Concerned citizens from across the Texas will gather in Austin to interact on Monday, April 17, 2017 at the south steps of the State Capitol with lawmakers on transportation-related issues.
“We’ve seen a massive increase in our cost to drive through tolls, handing control of our public roads to private foreign corporations, and unsustainable debt sweep the state, with more to come unless we make our voices heard,” said Terry Hall, president of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF)
“This is a day when CITIZEN lobbyists come to the Capitol to advocate on what matters to grassroots Texans — like getting an affordable, pro-taxpayer transportation policy in place.”
Activities planned include a press conference, recognition from the House and Senate floor, and visits to legislators offices. Lawmakers will address the TURF group in a special ‘Legislative Hangout’ with Question and Answers. There will be several breakout sessions including: ‘Social Media ‘how to”, ‘Follow the Money’, and ‘Voter Fraud.’
Hall cited a recent controversial decision by the Cibolo City Council giving development rights for a private toll road to a corporation that’s never even built a road as an example of concern.
“Cibolo Mayor Allen Dunn has been busy shooting the messenger, Hall said. “The Development Agreement, kept secret from the public prior to its approval last week, was finally made public and it verifies and validates citizen concerns. When the terms of an exclusive 50-year development agreement was negotiated in secret and handed to a single private firm in a no bid contract, it shouldn’t surprise elected officials when the public is irate.”
“The city signed an irrevocable development agreement with, Cibolo Turnpike, an entity created by the investors of Texas Turnpike Corporation,” Hill added. “The draft operating agreement requires the city to repay all the company’s debt and the net present value of future distributions (anticipated revenues) if it wants out of the deal — after it’s built. There is no other way out for the city, however, there are lots of exit strategies for the company.”
TRADITIONAL TOLL ROADS vs. FREEWAY TOLL ROADS
“We have no objection to traditional toll roads, where they are BRAND NEW ROADS (totally new right of way, not in an existing highway corridor), where the people get to vote on the project, and where the money and control stay local,” Hall stated. According to TURF, in contrast tolls:
• Permanently take current and future public expressways away from drivers.