SA Toll Party storms City Council…tolling authority engaging in cover-up

Jim Reed of the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority tried to pass off their illegal $500,000 loan from the City with a red herring. He says the transaction is a typical interlocal agreement between the county and city. Guess what? Mr. Reed knows it, Chairman Bill Thornton knows it…the ARMA is NOT part of the county. They were created with STATE law and are a STATE agency. Though Bexar County petitioned the Transportation Commission to open an RMA and appoints its Board, the RMA is a STATE entity. They go to great lengths to make the PUBLIC think they’re a local agency, a local voice.

Not so, the Governor appoints the Chairman for crying out loud. Don’t fall for the smoke and mirrors games being played by these professional politicians. They’re engaged in illegal activity and they’d be smart to stop trying to cover it up, since that’s another illegal offense that Mr. Scooter Libby got jailtime for.

Mayor Garza made the release of the $500,000 loan to the RMA contingent upon the City getting a seat on the Board, which would require a legislative remedy that never happened. Reed also said he’s the City’s representative on the Board. We’ll see if they can show documents to back-up that claim…

San Antonio Toll Party Comments to the Mayor and Council –
In March 2005, the City authorized and has since funded a $500,000 illegal loan to the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority. They know it’s illegal since one of our supporters brought this issue before this Council in October 2005. The RMA scrambled to try and find a way to pay it back. At their March 8, 2006 Board Meeting, they voted to explore the option of selling bonds to pay back the loan. It’s still yet to be re-paid.

This loan was contingent upon the City receiving a seat on the Board. This has never happened. What are you going to do about it, what is Susan Reid going to do to get this money back and get a seat on the Board? This is taxation without representation and smacks of the kind of corruption we’re seeing at TxDOT.

Now I’d like to shift our focus to the poor planning that has largely created the congestion we’re told is the reason for tolls…

The poor planning on the part of our City and the Highway Department (TxDOT) has made it nearly impossible to get around. It seems both have no problem tearing up every road we take to go to work, taking months, even years to put it back together.

I’d like to remind what former City Planner, Dave Pasley said in an editorial in Dec. of 2005:
“There are deep flaws in the city’s political and development practices.

Ten years ago there was excess capacity on U.S. 281 and Loop 1604. Today there is gridlock. How is it possible to screw up these two highway corridors so badly in just 10 years? How can a city without enough traffic to warrant an HOV lane suddenly have so much congestion it needs a toll road?

The short answer is that we have not provided for any connectivity.”

He goes on and suggests solutions, but that‘s the problem, no one is listening to any other solutions other than toll roads. We’re tired of more of the same.

In the City Bond, Props 1 & 2, there are 17 projects you plan to tear up all over the city without any identified funds to complete them. At public meetings, they said you could use a “private” partner to get the remaining funds needed to finish these projects. THERE IS NO FIRM PARTNER TO FUND THESE PROJECTS, only a potential list. It’s written into the bond that if no one steps up, the City will have to come up with the remaining funds…now at the time this bond was written, it was TxDOT’s intent to use a CDA private toll contract to extract toll taxes from the traveling public on EXISTING highways 281 and 1604. The toll slush fund was to commence soon. It’s not hard to conclude where this “extra” money to complete these projects might come from. But since that CDA is off the table, and TxDOT says there’s no money, the RMA has no money, and the MPO gets their money from TxDOT, who’s gonna finish these roads? The taxpayers fear once again that the City will come to the them with another bond or property tax hike if we want your roads put back together again!

With this sort of bad planning, the City is actually creating congestion. We’re constantly being told TxDOT’s solution to “congestion” is toll roads. It’s not hard to connect the dots as to where this may be headed.

We’re asking people not to support this particular bond for these reasons. We need to say “No” to long-term debt to pay for necessities when the City engages in corporate welfare like giving $800,000 to a PRIVATE airline for ADVERTISING and $515 million in tax breaks to one of the world’s biggest billionaires, Bill Gates, in the Microsoft deal. You voted to give OUR tax money to support Joe Krier’s San Antonio Mobility Coalition that represents 70 highway related companies that advocate tolls, as well as the San Antonio Free Trade Alliance that’s advocating for the Trans Texas Corridor.

I’ll close with the MPO…
The City’s voting block on the MPO has thwarted the PEOPLE’S opposition and BLOCKED our ability to get the ORIGINAL gas tax plan installed on 281. We will not accept this.

San Antonio roads are NOT for sale, we won’t stand for taxation without representation, an unresolved illegal transaction, nor will this issue or the appointments to the MPO be ignored. You can no longer blame the Legislature, when you CAN control where our gas taxes go.

Many on this council and the Mayor will be facing the voters in just two days. We the PEOPLE will not be ignored, the will of the people will not be thwarted. Look no further than the passage of a private toll moratorium by 139-1 in the House and 27-4 in the Senate as evidence. It’s abundantly clear that the people of Texas are dead set against this shift to tolls and the Trans Texas Corridor. San Antonio is unique in being affected by both.

President Ronald Reagan said, “We the people tell the government what to do; it does not tell us. We the people are the driver; the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which we the people tell the government what it is allowed to do. We the people are free.”

We know there are no free roads, we do pay a host of taxes for roads, but we call them freeways for a reason. Our freedom of movement, our freedom of travel, is being taken away without a public vote. And “We the PEOPLE” intend to change that. We hope to work with the new Mayor and new Council to right what’s gone wrong.