Link to hit pieces here.
It’s always interesting to watch politicians come unhinged when they’re about to lose their lock on power. There is not ONE single factual error in my column supporting Tony Kosub against Frank Corte, yet to read Corte’s hit piece today, you’d think I was the Great Deceiver himself, the devil with ten horns coming out of my head. Wow, such vitriol and hatred over a housewife turned activist whose mission it is to protect the taxpayer from getting fleeced. Who knew one could get under their skin so easily? Note to Frank Corte: you’re running against Tony Kosub, not Terri Hall, perhaps you should focus on your actual opponent.
Well, allow the TRUTH SQUAD to clear things up…
First of all, it is Frank Corte who is lying about his voting record.
“I have never endorsed any toll project — statewide or local. I have never voted to toll any freeway.”
Who’s he kidding? Frank Corte voted for these toll road bills: HB 3588, HB 2702, and SB 792, to name a few. SB 792 was no moratorium, it was Rick Perry’s counterfeit moratorium that unleashed market-based tolls that will gouge Texans with the highest toll tax the “market will bear” (read what Express-News columnist, Jaime Castillo, had to say about market-based tolls here). SB 792 was so full of exceptions and loopholes, that TxDOT announced 87 new toll projects within weeks of the bill passing. Anyone who honestly believes toll projects have been put on hold in this state has had a break with reality.
Also, SB 792 only put a moratorium on certain types of private toll contracts. All projects old and new can and will move forward as public toll projects, and still without a vote of the people (since 281 and 1604 were conveniently grandfathered in).
Second, toll rates on toll roads opening all over the state of Texas average 25 cents to 60 cents a mile. Though the published toll rate for 281 is 17 cents a mile, they fail to mention the 25 cents it’ll cost you to get on and off the toll road and it also fails to take into account paying tolls on any of the 36 miles planned on 1604 or the nearly 60 cent toll to use the interchange at 281/1604. It also fails to factor in more than 73 miles of toll lanes all over Bexar County, including tolls on I-10, I-35, and Bandera Rd.
Then, when you factor in truck toll rates, 46 cents per mile, and the truck toll to use the interchange, at $1.15, the true cost to our families is nearly incalculable due to businesses passing on the cost of tolls to customers. We’ve already seen the price of food, goods, and services skyrocket with high gas prices, add tolls to the mix and it will be devastating!
Jim Reed’s calculation also assumes only one member of the household would be paying the tolls and that motorists would only use the lanes to go to work. What about shopping, dropping kids off to school, or medical appointments? When factoring in 2 commuters per household, just toll lanes on 281 alone adds up to $2,000-$4,000 a year PER FAMILY, as I stated. If that family has to take 1604, I-10 or the other toll lanes all over the northside, it’ll be far more than $2,000-$4,000 a year per family. That’s also not including paying tolls to travel to other Texas cities for work or pleasure. Toll lanes are saturating the Austin, Houston, and Dallas areas as well.
Lastly, there are two studies, one from a study conducted by a London-based consulting firm, Steer Davies Gleave, and one from Penn State that show toll roads push traffic to neighborhood streets due to people trying to avoid paying the toll. I would have included this level of detail if the Express-News had furnished me as much space as it did to Corte and Reed.
So who is lying to whom? You decide.
Focus: In response to Terri Hall
Re: “Rep.Corte on wrong side of toll road,” (Feb. 15)
One of the joys of being a citizen in a free nation is the right to complain about elected officials using inflammatory language, telling half-truths and slandering the character of the official without fear of retribution or consequences. One of the joys of being a U.S. Marine is protecting that right.
Having said that, Terri Hall’s misrepresentation of my position on toll roads has gone far enough.
It is time you learn the truth:
I have never endorsed any toll project — statewide or local.
I have never voted to toll any freeway. Additionally, it is a matter of record that I voted for both moratoriums on additional toll projects.
I oppose raising the “gas tax” and any attempt to create an income tax. Since being elected, I have consistently voted for limited government and tax cuts, including the 2006 tax cut which was the single largest since World War II.
The truth of the matter is Ms. Hall is intentionally deceiving the public in a dishonest attempt to get her handpicked candidate elected.
Ms. Hall may not like the fact that there are toll roads in Texas; that’s fine. But her campaign preys on the fact that you don’t know the truth about my record or my service to our community.
I was recently asked what the most important aspect is of my job as a state representative. Simply put, it is listening to you.
That is why I have always supported local control. It is why twice I voted for moratoriums to stop any new toll projects. And it is why I will file legislation to have local Regional Mobility Authorities elected to make them more responsive to the people they serve.
Terri Hall is certainly free to have her opinions; however she is not free to change facts.
To start with, she comments, “turning freeways into a network of toll roads.” Converting existing non-toll roads into toll roads is against Texas state law. State law requires the Alamo RMA to maintain the same number of non-toll lanes after a toll project is built as existed before the project started. That’s the plan for the U.S. 281 North toll project.
Second, “Toll roads will cost the average family $2,000-$4,000 a year in new taxes.” At the established $0.17 per mile, going approximately 8 miles on U.S. 281, from Sonterra Blvd. to the Bexar/Comal County Line, will cost a motorist, who chooses to go the entire route, $1.36 for a one-way trip.
Suppose you take that trip twice a day, you’ve spent $2.72 and avoided idling in traffic, burning gas, and increasing your own frustrations. Even assuming you drove that same way, every day, for 365 days, you will have spent under $1,000.
For far too long, Ms. Hall has thrown out figures without backing them up with the real numbers and the real impact.
She also neglects to mention it’s an individual choice on whether or not to take the toll lanes.
Third, “Studies show toll roads make neighborhood streets more congested.” I am not aware of any independent studies that arrive at that conclusion. Traffic will find the easiest route to go; that is what is happening today.
With new non-toll lanes, including improvements made to intersections along the U.S. 281 North Toll corridor, we are doing all we can to help improve the traffic condition for all drivers, not just the ones who choose to use the toll facility.
If you want to get the accurate information, and if you want to see the plans for U.S. 281 North, visit the Alamo RMA website, www.AlamoRMA.org.
Opinions are one thing but constantly changing and ignoring facts are quite another.
James R. Reed,
Chairman, Planning Committee
Alamo Regional Mobility Authority