Nichols pushes propaganda to convince public he's banned conversions

Link to article here. Note Nichols’ words very carefully: “It ensures that the free lanes, even though they’re moved off to the side, still have the same traffic flow they had before the toll lanes were built“…that means you get no improvements to any freeways. If your highway has stoplights at the crossovers causing congestion now (like 281, 1604, 290, and 59), his bill, SB 220, is a license to come in and convert your freeway into a toll road and leave you access roads as the only non-toll road.

Nichols’ wants to exploit freeways where the “traffic flow” is artificially congested by stoplights as a way to make Texans pay an extra tax to use highways they’ve already built and paid for. Swapping highway lanes with frontage roads is unfair and unacceptable! The taxpayers will NOT tolerate this DOUBLE TAX scheme and we MUST fix this bill or KILL IT! What else can we expect from a former Transportation Commissioner who helped write the FIRST bill that supposedly banned tolls on existing freeways. Read our press release that reveals this new loophole in SB 220.

State Senate Moves Quickly on Toll Road Restrictions
Bill to ban tolls on existing roads passes…in two minutes!

Friday, March 27, 2009

WOAI newsradio

Do Texans hate toll roads, or what?

1200 WOAI news reports the Texas Senate Thursday night passed a measure prohibiting TxDOT from converting existing free roads into toll roads, after debate lasting less than two minutes!

That’s absolutely the speed of light for state lawmakers, who have been known to debate all day on minor points of language on obscure bill substitutes.

State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) says the measure also assures motorists that no barriers will ever be placed in the way of the use of existing roads.  Some people have expressed concern that the ‘free lanes’ promised by toll road builders will suddenly become clogged with stop signs, stop lights, and other annoying impediments designed specifically to convince motorists to pay the tolls.

“It ensures that the free lanes, even though they’re moved off to the side, still have the same traffic flow they had before the toll lanes were built,” Nichols said.  “This way you won’t have stop signs, red lights, and things like that.”

Nichols says this bill makes certain that no existing road which currently is free to motorists will never be converted to toll lanes.

A 1200WOAI news report last year of a plan by TxDOT to ask Congress for permission to ‘buy back’ Interstate highways so tolls could be charged on them created a firestorm of protest, and prompted TxDOT to withdraw the proposal.

Many Senators said they have been listening to their constituents complain non-stop about toll roads for the past two years, which is why approval of the bill was so quick.

The bill now goes to the Texas House, where debate may last for…three minutes.