Surprise, Surprise!

Posted in Privatization, Had Enough Yet?, Road Issues, Around The Nation, Around The State at 9:43 am by wcnews

I really wish anyone in Texas involved in transportation could sing a different tune, Area highway plan may require more tolls.

Bob Daigh, the Texas Department of Transportation’s Austin district engineer, told the CAMPO board in July that state money allocated to his district for these five roads would be at least $500 million short of paying for their construction.

“At the end of the day, there will be a need for toll financing on some of these roads,” said Austin City Council Member Brewster McCracken, a CAMPO board member who had second thoughts after voting for the 2004 plan. “There’s no way to build all of them otherwise.”

There are significant differences between that 2004 plan and the current situation, both in the specifics of the projects as well as how the 13-member CAMPO board and the state Transportation Department are approaching the decision.

Gone from this menu of roads, first of all, are two stretches that in 2004 were already under construction and being built 100 percent with tax dollars: U.S. 183 from Interstate 35 to Springdale Road and Texas 71 from I-35 to Riverside Drive.

Critics of the 2004 plan have always said that it would amount to double taxation to later charge tolls on those roads, which have since opened as free roads.

Watson and McCracken say the completed U.S. 183 and Texas 71 expressway lanes should stay free.

Remember this is all because of the neglect and disrepair of our transportation infrastructure at the state and national level since the mid-90’s or so. Hmmm…which party has been in control most of that time? I wonder what happens when our transportation infrastructure is neglected and tax cuts become the main focus?

The point is that a philosophy based on a fallacy that we can have everything we’ve always had and tax cuts too, has caused many things in our country to be neglected. Now as for as Sen. Watson and Mr. McCracken, as long as they keep their mouths shut and don’t start advocating for a more broad based tax to be used to fund our infrastructure, i.e. the gas tax could be raised and indexed, “..there will be a need for toll financing..”. Some things in life take courage, and sometimes politicians have to put themselves and their job on the line, and show that courage. It’s time we addressed this question honestly and do what needs to be done before more tragedies happen.

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