4 Nov 2009, 5:23pm
Gas taxes Roads Toll roads
by

4 comments

The genesis of the toll road problem

One issue that many toll road opponents can’t seem to wrap their heads around is the underlying reason why toll roads are being pushed.  It’s not some get-rich scheme by Rick Perry or TxDOT.  The problem is the dearth of funding that has plagued transportation for more than a decade now.  And it’s not just Texas—many other states, as well as the federal government, are having the same problem.

more »

29 Oct 2009, 2:43pm
Toll roads:
by

Comments Off on Final thoughts from the MPO meeting

Final thoughts from the MPO meeting

After a couple of days of rest and deliberation after the marathon MPO meeting Monday night, I wanted to put down a few closing impressions.

more »

Results from the big toll road vote

After hour upon hour of citizens to be heard (well over 100 of them), and then several agonizing minutes of parliamentarian wrangling over whether the proposed changes had to have cost estimates to be legal, the MPO finally voted at around 11:20pm.  The first vote, to remove tolls from 281, was 13-5 against with one abstention; the vote among elected officials was 6-5 against.  The subsequent vote on removing tolls from 1604 went the same way.  However, in the surprise of the night (besides Jack Finger ending his comments with time to spare), the board voted unanimously to remove the CDA (comprehensive development agreement) option for Bandera Rd., essentially killing the prospect of tolls on that roadway.  That almost seemed like a consolation offering to Tommy, Terri, and the anti-toll crowd.  The final vote of the night– whether to build all eight ramps of the 281/1604 interchange instead of just the four already in the works– ended-up being dropped entirely after a board member pointed-out that the additional four ramps could not be built because they would have to be covered under a separate environmental study.  This would cause it to lose its federal stimulus funds because the project would not be shovel-ready by next March’s deadline.  In the end, I think everyone was too tired anyway to debate it.

Much more to follow in the coming days.

26 Oct 2009, 3:37pm
Toll roads:
by

1 comment

Tweeting from the toll-road meeting

Hey everybody, follow tweets from tonight’s long-awaited meeting to argue and vote on local toll plans, which starts at 6 p.m. at the Alzafar Shrine Auditorium. To join the tweeting, use the #sampo hashtag in your Twitter posts so that they’ll show up here.

UPDATE: Click #sampo to see all tweets from the start. Also, the half dozen posts at the top are actually earlier tweets that TexHwyMan reposted.

MUCH LATER UPDATE: Twitter only holds together hashtags for so long, apparently, since they’re gone now. Next time we do a tweetup, I’ll copy and paste the results after the chatter wraps up.

26 Oct 2009, 10:09am
Toll roads:
by

1 comment

T4 Plan a “pipe dream”

Today’s the big day for the “T4 Plan” (Tommy and Terri’s Toll Termination Plan).  The MPO board will vote tonight on whether to go foward with their proposal that removes the toll option from proposed expressway projects on US 281 and Loop 1604.  I was prepared today to summarize why this is a bad idea, but lo and behold, the Express-News Editorial Board did a fantastic job in an editorial in yesterday’s editions

more »

25 Oct 2009, 6:01pm
Toll roads:
by

1 comment

Are we on the Daily Show yet?

Tommy Adkisson

Tommy Adkisson

After years of activists challenging engineers about the scope and cost of adding lanes and overpasses to U.S. 281, the public last month got one of its few chances to hear those arguments hashed out in the open.

But mostly what we got was a Jon Stewart-like moment.

The punch line came as Metropolitan Planning Organization board members began pressuring Chairman Tommy Adkisson, who’s leading the charge to pull tolls from several highway projects (item 9c), to explain details about his proposed non-toll versions.

“Are these not TxDOT numbers?” he answered, according to a San Antonio Express-News report. 

As toll critic Terri Hall, who likely led Adkisson to the hot seat he’s in, nodded yes from the audience, MPO board member and TxDOT engineer Clay Smith said:

“No, no they’re not.”

Well, yes, yes they are. Well … sort of.

more »

25 Oct 2009, 10:46am
Toll roads:
by

2 comments

20 lane toll road?? Not really…

Back at the US 281 Super Street meeting a few months ago, I got into a discussion with a TURF representative about the proposed tollway for 281.  His was adamant that the toll plan would need more lanes than the original toll-free or “gas-tax” plan.  When I pressed him on it, he could not explain why a tolled expressway would need more lanes than a free expressway, only that “it would have to.” 

As it turns-out, one of TURF’s most misleading half-truths is the notion that the tollway proposal for US 281 would be 20 lanes wide, while the “original overpass plan” would only be 10 lanes.  Good job TURF!  You guys have mastered the art of misinformation.

more »

Why the MPO vote to remove tolls doesn’t matter

Tommy Adkisson

Tommy Adkisson

The San Antonio-Bexar County MPO is scheduled to vote next Monday on whether or not to remove the toll option from the US 281 and Loop 1604 expansion projects.  This plan was put forth by new MPO Chairman Tommy Adkisson, Bexar County’s Precinct 4 Commissioner and an ardent toll road opponent.  Make no mistake—his plan is actually the brainchild of staunch toll road critic Terri Hall, the self-appointed director of Texans United for Freedom and Reform (TURF), and is based on the theory that she could just take plans and estimates from 2001, add the inflation factor since then, and have the magic estimate of what it would cost to build the original toll-free plan today.  This elementary formula skips a number of important steps and omits several ancillary items that were not included in those original estimates, such as design work, right-of-way acquisition, and utility relocation.

more »

20 Oct 2009, 5:15pm
Toll roads
by

6 comments

TURF’s propaganda machine is in a tizzy

Well, I’ve been holding off on a toll road related post for a while, but TURF’s latest round of propaganda has forced me to respond.

Next week, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will meet to determine whether to remove the tolling component of plans to upgrade US 281 and Loop 1604.  Terri Hall and her myriad of special-interest groups—primarily TURF— have once again seized upon this as an opportunity to disseminate their persistent and prolific exaggerations, hyperboles, half-truths, and just plain fallacies about toll roads.  Below are just some of their false assertions and the actual facts; each TURF claim is linked back to where it is published.

more »

7 Oct 2009, 6:08pm
Railroads Roads Toll roads Transit:
by

Comments Off on Sometimes “no” really does mean “no”

Sometimes “no” really does mean “no”

Click for larger map

Click for larger map

A few years ago, then Texas transportation czar Ric Williamson shrugged off a citizen revolt against grand plans to build cross-state toll lanes and rail lines along Interstate 35. At the time, tens of thousands of people were showing up at dozens of public hearings to lash out at the planned Trans Texas Corridor’s I-35 leg.

Williamson, who was the Texas Transportation Commission chairman, said public hearings aren’t a vote but rather an effort to find out WHY people oppose or support a proposal and then to address those concerns.

He said:

The purpose of public hearings is not to take a survey. It is not a matter of not having sympathy for those who will have their land lost. Somebody has got to do something about (Interstate) 35. Not 10 years from now and not 25 years from now but right now.

Well, today the Texas Department of Transportation said the best way to address those concerns is to do nothing, at least for now.

more »

Recent Posts

Linkroll