Citizens against toll roads will gather at Texas State Capitol April 17, 2017

Toll Traffic
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)

Toll-Free Texas (TURF)

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“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.”

Keep Texas Toll Free (TURF)

“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.
•   Double tax drivers since they are funded with gas tax dollars.
•   Create more congestion on frontage roads with stop lights and other parallel roads through the use of controversial non-compete agreements.
•   Fail to provide important viability studies that investors demand with traditional toll roads.
•   Cost much more for construction, right of way, utility relocation, maintenance and service than non-tolled roads.
•   Create corporate welfare as privately owned corporations profit off publicly owned assets.
•   Add bureaucracy: Regional Mobility Authority.
•   Allow non-elected people (toll authority board members) to set the tax rate (toll tax) for our public highways without limits.
•   Create unfair & punitive taxation as one portion of a region pays a toll to drive an expressway while others drive their expressways free.
•   Produce a second inefficient, unaccountable tax on top of the gas tax with no protection from further raiding of gas taxes or toll revenues to fund things other than transportation.
•   Will never be removed, as the sloppy revenue slush fund gets spent on other political pet projects (not good government).
•   Give road project location decisions to the private sector to be based on profitability rather than need and environmental considerations.

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