Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Toll Roads Not Healthy for Living Things

Stop Toll Road Frenzy
I have written many times about toll roads and why we should not build and use them.

  • As they do with public education tax dollars, Gov. Perry and legislators divert tax dollars slated for roadways to other interests.  We need to use road tax revenues for roadways before we ever contemplate other options including toll roads and bond issues.
  • We need more transparency re: TxDOT, RMA’s and private road conglomerates and the contracts developed.  Most of us don’t see where our tax dollars go.
  • The fuel/gas taxes have not increased for decades re: cost of living and inflation rates.  They have been frozen by Gov. Perry and legislators and they refuse to permit an increase in those taxes citing the GOP does not want to levy new or increased taxation.  However, they have no problem diverting state responsibility for education and road costs onto local governments, who in turn increase property taxes or tax rates and/or approve bond programs that increase property taxes.  Meanwhile, the state uses education and road tax revenue for other interests.  This should be illegal.
  • Regarding toll roads, private road conglomerates immediately take 80 percent off the top of toll revenues for their revenue and the cost of their expenses.  The company usually has a contract with the state for any time period of 50 to 70 years.  Generally, tolls will be forever as the state sees tolls as additional EASY revenue.
  • Toll roads usually initiate long term debt for Texas taxpayers, especially when bond packages are included and/or if TxDOT or the CTRMA takes out a long term loan to include in the initial toll road costs.
  • Toll roads often are put on already paid for with our taxes roadways, e.g., the proposed toll lanes for MoPac.  There should be no toll roads permitted on already existing tax paid roads.  The state gets past this legally by saying the proposed toll lanes will be adjacent to the existing roadways, but we know that it is an end around ploy to build them.
  • Toll roads create other issues, including, more noise and air pollution, devaluing adjacent residential neighborhoods and homes, etc.
  • Tolls are not considered new taxes, but they really are when you consider that businesses using the toll roads will pass along the toll costs onto their wholesale and retail consumers.  We all will pay toll taxes even if we do not use the toll roads ourselves.
  • Toll roads are built for those wealthy enough to afford to use them.  It is a classist ploy to increase revenues by building private roadways for the wealthier.  The poorer population can not use them.
  • RMA’s or private conglomerates will manipulate the actual costs of the tolls at ANY time and will not need prior-approval for doing so.  The costs will change during peak hours and/or increases in the tolls may occur for any and for no reason at all.
  • Regulation of toll roads force people to use them without often knowing they are going onto a toll road.  If they don’t have a toll pass their license plate will be photographed and they will be charged via mail for the toll cost, a service fee and possibly a penalty.  This is a manipulation and invasion of our privacy and civil rights.

I am against government regulation into our daily lives.  Toll roads are a flagrant violation of our rights and privacy.  Despite what the state and private companies tell us, tolls are new taxes and force further regulations and other costs and issues onto residents and/or taxpayers.  I am totally against toll roads unless they are the last resort.  Here in Texas tolls are now the first resort.

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