Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Toll Roads are Unconstitutional

or at least they should be...
Toll roads are NOT in the best interest of the Texas community as some people believe. First off, there is little transparency when it comes to the funding, building and maintenance of our roadways.

Many people believe that only those who use the toll roads pay the toll tax. That is incorrect. We all pay for tolls as the service and trucking industries divert their toll costs onto Texas consumers when we buy their goods and services.

In addition, providing 70-year contracts to foreign road & toll companies gives them 80 percent off the top revenue from tolls. Obviously, this is a cost-INEFFECTIVE method of developing roadways at a huge cost to Texans. The State generally receives several million dollars up front from these private companies for providing the contracts. However, the trail of that money is invisible to hardworking Texans and is used for special interests.

Furthermore, often the State or its toll authority borrows money to build toll roads also via bond packages that present a long term debt to Texans and an increase to property taxes.

Very often toll roads are not even needed, as per the proposed 2 toll lanes on MoPac Expressway which will do little to ease the traffic flow. Instead, MoPac should be widened and better materials should be used to ensure its longevity and thereby actually easing the flow of traffic.

Legislation protects the private concern and/or public tolling authority from any real oversight and enables either to raise the toll costs at any whim without needed approval from Texans or an independent oversight authority.

Above all else we need to get smart. 
Toll roads are bad news for the majority of Texans. Legislation also permits tax or other revenue meant for building and maintaining our roads to be diverted to other interests. This needs to stop. In addition, the freeze on gas taxes must be removed to allow for inflation and cost-of-living adjustments and the fact that new vehicles use less gas than did older vehicles.

Lastly, toll roads are a slick way to increase revenues without providing any REAL improvements or easing the traffic flow. There are many other ways to build, improve and maintain our roadways and we need to explore those instead of aggressively building toll roads as a panacea for our traffic ills.

No comments:

Post a Comment