SAMCO promises PR campaign to push tolls: "The cavalry is coming!"

Both Terrell McCombs and the San Antonio Mobility Coalition (Joe Krier’s SAMCo) have been running around asking for money from the BIG spenders in town for a PR campaign to push tolls. Guess what? SAMCo is partially funded with your TAX money, so what they’re doing is taxpayer-funded lobbying and it needs to stop NOW!

Vic Boyer, SAMCo’s Executive Director sent out the email below to supporters recently and said this of the coming PR campaign to push tolls on a public who clearly doesn’t want them at yesterday’s RMA meeting: “The cavalry is coming!” (listen here) Hmmm…Whose cavalry? Not the cavalry known as a public vote to bury these toll plans once and for all….no, they won’t allow a little thing like accountability to the voters to take place. How ’bout a cavalry of elected officials to protect the public from this tax grab…no, the highway lobby will see to it that won’t happen either. The promised coming tidal wave of billboards, radio ads, and direct mail pieces will be a massive public misinformation campaign. This is nothing more than the highway lobby kicking it into high gear as the GOP did (Read article about it here.) to push the selling of a public toll road in Indiana to Cintra-Macquarie, the same two foreign companies bidding on our toll starter system on 281/1604!

Oh, and Mr. Boyer mentioned in SAMCO’s 2006-2007 Strategic Plan that a Bexar County employee, Leilah Powell, is heading up a “working group” to frame the message of this campaign. More taxpayer-funded lobbying. Had enough? Read the first article in a series in the Express-News about lobbyist influence peddling in Texas, including lobbying against the taxpayer and consumer here.

Time to donate to the cause, folks. If you know of those with the means to give generously, send ’em to our donate page!

Vic Boyer’s email…

SAMCo Members and Partners:

I want to personally thank everyone who took time to
provide testimony on the proposed US 281 toll lanes
the past two evenings and who participated in
Wednesday’s South Chamber toll debate. A few

1) Outstanding job by Bill Thornton and Joe Krier at
Wednesday’s debate. Definitely kept making the point
that the Toll Party has no alternative plan!

2) Great editorial by David Hendricks (attached) and
somewhat more balanced coverage by the news media than
has been the case in recent weeks.

3) Turnout at each public meeting was about two
hundred, perhaps three-quarters being against tolling
judging by the applause. Much less than the 400-500
that attended similar public meetings two years ago
(also at Reagan High School) on the toll starter
system. The Toll Party failed to generate the kind of
numbers we anticipated.
Opposition still appears to
be primarily from individuals who drive in from the
north of San Antonio.

4) SAMCo’s testimony is attached.

5) Thank you Terrell McCombs for handling the media at
both events.

6) Thank you Greater Chamber, Hispanic Chamber, North
Chamber, and Real Estate Council for your
contributions and testimony.

7) Thank you Leroy Alloway for all the prep work for
the debate.

8) Individuals can still provide supportive comments!
I’ve attached a PDF of the comment card that can be
mailed or faxed back within 10 days following the
hearing. Please distribute to friends, employees,
business associates.

Again, thanks.


Here was my response to Mr. Boyer’s break with reality:

281 Meetings –
As usual, you underestimate our influence. If you think 550 people (See Express-News article stating 550 people attended meetings.) means these meetings weren’t well-attended, then nothing I say can sway you. Plus, the number of people attending these public meetings has little to do with the actual number of people opposed to this project and you know it. We add members daily from all over Bexar County (over 80% of our membership lives in Bexar County). Those who spoke out against the toll plans were residents in the corridor and some from other parts of Bexar County. Only some lived in Bulverde/Spring Branch. Also, many folks are not comfortable with public speaking and will always defer to other methods of communication. We’re 2,500 strong and we’re working stiffs whose time is scarce and can’t necessarily make these meetings. We also know it was no coincidence TxDOT announced the cancellation of the Zachry contract days before the public meetings to try and fool the public into thinking the toll plans were off the table. Most folks have already surmised TxDOT ignores the public comment so we’ll submit our comments through other avenues like email rather than waste our time at the meetings.

Hendricks article-
If you call a biased commentary like David Hendricks’ puff piece (Link to this “article” here.) for the road lobby balanced reporting, then perhaps you need to look-up the word “commentary” since it has nothing to do with objectivity or balance. It’s opinion, period.

Seems you attended a different debate than we did since we repeatedly offered non-toll solutions, particularly the ORIGINAL FUNDED PLAN for 281! You can claim the opposite to your membership, but it doesn’t change the reality that the pro-toll camp has no arguments, no studies, nor research to support why we should pay a toll for a road and improvement plan that’s ALREADY PAID FOR nor anything to justify that paying twice as much to build a toll road is the solution to not having the funds to build a free road. In fact, the arguments your camp makes aren’t even true. It’s not a user based tax and our presentation proved it.

When every toll plan on the books uses gas taxes; it’s not a user tax. When TxDOT has admitted ON CAMERA and elsewhere that they plan to use toll revenues from 281 to build toll lanes on 1604; that’s not a user based tax. And we both know, TxDOT is far from being out of money. In fact, their budget grew from $6.1 to $7.5 billion from 2004 to 2005! Last year’s federal highway bill has become the poster-child for government waste and overspending with 6,000 earmarks including a bridge to nowhere in Alaska and a parking garage for a local PRIVATE university!

Mr. Alloway needs to do some better research if this was the best you could do. TxDOT’s own records show they are sitting on funds and withholding them to build double tax toll roads. It’s misplaced priorities and overcharging us for new construction (which only benefits your membership) that’s led to this mess. I have more and more folks in the private sector business community sharing with me on the record what our group of concerned citizens already knows: that TxDOT pays 2-3 times what the private sector pays their contractors.

We look forward to the truth continuing to reach the fine citizens of this region. The elites at the top always underestimate ordinary citizens and would prefer to believe we’re a bunch of out-of-towners stirring up trouble in Bexar County. We’re thankful you underestimate us as you prop up your plans with straw man arguments that will ultimately fail.

Good Day!