AAS Editorial On Tolls Is Lacking

Posted in Around The State, Central Texas, Road Issues, Williamson County at 4:20 pm by wcnews

With the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce launching a pro-toll PR campaign the AAS decided to weigh-in on the subject, Tolls, taxes or time … we’ll all pay for traffic growth. While they correctly identify this as PR, and not the education campaign it’s purported to be, it leaves a false impression. A false impression that there’s no difference between the two choices they give for funding new roads in Texas.

The real issue is how to pay for those new highways. For a full generation, Texans have listened to and elected state politicians who promised no new taxes and have, by and large, kept that promise. One result is that the state gasoline tax, 20 cents per gallon and the principal source of state money to build, improve and expand highways, hasn’t been raised since 1991, losing value every year to inflation.

Yet the need for more highways and to expand existing highways has steadily grown. Rather than ask for a higher gasoline tax, Gov. Rick Perry has pushed hard for using tolls. Most Texans appear to accept tolls for brand new highways, if only grudgingly, but rebel against any suggestion they be used on existing highways. In 2005, the Legislature changed the law: Tolls can be charged on new lanes to existing highways, but not on existing lanes without an election.


But it all still comes down to whether Central Texans are willing to pay the high price required to build highways within a few years rather than a few decades.

The AAS goes on to say they’ve long been supporters of raising the gas tax to pay for new roads. But whether intentional or not the last line leaves the impression that it’s no worse to toll roads than raise the gas tax:

So, we must pick our poison: Fork up tolls, pay higher taxes or sit longer in traffic, wasting time and burning gas. In some way, we’ll pay.

Yes, that’s true, we’ll pay either way. But we all know that the gas tax is a much fairer and cheaper way to fund our roads. The AAS should have pointed that out, if they’re so pro-gas tax. In their editorial - and it’s not just the AAS they all do it - they blame nobody else for jumping on board. Surely if the AAS would point out the vast inequities between one system and the other that would help their cause. But that might make the Chamber of Commerce mad.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » McBlogger Chews-Up & Spits-Out The GACoC said,

    February 23, 2007 at 9:53 am

    […] EOW posted earlier in the week on the AAS Editorial that came out in conjunction with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (GACoC) announcement of it’s new pro-toll initiative. The basic point being made was that whenever the MSM makes it’s case for a gas tax over tolls they treat them as equals. When everybody knows that raising the gas tax is much cheaper and fairer and saner than toll roads. But don’t take my word for it, take McBlogger’s, The Austin Chamber of Commerce loves them some tolls. […]

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