TxDOT, the real culprit in the “toll road wars” has withheld pertinent information from all of us (citizens and elected officials), in order to push through plans that benefit the so-called “road lobby”.
But wait, you ask, aren’t we running out of money? The money the Obama administration may make available for rebuilding and repairing our infrastructure (a noble goal to help stimulate our economy) could be wasted on toll projects that do not enjoy public support and export the funds they generate to investors, the world over, when those funds could and, likely, should be spent on future transportation needs. This is not an “anti-toll” position. Tolling is a fact of transportation life. What we are saying though, is that the new genre of freeway-to-tollway conversion schemes have engendered stiff citizen opposition because they are unfair, financially reckless, and ignore the burning question now in transportation circles. That question goes something like, “How are we, in a shrinking economy, going to pay for the movement of people and goods in a way that is equitable, protects our environment and has a plan for our future needs?” Seems like CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, our transportation planning group made up of area elected officials, four of whom are Austin City Council members) and ordinary Texans have something in common and we should start working together. (Read lots more under “Toll Road War” of this site).