carr “Mountain Lodge Resident”

  9. Mel Borel

    How absurd! How can members of the MPO board claim that most of the members of the board say that they are voting for the benefit of the people of San Antonio when the chairperson makes such statements that clearly singles out a group or area as a target for discrimination? And, to go so far as to effectively say that the people of the North side can, and will be targeted now and that when the issue affects other areas it will be addressed at that time. This is tantamount to saying that it is OK to “screw” one segment of the population without regard to any erosion of the democratic process for the rest of the population. Erosion of the democratic process in one area is an erosion of the democratic process of the entire population. Creeping corruption is exactly what causes the democratic process to fail in the end. All one has to do is review the history of the fall of governments as they have failed from within because of a few corrupt people moving the government process away from the will of the people.

    I would like each and every member of the MPO board to go on record that they believe the structure of the board is for the benefit of the people of San Antonio and Bexar County. I would like each member to NOT reference any law that was used to structure the board as a reason for their position. Their response should be based specifically on their belief as to whether the structure is for the benefit of the people and NOT influenced by ANY special interest groups, pressure from businesses, OR pressure from city, county, and state organizations or persons.

    And, I would like each board member to state that the position they are taking on toll roads is NOT influenced by ANY special interest groups, pressure from businesses, OR pressure from city, county, and state organizations or persons.

  10. Dona Shisk

    We ALL need to flood the news channels, this kind of racism is unacceptable.

    Unfortunately the average person isn’t concerned because it doesn’t affect them YET. I am outraged. I also heard on the news that VIA is putting a via pick up spot at marshall and 281 to relieve congestion. If tolls are suppose to relieve congestion, why do we need a huge via pick up spot? NO TOLLS!
    This is just _ _ _ _ that is happening to us.

  11. steve seward

    This lady is nuts! I’m sick and tired of everyone trying to stick their hands in the pockets of people they THINK have money! Not everyone on the northside has huge incomes. Some people have been diligent with their finances, and parlayed the profit of previous homes to move to this area without changing their incomes. Besides, she has no idea what each persons financial situation is. The more you make, the more taxes you pay. Now the Government wants more. Mrs. McNeil should worry about how to improve the income and better the lives of the people IN HER DISTRICT instead of penalizing people who have worked hard to live where they do. Is she insinuating the people who don’t live on the northside can’t afford to drive on these tollways because of their income? If so, I guess she thinks its fair to limit where people from other areas can drive. Last time I checked, this is still a free country, and those limitations should not be imposed on a certain sector and force out others. Whatever the tolls the MPO are proposing, should take into consideration that the argument of who can afford it doesn’t hold water. If we are stuck with toll roads, make them fair for everyone! Don’t just assume we can afford it and penalize people while indirectly penalizing your own constituants just to line your own pockets!

  12. Pricer

    McNeil must be nuts if she thinks everyone makes 300,000 who does she think she is anyway. Get her off the board.

  13. Linda

    They want to toll the north side so they will have the money to build up the new south side with Toyota, and the future A&M campus, etc that will come to the south side. Toll the south side, those Toyota people make alot more then the people working retail jobs along 281/1604!!! Where did all the money come from to widen Loop 410 and IH10???? They sure found the money to keep those freeways. Guess they figure everyone living inside of Loop 410 have low incomes and all retired. You know Sheila and the other protollers will not have to pay to drive on the tollways, they will be given free tollway patches to put on their vehicles(from Zachery), and claim it is for business reasons. What about all the others that have to drive it for business(which will be passed on the ones that get the service), going to work etc? We have both had to work full time to have what we have, we live paycheck to paycheck like everyone else. We don’t make near $100,000 where do they come up with $300,000???? We already pay for low income school districts since alot of what we pay to Northeast School district has to be sent to the state and then sent to the poor districts in Texas. Once toll roads are out here, property values will drop as people will not build or buy out here because they do not want to deal with the toll roads. More people will loose their homes. If it goes to a vote, the protollers will word it so that the other areas of town will vote no to higher gas taxes because it does not effect them since most do not drive this side of town. We have already paid for all of this, we should not have to pay again, put in the bridges!!!(that are already paid for years ago)We don’t even take the boat to Canyon/Medina Lake anymore with the current price of gas, and to think we would have to pay to drive on 1604 or 281 to get to these lakes. Someone needs to file a discrimination lawsuit on Sheila, she needs to deal with her side of town and all the crime, shootings, etc that we see every day on the news, that is on her side of town. Groceries, etc have already increased due to high gas prices, wait till HEB etc have to pay to drive toll roads to get groceries to the stores, and other retail shops, it will ALL be passed onto the consumer! This is so unfair and discriminating!! We work our b—s off every day to have what we have.

  14. irene caballeros

    Just build bridges, or overpasses, and the congestion will go away. That was the original plan, wasn’t it! By the way we do not make $300,000 a year. We are retired seniors and WISH we made a piece of that $300,000. As seniors we have numerous medical trips to S.A. from Bulverde — and we’ll have to add toll fares to our expenses — I sincerely hope not!!!!

  15. Daryl Short

    This is outrageous! I would not have believed a chair would take this position and make these type of comments without seeing it first hand. For her to pop off like this and attempt to justify it by making ridiculous income claims and advise the audience to just avoid 281 and ‘we’ll talk’ only if they decide to toll 35 is just idiotic. Wow! How did she get into this position? Is this actually reflective of who’s in charge??? If so, we’re ALL in trouble!

  16. CW4 John C. Dominguez

    It appears the MPO Board elected or selected the least educated and just plain simple person as their chairwoman. They should be proud. If Chairwoman McNeil only knew that both my wife and I grew up in lower income areas of San Antonio, and most importantly forged a path through strong work ethics and post secondary education and training to our gated community on the northside, she may learn something.

    Regarding Toll Roads, we need to continue to contact our state representatives, who are in hiding, and remind them that they are to blame for creating the current Toll Road fiasco, and above all, the unsafe traffic conditions we experience daily due to their irresponsible and arrogant deeds.

  17. Laura Dylla

    The bias that Ms Sheila McNeil spouts is just plain HORRENDOUS and if a white person were to say those remarks about the predominantly black neighborhoods, they would be castigated unmercifully. Does she realize she is a PAWN and it looks seriously like she was chosen for her visible lack of knowledge of areas beyond her expertise and that her bumbling makes MPO really look worse than we already know it is??? Does she have any spine or opinion of her own or is she merely an appointed PAWN to be used by feeding her erronious or placing bigoted information for her to spout or is she unable to figure out that taxing and of our alread paid for roads would hurt the entire city, not just the NorthSide/281 area of San Antonio??? LKD

  18. Chuck Woodside

    Talk is cheap. Send the Toll Party a donation today. $20 out of your PayPal account won’t hurt you, but it will help Terri and her stalwart volunteers press the fight.

  19. James

    McNeil is a racist and VERY IGNORANT individual and should not be allowed to sit at any government position. She should be forced to fork over cash to drive to Jack n The Box to scrub a toilet for a few weeks instead of sucking the life out of the citizens she was elected to represent and help. She does not deserve to scrub a urinal. McNeil is a PIG!

  20. Tony

    I can not believe what I just saw. She basically told him to shut up and stop complaining about something that will not affect him. It will affect everyone in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. I can not believe that someone like her is in office representing the public.

  21. Joe D

    I’ve been through this BS toll lane ripoff before in California. No improvements to ajacent roads for 50 years causing a 25 mile back up of bumper to bumper traffic. Toll lanes started with low costs and increased to about $16.00 round trip per day. I’m talking about only 13 miles of toll lanes.

    I seriously believe this McNeil person is in the pocket of developers and does not represent the tax payers of San Antonio. She should be removed from the MPO board becouse of her racist and biased comments.

    My wife and I are retired and on SS. No $300,000 here.

  22. Ed Hanson

    This is the kind of ignorance that creates polarization. She may have a wonderful track record and done many great things, but it will always be the one thing that you do wrong that completely defeats what you’ve done in the past and defines you in the moment. What you say carries weight. Your words have meaning, and if you meant to imply something else, then you should think before you say it. She is in a position of influence and tasked with a responsibility to serve as an elected official too uphold the cumulative voice of a community. She has fallen short of the mark on this topic.

    McNeil, put aside your salary and the concept of who you think you are to this community causing you to believe that you are above others, and realize that you are just as accountable for what you say and do as any other “elected” official in this country. I think It’s great that you would go on record and say “This is what I meant to say”, but what you said and what the community reads is that you do not have the heart of a community set above what your heart is actually feeling in this. What you said is what you believe… bottom line.

    Above all, your carrier in politics is done. Your words will bury you in the political arena and your time now is limited. I can’t imagine anyone electing you into anything that has the community voice at stake.

    Please step down.

  23. Michael

    Republicans and Democrats are responsible for this kind of nonsense. Both parties are only the two heads of the single hydra. Vote Libertarian and get the morons out of office!

  24. terrih Post author

    Councilwoman McNeil,

    I was extremely disturbed by your comments regarding residents of the Northside and our ability to pay tolls on the roads we drive. Your statement that because the average income on the Northside is $300,000, we should pay tolls, is not only totally inappropriate, it is completely inaccurate.

    I am a Mexican-American blue-collar worker who lives on the Northside . I acquired my home and my income level through hard work (10 to 12 hour days). Nobody has given me ANYTHING. EVERYTHING that I have, I have worked my tail off to acquire. I do not appreciate your assertion that because I have what I do and live where I do, I should, therefore, be required to pay tolls on the roads that I use.

    Madame, you really need to get over yourself. Unless I missed the press release, I don’t think you have been appointed San Antonio’s Queen to issue decrees as you see fit. Please resign your position on the MPO, go back to concentrating on “helping” your constituents, and spare the rest of us from your ill-informed musings.

    Ricardo Luna

  25. TyArrington


    She said she misspoke, and clarified her remarks to say that she was referring to homes in the area (which there are plenty of) worth $300,000.

    I’ve never been a huge fan of McNeil, but some of ya’lls comments are out of line on here. People calling her a pig, and a racist and such. That’s uncool, petty and just mean-spirited. All of ya’ll sound like what most pro-tollers accuse you all of being; mean spirited, anti-everything.

    I was raised by god-fearing parents who taught me that once someone apologizes for something, you forgive them. To still rebuke them after is just hateful and un-christian.

    It’s as if none of you have ever misspoke before. All of you would be much more forgiving if you knew all your public comments were on tape somewhere, ready to be posted online.

    One final thing; someone spoke of Mcneil’s salary- As a member of city council, she makes about $25 a week – usually putting in 30+ hours a week for the city, so using our adult math, that works out to be less than a dollar an hour. How does your salary compare? You dont like what her and the other politicians are doing? Throw your hat in the ring and run for something. Cause it’s REAL easy to comment from the cheap seats. This is a participatory democracy folks. Do something besides complain; you think the lege/MPO/council members/TxDOT/ARMA care or read the complaints we send?

    But its easier to complain, isnt it? In my opinion, by not running for office, volunteering for boards/hoa’s, etc, all who complain on here (and elsewhere) and dont do anything about it really are just as responsible for what happens with the toll roads as the people in charge who sign off on it.

  26. Esteban Erik Stipnieks

    She has been on record to saying she would oppose toll roads if they include 35. Since she did not look at the city’s website to find out median income in district 9 is $31,000 annually. I also assume she would not look at the RMA’s website and publications which clearly indicate the fact that I-35 will be tolled from 1604 at the Forum down to down town. (Just some facts I guess she has chosen to ignore)

  27. Bob Bibbs

    all this is about the fact that the government has been taking taxes, that are paid on gas and diesel, and spending it elsewhere. and didn’t i just hear that txdot had a 10 billion dollar surplus!! as for it not effecting others what a joke the plans are in the works to make I 35 a toll road from laredo to oklahoma amd get this also I 10 to houston and I 45 from dallas to houston.

    wake up and throw all these bums out of office. if the say toll ever vote’m out!!

  28. terrih Post author

    For context, look who called those against tolls “pigs”:

    Last I checked, no one forced Sheila McNeil to run for City Council. She knew when she signed up the hours it would take and that she’d only make $30 a week. I’ve personally witnessed the near 24/7 wining and dining these politicians get. They have more perks than some CEOs of major corporations. She didn’t misspeak, she repeated it twice. Plus, her figures were more than 10 times the reality, and even the average home price in that area is only $159,000, which is nowhere near $300,000. No amount of spin can change it! I was there and heard her myself and the rest of her comments not in the clip. She was pitting one side of town against the other, period.

  29. Charles Peterson

    Sheila McNeil’s comments illustrate perfectly a point I’ve been trying to make. Even under the best of circumstances (and these are the worst of circumstances) toll roads are a bad idea and not in the public interest for this basic reason: they divide us from each other. The basic rule used by rulers of all stripes for time immemorial is: divide and conquer. Once the toll roads are built, there will be incentives for people to think only of their own needs…keeping their own tolls down…while ignoring the tolls applied to others. What we, the general public, need to do is stick to the opposite track, using the basic principle of solidarity: a toll applied to one of us is a toll applied to all of us. If we allow ourselves to be divided, we lose the power we have to resist tyranny, and we can be played off one against the other.

  30. Ed Hanson

    To the poster that thinks McNeil’s small salary should justify her position and remarks… wake up.

    Watch the video clip of that town meeting again and “listen” to the inflection of her voice and her insistent tone debating the man speaking to her. She has positioned and defined herself as the authority on the information she is incorrectly spewing out of her mouth. It’s evident that she is, at least to herself, sure of what she is saying. Intent is not merely based on your words, but the manner in which your words were offered and the heart of the person offering those words. Sheila will have to ask herself, and get real honest about it, what was my motive in all of what I said that evening?

    Grace… hmmmm. Yes, I agree we should practice grace giving because that’s what God does for us all. But, we are also all accountable for our transgressions, to God, and there are consequences for falling short of Godly behavior. Grace is the redemptive measure that God affords us all in our salvation, but we are still accountable for the our transgression in His eyes. You cannot speak of grace and not look at accountability. Once we become accountable, then and only then, can we move into the redemptive grace that God affords. It’s like taking communion at church. Would you actually approach God’s alter and take communion without knowing that reconciliation took place for those things that were less than Godly the weeks prior? There are many so called “Christians” that like to think they’re walking into redemption by attending a church service on Sundays and taking communion and then acting like heathens Monday through Saturday without accountability. Grace giving is part of a Christian lifestyle that is practiced everyday of your life and for the rest of your life.

    I would also agree that some of the comments made about her are a bit harsh, but the Lord will deal with those people on His own terms. What’s relevant today and now are the comments McNeil made in a public forum that polarized a community. And, may I add, in a less than Godly manner. Less than Godly because her comments were based in deception. As a leader in the community she needs to have reserve in her words, and above all, have the facts before moving into a Q&A platform stirring up emotion.

    I think we should all understand that this should not be a witch hunt, rather a call to rally constituents in this community and take account for our active, or inactive, voting habits. You want to make a difference in this community, then get off you rear ends and make the vote. It’s like Home Owners platforms in neighborhoods. 80% of the time you’ll have 20% of the neighborhood community in those meetings complaining that something isn’t being done about the things that are wrong, yet the people that never show up at those meetings are the people that could care less about the authority, violate the covenants they agreed to uphold when they knowingly signed on the dotted line yet have the same desire to see the community function like a democracy. What kind of apathetic stupidity is that?

    All of what we speak of in any of these kinds of forums are the basic desires we all share to live in harmony with each other. The tragic irony is that people will always get in the way of what they most want… peace. I wonder why it’s so hard just to do the right thing. Grace. Yes, grace. I wonder if Sheila can just be honest with herself and take account in her heart in all of this. I wonder if she has maybe bought into who she thinks she is to this community and lost a bit of her “Godly” identity in her career. Surly we can all say that we want to believe in our political leaders.

    But, who is leading them?

  31. Timothy birt

    Anyone who has travelled up east or midwest, knows that toll roads are very incovenient. They do not help alleviate congestion. In fact they make it worse. Case in point, I wonder if this lady has ever driven across the Deleware Bridge at rush hour. If you want to get from Jersey to Deleware which is about a 35 minute drive. It will take take you an hour and 45 mins if you leave any later than 3:30. Why? The backed up traffic at the toll roads. They amount to nothing but a traffic light. Just a reason to stop traffic. After driving in places like Jersey and Chicago I can find no use for toll roads here San Antonio. If they want to make Toll roads that are optional. Hey go right ahead. But dont make us pay to use roads that are already paid for. Use the money u already have to build bridges at 281 and you have solved a major traffic problem. Also someone convince these people to do the same thing at Braun and 1604. I drive across town all the time and these are the two worst spots on our roads right now. They can easily be fixed without toll roads.

  32. Trinidad Marroquin

    More and more idiots and morons (who call themselves community leaders) who are disconnected from the average citizen keep pushing ideas and policies prevalent in Socialist countries. If we the average citizen don’t take back our God given country from these moronic elites we’re going to end up like the Soviet Union…a corrupt government leading the poor and impoverished citizen…where there are no middle class members!!

    When is this country going to wake up!! It might be too late so take care of yourself!

  33. r araujo-murray

    Ms. Mcneil is so misinforming her people on the eastside…. I live in the
    downtown area and for 17yrs I drove down 281 nb into comal county every
    weekend in order for my children to visit their grandmother. I drive down
    nb 281 at every sport season soccer, basketball, baseball to take my son to games that are played in ne side school gyms. I also enjoy going to stores
    on the NW, NE, SW and SE sides of town. To say that tolls will not
    affect residents of San Antonio that do not live in that community is a out right lie. As taxpayerrs and voters we owe it to ourselves to become more aware of language used to confuse us at the ballot box. Until then we will
    always allow district boundaries to divide us and defeat us.

  34. Trish Sablic

    We are already so far down the road to a totalitarian regime that it scares the hell out of me. As citizens, we really can’t claim that this country belongs to us anymore. The government takes one-third to one-half of everything we make and taxes our property every year…hell, we even have to pay a tax on our dog every year. When did we ever agree to have this leviathan of a government that controls or meddles in nearly every aspect of our lives?
    No doubt there will also be cameras on these toll roads so every detail of our comings and goings will be recorded.

  35. Brooksie Smith

    I am a resident on the east side and her comments about “those people” are made by her to “these people” on the east side. I worked and lived for years on the north side. I worked at Advanced Micro Devices and was an assistant manager for Carl’s Jr hamburgers. I am a graduated of IWC. I am ashamed of her comments. She does not return phone calls because she has so little time before her second term (and last term I might add) on the city counsel. McNeil’s agenda is her and getting in another position of power. I needed her to help us with saving a good “Recognized” school that was being closed. S.A.I.S.D. instead wants to send them into a area of prostitutes, drug dealers and sixty-seven registered sex offenders.
    So if she does not care about the safety and welfare of children why do you think she would care about “these” and “those” people as a whole.

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