Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Time to Join Forces Again to Stop Toll Roads Throughout Texas and the U.S.

I have stated that We, the People will forever have to fight against toll road special interests and against individual state contracts with foreign toll road building companies.

Here we go again...

This has been an ongoing battle and it needs to stop.  Tell your Federal and State Senators and House Reps. that you don't want endless toll roads.

Tell them to please support the Hutchison  ban on tolling existing STATE and FEDERAL freeways and to STRIP PPPs & TIFIA  loans OUT of the transportation bill .

It is time to do what is best for the community good and NOT only for the special interest good.  Greed and corruption continue to dominate in Congress.  It is time to stop permitting it to happen.

Say "No!!" to toll roads and road partnerships with foreign companies.  Tell your representatives to say "No!!"

Why can't we ever learn from our previous mistakes?  Why can't we get smart?

Below is an email I received from Terri Hall of and I am reprinted it in full with her permission:


Hello fellow advocates,

We need your help spreading the word about the anti-taxpayer federal highway bill coming before Congress this week. It's going to take a Texas-sized uproar to STOP Congress from selling off our infrastructure to foreign entities like Cintra (same playbook as the Trans Texas Corridor), from borrowing more money from the Federal Reserve to lend to states to prop-up toll roads that can't pay for themselves, and from imposing tolls on existing FREEways in ALL 50 states! Considering what's at stake, this should be THE topic on talk radio this week.

If you have contacts outside Texas, we need their help in spreading the word to the grassroots across America about this horrible highway bill dubbed the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act. For those outside Texas, they need to edit the email slightly to have people contact their own U.S. Senators (which can be found using this link) instead of Cornyn as directed. The email and details are below. Call if you have any questions. You have my sincere thanks!

I think the best time to send it out is Sunday afternoon so it's in folks' inboxes by Monday morning when we need calls to start.

In Liberty,
- Terri
Terri Hall
Founder/Executive Director
Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom
(210) 275-0640

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.” - John Adams

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TURF email header
TURF Alert - Please Take Action BelowThe 82nd Legislative Session
Dear Terri,

>> URGENT! STOP Congress from imposing tolls on existing roads in all 50 states!
--Federal highway bill floor vote this week


STOP tolls on existing FREEways - Call Congress NOW!

SNAKEOIL SALESMEN: TxDOT dials back promise of free lanes on I-35 toll project

STOP tolls on FREEways!
It's been 7 years since Congress passed the last federal highway bill. Now its racing through Congress at the speed of light -- why? Because they want to sell-off our public roads to private corporations, raise your taxes through tolls, and lift the ban on imposing tolls on existing highways. There are 500 toll projects being contemplated in Texas alone!

An amendment to allow tolls on ALL existing interstates in all 50 states is expected to be presented on the floor by Senator Carper of Delaware. Imposing tolls on existing freeways is a massive DOUBLE TAX -- charging motorists an additional tax, a toll, to use what they've already built and paid for!

The current House Bill, HR 7, only bans tolls on existing FEDERAL interstates. It GUTS the ban on imposing tolls on existing STATE highways -- a ban that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison put in place for Texas since 2007. The fate our public freeway system is under attack!

STEP 1 -
Call Senator John Cornyn and ask him to support the Hutchison ban on tolling existing STATE and FEDERAL freeways and to STRIP PPPs & TIFIA loans OUT of the transportation bill .

Call Cornyn's office at 202-224-2934 & email him here.

STEP 2 -
Call your member of Congress and ask him/her to ADD the Hutchison "Freedom from Tolls" Amendment to ban tolling existing freeways - BOTH state and federal - to HR 7 and STRIP PPPs & TIFIA loans OUT of the transportation bill.

Find out who your member of Congress is here or call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Sneaky new tax
Government has figured out that instead of solving congestion, they can manipulate it for a profit (by keeping your free lanes congested and forcing people to pay a premium to get mobility). They're terrified to raise the gas tax, but have no problem imposing tolls on all new capacity to our roads, even on EXISTING lanes that we travel today without tolls.

It costs 1-2 cents per mile to travel a gas tax funded freeway, but anywhere from 20 cents a mile up to 75 cents per mile to use a toll lane. It's an explosion in our cost to travel. A gas tax funded road costs PENNIES a day, a toll road costs DOLLARS a day and THOUSANDS more in new taxes per year.

The way toll roads are being financed today, ALL Americans are paying to build them through subsidies of taxpayer money like gas tax, but you won't be able to use them without paying a toll, too (a DOUBLE TAX)! So whether you can afford to take these toll lanes or not, you're paying for them. This notion that tolls are user fees is a myth when you look at how heavily they're subsidized by ALL taxpayers. You're also paying for them through a higher cost of goods that gets passed onto consumers.

Selling us out
Both the House and Senate versions of the federal highway bill, dubbed the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act, include public private partnerships (or PPPs) that sell-off our public roads to private corporations in 50-99 year government-sanctioned toll road monopolies. PPPs use heaps of public money to socialize the losses, while they privatize and GUARANTEE profits for the private operators.
Columnist Michelle Malkin calls PPPs 'corporate welfare.' Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were some of the first PPPs and eventually caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis and subsequent $1 trillion dollar taxpayer BAILOUT!

The TIFIA loan program is a HUGE source of funds used to subsidize ill-conceived toll roads that can't pay for themselves. It's the primary pot of taxpayer money given to these private, foreign corporations seeking to takeover our U.S. highways using public private partnership toll road contracts.

NOTE: The first TIFIA loan was awarded to a private consortium in a PPP deal on the South Bay Expressway in San Diego. It went bankrupt less than three years later due to traffic projections that were off by over 40,000 cars per day! Taxpayers had to accept a write-down of nearly $80 million of a $172 million federal TIFIA loan in yet another taxpayer bailout for private corporations.

The TIFIA loan program is all BORROWED money from the Federal Reserve, so who will have to bailout these toll roads when the cars don't show up as they didn't in San Diego along with other projects across the country? YOU and me, the taxpayer.

Think about it - PPPs give private corporations the power to TAX! They are granted the power to levy unlimited toll taxes on the traveling public - and we can't hold corporations accountable like we can politicians at the ballot box. This is why politicians LOVE PPPs. They get to OUTSOURCE the taxation to their special interest buddies and makes us pay back our own money with interest through tolls!

Rather than get rid of the failed TIFIA loan program, the federal highway bill INCREASES TIFIA funding by nearly TEN times from $100/yr to $1 BILLION/yr. Current law requires the taxpayers to be paid back first, now in the bill as written, private interests would get paid back first and taxpayers would be paid back last.

PPPs also contain non-compete clauses that prohibit or penalize the expansion of free roads surrounding the privatized toll roads, guaranteeing congestion on the free routes.

Also, PPP toll contracts allow private entities to benefit from he use of eminent domain, and they result in toll rates as high as 75 cents a mile. That's like adding $15 to every gallon of gas you buy!


>> President mum about tax increase in federal highway bill

Read more here.

>> CBO: Toll roads are NOT free money

Read more here.

>> New York Post SLAMS public private partnerships, calls them "poppycock"

Read more here.

>> MoPac to be tolled, sold-off to foreign company

Read about it here.

>> BAIT & SWITCH: TxDOT reneges on promise of free lanes alongside foreign-owned toll lanes on I-35 in Denton County

Read more here.

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