News on US 281 from a supporter turned reporter…
“Approximately 250 people attended last night’s TxDOT public meeting on the expansion of Hwy. 281 from the Guadalupe to just past Highway 306. Greg Malatek, David Castell, Clay Smith from TxDOT were there as well as Comal County Commissioners Jay Millikin and Jan Kennady. The County and TxDOT are looking at the same ‘pass through financing agreement’ as the financing tool for this project like they are for Hwy 46.
Also, the plans call for 400 feet of total right of way, with approximately 120 feet for each of the northbound and southbound lanes, with approximately 160 feet in the middle for future expansion. Greg Malatek mentioned that middle area could be for future expansion for cars, trucks, buses, or rail. (Sound familiar, sound like the Trans Texas “International Trade” Corridor?)
The word CORRIDOR was used quite often. There was also a map detailing the Texas Trunk System. Just about everybody that spoke asked TxDOT and the County to remove the TOLL Language from the agreement. As usual, the politicians said they will not. Quite a few others suggested that overpasses be built instead of stopping 281 traffic with more stop lights. And as usual, the money excuse came up from TxDOT. (Remember: TxDOT only has money for toll roads, not free roads in spite of their budget more than doubling since Rick Perry took office.) We had a very demanding and energized crowd that would have made you proud.”
Way to go folks! But do you see where this is headed? Everything will be tolled or have contracts like pass through financing that allows tolls in the future (when traffic counts make the tolling viable). Without a new Governor, EVERY highway in Texas will eventually have tolls (his own Transportation Commission Chairman, Ric Williamson, said so: “In your lifetime, most existing roads will have tolls”)! And this Governor tries to claim he’s doing all this without raising your taxes…who does he think he’s fooling? A TOLL is a TAX, and one that’s 25 times more money than gas taxes (we pay 1-3 per mile in gas tax, tolls will be 25 cents or more per mile per TxDOT’s own studies)!