Tolls still on table for interchange at 281/1604

Link to Express-News article here. Link to WOAI news story here.

Trying to have it both ways…

“It is not going to be a toll project,” RMA Chair Bill Thornton told the Express-News. On the SAME day, Thornton told WOAI radio, “One of the contingencies that TxDOT has tied to that money, though, is that it be done as a toll project.”

It’s no wonder the public can’t get a straight answer from these agencies…perhaps the old adage fits here: if their lips are moving, they’re lying!

THEN, in the same Express News article…

“…the ramps would link to both the existing freeway lanes and eventually the toll lanes.” – Clay Smith, TxDOT

So which is it, fellas? You can’t both be right! A skeptical public knows better, you will toll these roads even if they’re paid for unless lawmakers rein it in!

Crammed 1604 point might not need tolls
By Patrick Driscoll

Within four years, motorists could be whooshing over long-awaited interchange ramps at U.S. 281 and North Loop 1604, past what today is one of San Antonio’s worst traffic snarls.

And thanks to a federal jolt of money coming this way, the ramps would not be tolled, as recent plans have called for.

“Shock of shocks. It is not going to be a toll project,” said Bill Thornton, chairman of the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority, an agency initially created five years ago to build toll road projects. “We look for all methods of financing that we can find.”

The Metropolitan Planning Organization, which oversees how federal transportation dollars are spent in Bexar County, voted unanimously Monday to use local and state funds from the $787 billion stimulus package to build four of the eight planned interchange connectors.

The $140 million project tops a list of seven recommendations being forwarded to the state, including an $8 million plan to reconfigure U.S. 281 intersections north of Loop 1604 to temporarily loosen traffic knots until a better fix is found.

The four interchange ramps at Loop 1604 target the junction’s heaviest traffic, connecting northbound U.S. 281 to both directions of the loop and  linking both directions of the loop to southbound U.S. 281. Construction could start within a year and finish by the end of 2012, with the improvements carrying an estimated 50,000 vehicles a day after opening.

Drivers would get to skip over the notorious traffic signals and frontage roads that tie up traffic today.

“It’s horrible,” said Rick Garza, who sometimes fights the traffic while delivering meals. “I know we can’t work miracles, but something can help.”

Critics of plans to toll 47 miles of U.S. 281 and Loop 1604 on the North Side remain leery despite the funding twist.

“While we welcome any nontoll funding to finally complete these projects, we have to ask, what will this interchange connect with? Toll lanes or nontoll lanes?” said Terri Hall, founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom.

Texas Department of Transportation planner Clay Smith said the ramps would link to both the existing freeway lanes and eventually the toll lanes.

The MPO will get only $43 million in stimulus money for roads but expects to get some of the state’s $1.5 billion share. The Texas Transportation Commission will hand out its goodies Thursday.

“We don’t know what they’re going to do,” MPO Director Sid Martinez said.

Based on past funding, San Antonio could see about $80 million of the commission’s stimulus dollars. The MPO is hoping to get at least $130 million from the state and match it with $20 million, enough to pay for the interchange ramps and to widen Loop 1604 at Randolph AFB to four lanes from FM 78 to Graytown Road.

That would leave $22 million in local stimulus funds to be allocated later.

The local planning board also submitted a best-case scenario, in case the state gives $237 million to San Antonio. The MPO would then put up all its $43 million, and the to-do list would grow to add, from highest priority to least:

36th Street: Add lanes from U.S. 90 to Billy Mitchell Road — $16.5 million.

Interstate 10: Add four lanes from North Loop 1604 to Huebner Road — $40 million.

Wurzbach Parkway: Build four lanes from Blanco Road to West Avenue — $32 million.

Wurzbach Parkway: Build four lanes from Jones Maltsberger Road to Wetmore Road — $33 million.

U.S. 281: Reconfigure intersections north of Loop 1604 — $8 million.

Though a suggested redesign of U.S. 281, to eliminate cross traffic and rely on added U-turns to ease traffic, came in last on the MPO’s list, the idea has ardent champions.

“The super street must be funded somehow,” said City Councilwoman Diane Cibrian, who sits on the MPO board and is running for mayor.


Thornton: TxDOT Demands Toll on 1604-281 Project

Even if federal stimulus tax dollars build it

2 Replies to “Tolls still on table for interchange at 281/1604”

  1. Jeannon Kralj

    Richard Reeves on his live Feb 23 Austin Public Access TV program said the San Antonio anti-toll activists had been successful in stopping the tolling of 281. Guess he was not up to date in his info.

    All that comes out of our elected and appointed and bureaucrats at the federal, state, country, city, and regional boards and commissions are BIG FAT LIES. It does appear that the Austin and San Antonia activists are beginning to see through the full magnitude and pervasiveness of the lies, but I would hope that we all act upon that increasing enlightenment.

    The corridors and local triple-tax toll roads are going to happen to us Texans if that is was is ordained by our corrupt federal government. At the top of the scam is the same powers that be that are at the top of destroying the USA and taking over the world. I guess I’ll just call them the international banksters.

    What we have on our side are growing numbers of people who are on to their propaganda, lies, tricks, and treacheries. What is NOT working in our favor is the directing of our energies is working WITHIN this false system or paradigm or dialectic that they have served up to us.

    The U.S. Congress and the Texas legislature are simply puppets and irrelevant low-level players in this God forsaken travesty being exercised upon us.

    The whole corridor / toll road scam in Texas was born in two main lies or two main tools that were then parlayed in to all the sub-scams working upon we Texans right now.

    A short rehearsal of the two main lies…

    1. Texas is completely without funds for roads. We have a giant crisis and emergency and we have no choice but to deal with this crisis. This “bankrupt” rhetoric was mainly peddled by Ric Williamson and Rick Perry staring in 2003 but was set up beginning in Perry’s and TxDOT’s machinations beginning at least in 2000. (This is the CREATED PROBLEM lie.)

    Texas will experience a doubling of its population by 2050 from about 23 million to about 46 million. Several state entities are still actively promulgating this lie. This burgeoning population growth portends, of course, exponential economic growth and prosperity for Texas.

    The Census data is false and manipulated. More and more awakening Americans know not to even fill out the census form. The new Obama presidency has demanded that the Census Bureau (under the Dept. of Commerce) report and subordite all their activities and information DIRECTLY to the White House (to Rahm Emanuel).

    The studies of this burgeoning population and economic growth was of course propped up by the crooked Texas A & M and Univ. of Texas studies that affirmed and further massaged and manipulated the false data.

    The bonds created and sold to finance the toll roads were rated on these false projections of economic rosiness for Texas. I do know what person of average intelligence would purchase any Texas road or municipal bond these days.

    As I stated earlier, if the powers that be want these corridors and toll roads to move forward, their will will be done.

    The public part of the public / private partnership (PPP) financing and the private part of same are one and the same these days because when the government and the internationalist banksters/corporations become one we have FASCISM.

    Obama’s stiumulus is just fascism. The Federal Highway department has already provided financing (over 420 million so far I think) for the first two legs of Hwy 130 which is the first leg of the Trans Texas Corridor. We can expect more funds for the financing of the roads to come from the federal government (read that you and me and the funny money created out of thin air). The labor to build these roads and road changes may well come from Obama’s Works Prograss Administration (WPA) type stimulus PPP (Pork, Perks, Payoffs) programs. In other words we the people of the once great state of Texas will be paying the wages of our new found “infrastructure” highway construction jobs via Obama’s WPA.

    Texas Secede !!!

  2. Jeannon Kralj

    One CORRECTION to my previous posting.

    I do NOT know what person of average intelligence would purchase any Texas road or municipal bond these days.

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