Republicans put pro-toll plank in its platform despite massive grassroots uprising

Are you getting the feeling our politicians simply refuse to get the message the grassroots is sending? After hundreds of precincts and dozens of senate conventions passed anti-toll, anti-privatization, anti-market-based tolls, and anti-Trans Texas Corridor resolutions, thirty three members of the Republican state platform committee erased all their work in about 10 minutes.

The Trans Texas Corridor plank has strong wording in this year’s Republican platform, but the call to repeal the TTC legislation was removed from this year’s version. The 2006 version was: “Because there are issues of confiscation of private land, State and National sovereignty and other similar concerns, we urge the repeal of the Trans Texas Corridor legislation.”

The 2008 plank says:

“We emphatically oppose the Trans Texas Corridor in any form or manner. We call for a full investigation of any public official authorizing any form of eminent domain for the Trans Texas Corridor and foreign funding.”

There is also a call asking Congress to withdraw from the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the formation of the North American Union.

Republicans officially pro-toll tax

Then, the strong 2006 anti-toll plank (“We oppose tolls charged for traversing previously toll free roadways and disallow continued tolls except for maintenance on existing toll roads already paid for”) was replaced with this nebulous, awkwardly worded statement:

“We support the legitimate construction of toll roads in Texas, but we oppose converting existing state and federal roads to American-owned toll roads without voter approval.”

OKAY to build foreign-controlled toll roads?

This plank is strangely silent on foreign-controlled toll roads and seems to contradict the Trans Texas Corridor plank. By its silence on foreign-controlled toll roads, it allows such without voter approval. Also, no freeway should be converted to a toll road, period! It’s not something the public needs to vote on, it’s DOUBLE TAXATION and a money grab. It shouldn’t be done, EVER! Then note the pro-toll statement at the outset, “we support…toll roads in Texas.” Oh really? The grassroots sure don’t, especially when they’re paying $4 a gallon at the pump and spending nearly $100 to fill their gas tanks just to get to work!

Waste, fraud, abuse leave taxpayers in no mood for higher transportation taxes

They also don’t support them when TxDOT is wasting the taxpayers’ money on $20 million dollar earmarks to build a park in downtown Dallas and $18 million dollar rest stops equipped with free wi-fi, not to mention $9 million dollar propaganda campaigns pushing the TTC and toll roads down our throats. The taxpayers don’t support new toll taxes when the Legislature sees fit to siphon off nearly 50% of our gas taxes to non-transportation uses like tourism promotion and enhancing employee benefits in the Attorney General’s office.

The pro-toll special interest machine won out over the grassroots

So, when yours truly, among others, attempted to amend the platform to revert back to the previous planks. Here’s what happened. The Party had scarcely provided a copy of the new revised platform only an hour or so before bringing the platform to a vote. So few if any delegates had the chance to review the changes. None of the changes were notated, making deciphering any differences between this year’s and the 2006 platform near impossible. All the while, the delegates were voting on Party leadership with no time to review the platform thoroughly or even in a cursory manner.

Delegates wishing to amend the platform had to write out two copies of the proposed changes and bring them to the mic. By the time I had even one written, a call for a vote came from the floor ending all debate and the platform passed in less than 10 minutes. I wasn’t the only one chapped at this railroading. Another said from the mic, “if you were just going to rubber stamp the platform, why should we bother to travel from all over the state at our expense to come here in the first place?” The whole thing was a done deal before the grassroots knew what hit ’em.

The elitist, we-know-best leadership of the Republican Party has not only lost its way, its strong-arm railroading tactics have caused them to completely trample on the grassroots responsible for getting them elected in the first place. Thousands of Texans passed the anti-toll resolutions with unanimous support at their precincts and senate conventions. They sent a clear, unequivocal NO TOLL TAX message to the Party leadership only to be railroaded by 33 members of the platform committee doing the bidding of the Party elites under the spell of the road lobby, ala toller-in-chief Rick Perry. Not only does this not bode well for the November General Election, it gives any smart Democrat an open door to eviscerating Republicans as the pro-toll party wanting to levy the MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSPORTATION TAX upon Texans at a time of record high gas prices.

9 Replies to “Republicans put pro-toll plank in its platform despite massive grassroots uprising”

  1. Bob Allen

    I for one am a dyed-in-the-wool “conservative.” However, I am so disillusioned with the Republican Party on Texas issues, I am ready to vote for just abouit any Democrat that comes along. I’ve been told my whole life to vote because eveery vote counts, but alas not true. My vote doesn’t count for anything because I’m not one of the “elitists” mentioned in this story.

  2. Judy Bruton

    ok so how do we wake up Texans? We have property in Waller County very close to where they had the proprosed route for ttc69.

    What is the plan now that some of us seem to be “ok” at least for now but we ALL must remain vigilant. So what is the next step what are we going to do to get these people out of office? Ron Paul needs to stay in but i understand he has droped out of the race.

    What can we do?

  3. Hugh Ames

    As a delegate to the Republican Convention I can attest to a significant number of delegates opposed to the Trans Texas Corridor and the tolling of Texas roads. The platform committee position does not reflect the sentiments of many of the delegates and does NOT reflect my opposition.

  4. Rhonda Reichel

    PERRY SHOULD BE IMPEACHED….ALL THE SHEEPLE THAT VOTE FOR HIM DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HIM.
    I PRAY THAT HUTCHISON OR ANY OTHER CANDIDATE WHIPS THE SHORTS OFF HIM IN THE NEXT ELECTION.
    HE HAS BEEN A SCOURGE ON TEXAS TAX PAYERS AND THIS TOLL ROAD ABUSE IS SO TRANSPARENTLY CORRUPT I CAN’T SEE HOW ANYONE COULD SUPPORT HIM.
    WE SHOULD CLEAN HOUSE OF ALL THESE DELEGATES WHO OPPOSE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE BY VOTING FOR THESE TOLL ROADS AND SWAMP THEIR OFFICES WITH FAXES AND PHONE CALLS.
    THE DIRTY UNDERHANDED WAY THEY CONDUCTED THEMSELVES IN THIS ISSUE SHOULD BE REPRIMANDED AND THEY SHOULD BE THROWN OUT OF OFFICE.

  5. Lee

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Democrats to support lower taxes and less government. The Republicans may be leaning more left lately and abandoning their conservative base, but the Democrats are full blown socialists. They want equal results for unequal effort; universal healthcare, more public housing, more public transportation, gun control and anything that takes freedom, choice and opportunity away from you and places it in the governments hands. It just blows me away that there is any public support for this type of agenda. Who are these people that would vote for a Democrat. I think they must be the same people you see on Jaywalking on the Tonight Show.

  6. Kirk Overbey

    As Chairman of the 2008 Republican State Platform Committee, I must take issue with your interpretation of the TTC and toll road planks. While we chose different wording, the effect of the 2008 planks is no different in my view than the 2006 planks.

    As I read the planks side by side on your website, I fail to see the difference.

    I doubt there was even a small minority on the Platform Committee that supported the TTC in any way, shape, or form.

    To suggest the Republican Party of Texas has taken a significant shift is these issues is ludicrous. It just ain’t so!

  7. Patrick Smith

    Toll Roads – We support the legitimate construction of toll roads in Texas, but we oppose converting existing state and federal roads to American-owned toll roads without voter approval.

    To Whomever this concerns,

    I was one of the 32 members of the committee and was on the sub-committee that reviewed the submitted resolutions in regards to toll roads, heard testimony in sub-committee with regards to toll roads, and addressed the issue of toll roads in Texas. I can assure you I did no bidding nor speaking for the Party elites. I spoke for no road lobbies as you have suggested. I am an ANT in the grand scheme of the GOP in Texas. However, I see that problems exist and problems need to be solved and that was my purpose for asking for this assignment from my Senatorial District. If you look up the term Grassroots in the dictionary you will find my name. I help define grassroots.

    The Party has always supported privatization and economic gain! This is at the foundation of our basic beliefs. Our sub-committee discussions and testimony were very informative as to the toll road issues. We also realized that the State of Texas is facing a transportation issue. This issue cannot be solved without funds. I am not in favor of higher taxes! The sub-committee supported the fact that our current roads were already paid for with state and federal tax dollars; therefore, these roads could not be tolled.

    We also realized that some communities want to solve their traffic and transportation problems with toll roads. The party supports privatization; therefore, these communities should be allowed to build NEW toll roads to meet their needs. We added that in order for the New toll road to be built it must have voter approval.

    “Also, no freeway should be converted to a toll road, period!” The toll road plank is direct in saying NEW not converted.

    The full platform committee amended to add American-owned. The argument was that any toll roads should be owned by American operations. By no means did the platform committee send a message that we supported foreign owned toll roads. “This plank is strangely silent on foreign-controlled toll roads and seems to contradict the Trans Texas Corridor plank.” The foreign owned part of the toll road plank is covered in the Trans Texas Corridor plank of the platform. “This plank is strangely silent on foreign-controlled toll roads and seems to contradict the Trans Texas Corridor plank.” There is no contradiction, the two planks complement each other.

    Another argument that was considered in the sub-committee is that we are the Freedom of Choice party. Individuals have the freedom to make the choice as to what is in their own best interest. If they chose to drive and pay a toll then they do so by choice. If one choses to travel the non-tolled roads then they do so by choice.

    The possibility exist that the state could net enough with regards to NEW toll roads that the revenue could help pay for maintenance and operations on existing non-tolled roadways.

    As to the building of New toll roads. The prevision of local voter approval will derail most toll projects. If you wanted to toll a road from Dallas to Austin you would need voter approval all along the way to approve such a measure.

    I have heard very little in regards to proposals as to how we will solve the current and future transportation nightmares in certain areas of this state. With many more forthcoming into Texas in the future our problems will only get worse.

    By no means did this committee railroad anyone. The platform committee actually made it harder for toll roads to become a reality.

    Patrick Smith, SD1
    903-856-7929

  8. Charles Lindsey

    I mostly consider myself a republican, however, I remain, above all else, staunchly against any candidate from any party that supports toll roads. I will vote to oust any, and all, politicians in any forum solely on this one issue. If a candidate is too stupid to understand the significance of this issue then they have no place in government. As I have voted against Rick Perry and any of his cronies in the past I will continue to do so and support any candidate from any party that is anti-toll. There’s no doubt in my mind who’s behind this plank in the republican party, Gov Perry please take a bow.

  9. Esteban Erik Stipnieks

    Bonilla getting his behind thrown out of DC was not a big enough clue. Hello Republicans we are your hard working, homschooling, church going, family providing base. You ignore us and wonder why you can not raise funds.

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