Friday, June 26, 2015

Austin, Texas pushing toll roads again...whether we need them or not

In response to public statements by Precinct 3 Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty regarding his gung-ho push for toll roads whenever possible because he tells us that toll roads are the only way to get roads we need built quickly.  What Daugherty does NOT tell us is that building toll roads makes those roads cost much more than roads built with other tax dollars from gasoline and other allotted taxes that were approved and passed for TxDOT’s use to build and maintain our roadways.
Commissioner Daugherty also does NOT tell us that up to 80 percent of the tolls collected go immediately off the top to the companies that maintain the toll collection.  Now that’s a lot of money that adds years to the cost of paying for that roadway.
In addition, toll roads make certain that the public will pay toll taxes [after all, what are tolls if not new taxes] for 50 years because that’s what the contracts usually are with toll road companies.  What we look at with each new toll road is long-term debt and Daugherty never acknowledges how much more toll roads cost all of us in the long term.  He wants roads built quickly, as we all do, but at what cost with tolls?
We need to build toll roads only as a last resort and NOT the first knee-jerk reaction that Daugherty and other pro-toll road enthusiasts want.  Toll roads are NOT in the communities best interests.  Toll roads are in the best interests of the toll road companies who spend huge amounts of campaign contributions to make sure they continue to buy lucrative contract from our state and representatives.

We need to stop building toll roads as though they are the best invention since sliced bread.  We need to get smarter about how we spend our tax dollars and maybe we need to put a lid on officials like Daugherty who just want to spend our tax dollar without looking at the long term implications and huge costs.

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