Terry Brechtel and I were asked to make presentations to the Board of the San Antonio Manufacturers Association today. Each side was given 15 minutes to present (though she took close to 10 minutes of extra time).
Here’s a few of the blatant falsehoods Ms. Brechtel told this group of businessmen:
1) She said the RMA is a subdivision of Bexar County. Not true, they’re a subdivision of the STATE created by HB 3588 toll legislation (See first page of Comptroller’s report on RMAs where it states clearly they’re established by the STATE legislature in 2003.). This is an effort to give the illusion of local control.
2) She said toll lanes were NOT being studied for I-10 when they are (see news article here that clearly states they are Link here. ).
3) She says it would take a 36 cent local gas tax increase just to fund entire Loop 1604 and 281 improvements. Hogwash! Our entire federal and state highway systems were built with our current 38.4 cents in federal and state gas taxes, so I fail to see how one project, 47 miles of toll lanes, on EXISTING FREEways (right of way already purchased and nearly already completely graded) requires a 36 cent gas tax increase! The problem isn’t lack of funds, but being overcharged! The toll starter system began with a cost of $450 million, then went up to $650 to $850, to $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion in just 3-4 months’ time last summer! Perhaps the remedy is to scale the project back to just what’s needed, leave the existing lanes where they are (instead of bulldoze them to make way for extra toll lanes than originally planned), build it as free lanes, get rid of the $54 million of toll equipment, and reduce the 25-35% administration cost of collecting tolls!
4) She also distributed the doctored photos that make it appear as though the new toll lanes will be built in the existing median of 281 and Loop 1604 without disturbing the existing lanes. Not true! Our supporters went out an measured the existing median on 281. It’s 38 feet wide. Standard lanes in TxDOT’s own documents show one lane is 12 feet wide. Six lanes (72 feet) cannot fit into a 38 foot median!
The lies, deception, and half truths come from one side of the toll road fence, and it ain’t from ours!