Toll Party editorial on Hwy 46 expansion

Link to article here.

Texas 46 expansion doesn’t need to be massive

Published September 26, 2006

I don’t believe anyone is against making Texas 46 more safe and less congested. It’s how to do it that’s up for debate.

The project went from four lanes in April to six lanes at a meeting in June. Not even U.S. 281 has six lanes in Comal County. Many people at the Texas Department of Transportation meeting in June expressed concern about the increasing number of trucks traveling on Texas 46, and also stated a six-lane expansion is overkill and will only encourage more truck traffic between Interstates 10 and 35 to bypass congestion in San Antonio.

A study sponsored by TxDOT clearly recommends that TxDOT make Texas 46 the preferred alternate truck route to Loop 1604, particularly for hazardous cargo. The county and city of Bulverde must act to prevent any hazardous cargo from being transported through a community that’s largely dependent on wells.

The Transportation Commission meeting minutes from November 2005 show that TxDOT repeatedly refers to Texas 46 as an “outer loop of San Antonio.” Citizens don’t want Texas 46 to be an outer loop of San Antonio, and especially not for hazardous cargo.

TxDOT Area Engineer Greg Malatek stated at the June 20 meeting that they were not making Texas 46 a bypass or outer loop of San Antonio, and yet the Texas Toll Party found evidence in a freight study and in the Transportation Commission meeting minutes that TxDOT intends to make Texas 46 an outer loop of San Antonio, a possible hazardous cargo route, and hence, a major truck and freight thoroughfare between I-10 and I-35. TxDOT is not being honest with citizens.

The majority of the problem on Texas 46 in the Bulverde area is school traffic. TxDOT should be working with the city on an access management plan and needs to pull the school traffic off the highway rather than raise people’s property taxes to expand a highway that has traffic issues only during certain hours. We can improve safety on Texas 46 without making it six lanes.

Simply install left turn lanes, passing lanes and right-turn lanes for safe access to homes, businesses and schools where needed and expand to four lanes in key areas. Transportation experts, including a study by TxDOT conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, have found that expanding a highway only induces more traffic and driving. Jumping to six lanes almost guarantees rampant, unbridled growth and development that will change the face of the Hill Country and our way of life.

Lastly, the toll revenue section of the contract needs to be removed or reworded to allow a public vote. It’s TxDOT’s shift to tolls and its obvious allegiance to the road lobby (who wants to pave the maximum amount of lanes) instead of to the taxpayers that’s causing such a public uproar. We can no longer trust what they tell us. If it’s not in writing, they’ve said they plan to do whatever they want, and even when it’s in writing, they’ve done the opposite.