A broad coalition of conservative grassroots leaders across Texas joined together to ask Governor Greg Abbott, Lt Gov Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan, and Senate and House Transportation Committee members to support their top two pro-taxpayer toll road reforms this session. Removing tolls from the road once the debt is retired and toll collection/billing reform to cap outrageous toll fines and fees and decriminalize an unpaid toll bill, top the list for the session. Nearly 170 different grassroots leaders/influencers joined Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) and Texans for Toll-free Highways (TTH) in calling for these priorities to pass this session.
When TxDOT has put over two million Texas drivers into collections over unpaid toll bills, it’s way past time to cap fines and fees and stop impounding cars, blocking vehicle registration and making ordinary citizens criminals over toll unpaid bills that often accumulate in error or through gimmicks used by toll agencies to rack up fines that far exceed the toll actually owed. Also, with drivers reaching toll fatigue more than 5 years ago and facing the realities of a pandemic-induced down economy, now more than ever Texas drivers deserve to know the end date on paying tolls on the state’s 28 different toll systems and have insurance against these systems expanding forever into perpetuity (which actually violates the Texas Constitution Art. I, Sec. 26). Just as the Cesar Chavez (El Paso) and Camino Colombia (Laredo) toll roads had the tolls removed, so should the state’s other toll roads. This hidden runaway tax scheme must end!
TURF and TTH’s complete legislative agenda for the session can be found here.
Read the coalition letter here.
Rather than remove the tolls, TxDOT and toll agencies obligate surplus revenues from a road (or road segment) that is actually paid off in order to secure bonds on another road or segment. These agencies employ multi-leveraging schemes and accounting gimmicks to tie into one big toll “system.”When governmental entities have the power to keep adding more and more toll lanes to their “system,” they deceptively construct a scheme whereby the public is told the original road or segment is never truly paid off. System financing ensures tolls will stay in place longer than necessary because toll agencies are allowed to continue to obligate toll revenues for other projects in perpetuity – a blatantly unconstitutional act forced upon Texans by governmental entities.