There’s a reason why they call it “dirty politics.” Tollers Frank Corte and Chico Rodriguez had to lie to voters and tell them they never voted for toll roads in order to get re-elected. To take a line from Frank Corte’s ads, I guess if you tell a lie long enough, people believe it. Corte didn’t just vote for one or two toll road bills, but MANY toll road bills, yet his radio ads, mailers, and phone calls all told the voters of District 122 the LIE that he had not voted for toll roads. He also said he voted for a moratorium on all toll roads, even though it was moratorium only on private toll contracts, and NOTHING has stopped TxDOT’s toll road frenzy since they announced 87 toll projects following the moratorium’s passage!
Then, Commissioner Chico Rodriguez who voted to toll at the MPO at least twice, in January of 2007 and December of 2007, also lied to voters telling them he’s never voted for toll roads. Both Lyle Larson and Quico Canseco said they were anti-toll, and the same was true in the Nathan Macias vs. Doug Miller race (though Miller took money from Zachry and was fine with the RMA tolling our existing highway 281 as long as it was “local control”).
So there can be no doubt that the toll issue shaped the debate and even became the center of the debate in all the hottest races in our region. Even though the candidates we endorsed lost, the issue itself (if you listened to what the politicians told the public), WON! All the candidates had to say they were anti-toll to win (even though, sadly, the liars won). Our message has gotten out: no one wants these toll roads, especially with gas prices rising unabated, the middle class disappearing, and wages stagnant for a decade.
The message is also clear that politicians can expect opponents and a massive motivated grassroots uprising if they choose the wrong side of the toll issue. Change is coming and the politicians can choose the easy way or the hard way to listen to the citizens (easy way: stop toll roads in office; hard way: face organized opposition in your next campaign for re-election).
Even though elections come and go, this issue will not die! We will not tolerate the conversion of our freeways to tollways, the loss of our freedom to travel, corrupt politicians and lobbyists, nor the misuse of our taxpayer money to push the MOST EXPENSIVE transportation tax….TOLLS!