Thursday, July 8, 2010

TEXAS POLITICS: Toll Roads Planned for MoPac (LOOP 1)

some things never change

by Peter Stern

Mismanagement, special interest pandering, corruption, hidden agendas, misuse of tax dollars and abuse of power continue to run rampant in Texas. It is politics as usual.

There are plans to build 2 adjacent "managed" lanes, a.k.a., toll lanes, that will tax Texans to drive on the new lanes. Here we have another stupid and costly idea to benefit the wealthy. We need fewer roadways, not more. We need legislators to use available tax dollars more wisely, NOT provide private roadways for the wealthy and to generate more revenue to spend foolishly on other special interest issues.

This is just pandering to the wealthy who can afford to drive on their own private roadway, while TxDOT continues to let the "free" (already paid for with taxes) MoPac roadway crumble into further ruin and additional overcrowding.

This simply is Texas politics as it has been for the past several decades. We are being told that the planned toll lanes MAY alleviate congestion in the near future. Toll costs will be "manipulated" to higher costs during hours of increased traffic. Will the tolls be removed after the new lanes have been paid for, say in 100 years? Currently there is no plan to eliminate the tolls and no idea when the lanes will have been paid for.

There are better ways to improve, maintain and repair MoPac and to widen it. It is time to stop diverting gas tax revenues to other special interests and to allow the gas tax to increase proportionately with cost of living adjustments. The gas tax has been frozen for more than 1 decade and legislators continue to divert the gas tax revenue to other interests instead of using the tax dollars to build and maintain our roadways, as was intended.

Too many priorities remain askew here in Central Texas. Soon, there will be many more toll roads built throughout Texas.

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