This excerpt from the story pretty well sums up our thoughts on this obvious attempt to railroad UNWANTED toll projects upon taxpayers by removing genuine legal challenges, the only method they listen to and the only method that has worked so far:
“There’s a reason why they have public comment and review periods,” Hall said. “It is important to give the public a chance to review these things and scrutinize it.”
Some environmental documents are hundreds or thousands of pages long, Hall said, and can’t be digested in 60 days.
“The best way to not have to worry about litigation is not about keeping things out of court — it’s to do the documents right, do right by the public and get community consensus so that there isn’t any opposition.”
Proposal would sideline road-blocking lawsuits
In San Antonio, it would mean swift action in suits filed against toll projects.
Thompson, a lawyer, said he planned to e-mail Bexar County’s congressional delegation after Thursday’s meeting of the agency to seek support for adding such language to federal transportation legislation that Congress is considering. Thompson called lawsuits filed to block highway construction “the bane of so many projects.”
Currently, federal law offers a 180-day window for lawsuits to be filed once an environmental study is approved by the Federal Highway Administration. Thompson’s proposal would cut that to 60 days and require plaintiffs to accept binding arbitration. Resolution would be required within 180 days, Thompson said.
Read the rest of the article here.
We the citizens have a right to hold our elected and appointed officials responsible for their actions. We work very hard mainly in the private sector to pay our taxes. If we don’t we loose our homes, business, land, etc. Yet, these some folks – most who are appointed civil servants which are almost impossible to fire – deliberately and intentionally mis represent or fail to provide any financial information to the public – prior to spending our tax money. This is especially true of our road system. For every $1 of vehicle or gas tax received $.00 – .05 cents goes to school (ok by me) – .50 cents for Texas Department of Public Safety ( this is Texas State Troopers which is a part of the justice or law enforcement section of our budget and I think should come from another funding source) – .20 cents on average for past years – approximately varies by year/project but definitely there (for Federal/State roads – MUST have them approve all funding, so they take there cut or we don’t get our roads fixed or put in – so we get improved cemetary/park roads as well has new parks, buildings, etc. Again, the Federal/State governments should pay these totally themselved and NOT touch gas/vehicle sticker tax revenue for this. John & Jane Doe Tax Payers pay $1.00 and actual get .25 cents ($1.00-.05-.50-.20 =.25)or less for actual road repairs, improvement and expansion plus new roads. To me that is FRAUD, MISREPRESENTATION and THEFT BY DECEPTION. To me this is corruption done in backrooms that only benefits a very few – the politicians who get contributions from these companies, there normally are ONLY 3 bidders (not open, local fair bidding for the best price from a LOCAL reliable company – no these firms are normally ALL from AUSTIN, TX and well connected), major decisions are done behind closed doors – the public is given information from an ILLEGALLY hired Public Relations Firm (again paid by us the tax payer through taxes) to get us all excited about new/improved roads. Yet, at the last minute, they have to be tolled! We the public were never told these roads weren’t going to be FREE. Since we kept fighting with lawsuits and through elected officials – they slipped it into the highway construction plans to require tolling.
I oppose any limits placed on the average citizen to get financial information and full disclosures including a FULL COMPLETE environmental impact study before starting.
Many times, Texas Dept of Transportation and other appointed officials like to by pass or do only some of this impact study. WHY? These studies alert various land/home owners that either they will be receiving notices of Eminient Domain or highways/roads they never dreamed of will now be behind their backyard. A once fairly quiet neighborhood, now has many fewer homes and lots of traffic noise making it nearly impossible to sell or rent near the prices most have purchased or currently hold mortgages on these homes. The government in my opinion/experience normally pays land/home owners about 60% of Current Fair Market Value that forces many hardships on the owners. With many older folks – their home is their most valuable asset. How do you find a similiar place in the same area with much less money? You don’t – normally, you either move into a rental apartment or much smaller place in a less expensive neighborhood. That causes many people financial, emotional, physical and spiritual hardships as well as their family and friends.
There is already too much power in un elected officials and government agencies now. We the tax payer need better means to fight those who are not only justifying and keeping their jobs but getting more money, pay, benefits, etc when most of us are fighting to either keep a job or get a job.
Let us keep Texas FREE WAYS for better economics, more businesses and better lives for all both present and future generations. Secondly, these roads have a rippling effect on many nearby counties that either can build them up or cripple them like toll roads do.
In the face of this GREAT near Depression – I want less taxes, and more fiscally responsible representatives both elected, appointed, civil servants, etc.
Let’s keep what we have the ability to file lawsuits to preserve FREEDOM!
To do other wise would be another way to end what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others founded this country on. In my opinion, each major road project – had been and currently should be on the ballot before anything is done. That way – it forces Texas Politicians, Officials and businesses to be honest, fair and we the PEOPLE are well informed of what we are getting for our hard earned & paid taxes.