TxDOT's secret plan to toll existing interstates

Link to article here. Toll Road News also told of this report earlier this year. But now the masses can learn of yet more TxDOT deception, lies, and slippery talking points.

EXCLUSIVE: Secret TexDOT Plan to Toll Existing Interstates
Internal report to Congress, obtained by 1200 WOAI news, urges Congress to ‘repeal’ laws prohibiting tolling Interstates
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
At the same time local officials assure us that tolls will ‘never’ be charged for traveling on existing highway lanes, 1200 WOAI news has obtained a Texas Transportation Commission report in which Tex-DOT officials discuss ways to impose tolls on existing interstate highways.The report, entitled ‘Forward Momentum, a Report to the 110th Congress,’ makes several recommendations to Congress on how best to upgrade the state’s highway system.

One section, entitled “Tolling Authority EXPANSION” (the capital letters are included in the report), discusses strategies Congress could use to allow Texas to charge tolls on existing Interstate highways, including Interstates 10, 35, and 27.

“Federal law generally prohibits imposing tolls on interstate highways for which federal funds have been used,” the report reads on page 11. “In several situations, however, Congress has enacted specific legislation to allow states to ‘buy back,’ or re-imburse the federal government, for federal funds applies to a highway segment, thereby relieving it of the prohibition against tolls.”

That’s right. Your state tax money would be used to ‘buy back’ highways your federal tax money has already paid for, so the state could charge you tolls to drive on that highway.

Chris Lippencott of TexDOT confirms the language in the report, but stresses that any tolling would not be done without the consent of local officials and the public.

“Even if the Congress allowed states to purchase back parts of the interstate, state law would still be in effect, and it would require TexDOT to seek the approval of not only a county’s Commissioners Court, but also the voters in that county, before we tolled existing lanes,” Lippencott said.

So we’ve gone from ‘existing lanes will never be tolled,’ to ‘existing lanes might be tolled with your consent.’

The TexDOT report proposes that ‘restrictions on tolling programs’ be removed, to ‘give states such as Texas, as many opportunities as possible for new funding alternatives.’

The report suggests that if Congress ‘authorizes states to implement interstate tolling options beyond current pilot programs’ it would ‘allow revenues from toll-financed facilities to be used for other critical system needs.’

“I’m not a political guru, but I would suggest to you that the likelihood of an existing lane being turned into a toll lane is pretty slim,” Lippencott said.

The TexDOT also brags that the Government Accountability Office has ‘cited Texas (and Governor Perry specifically) as a leader in using tolls to “reduce congestion”)’ Texans are being told that tolls would be collected to build badly needed highways, not to ‘reduce congestion.’

0 Replies to “TxDOT's secret plan to toll existing interstates”

  1. G. Bliss

    We need to go back to the lock box method of using our “Gas Tax” revenues as we did before the Texas State Legislature open it up for pet projects. This is insane…and the mental patients (politicians, bureaucrats, special interest groups and contractors) are running the asylum (TX Dot). The taxpayers once more are being run over and taxed to death by people who just don’t care about anything except furthering their egos and political ambitions. We need to “Stand-Up” and march against this tyranny in Austin and get rid of all of these corrupt individuals that spout that they know better than us — we the idiots that continue to vote for these scallywags. Both Democrats and Republicans are culpable in this corrupt process which operates under the guise of addressing future transportation problems, mobility improvement and looking out for the betterment of Texas. The reality is that it benefits none of the citizens in this state but only outside private contractors and politicians with increased campaign funds.

    TX Dot continues to be held unaccountable and no one seems to care about investigating or auditing this runaway bureaucratic nightmare. I have seen how this agency works up-close when I worked with (HGAC) Houston Galveston Area Council of Governments. I saw the wasteful spending (both state & federal funds) on pointless studies and contracts that produced absolutely NOTHING! Many of the mobility plans they have proposed are by-and-large out of date by the time they get around implementing the plan and then they need addition funding to complete the projects. They seem to have gotten worse. We need to organize a “March on Austin” and demand some respect from our elected officials. Many of us just sit back and hope that things will get better after each election but it is time for action, before it gets any worst. We don’t have any representation in this matter because they are all in collusion for their own personal gains.

    Remember…“Taxation without representation is Tyranny.”

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