The Austin Chronicle

http://www.austinchronicle.com/postmarks/2013-01-02/1395367/

CTRMA Boondoggle

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 2, 2013

Dear Editor,
    The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has a 2012-13 budget of $43.2 million taken from Texas taxpayers and toll tax revenue. The agency was proposed and pushed through 10 years ago by former Rep. Mike Krusee, whom Texans did not re-elect because of his questionable special interest motivated actions.
    The toll agency, which currently manages two toll roads, should be dismantled. The toll roads that it plans to build and manage on MoPac are a sham and are not needed. CTRMA borrowed $130 million to add to the toll road building. The proposed toll roads will not ease traffic conditions; they are simply a source of new revenue. Furthermore, Texas does not need ongoing toll roads.
    Texans need an intelligent, well-managed, and reality-based Texas Department of Transportation that works in the best interests of the entire community. There is no reason in the world that CTRMA Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein should be making $250,000 annually for running an agency that plans toll roads in Central Texas, except that he is appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.
    Perry and Texas legislators refuse to let the gasoline tax catch up with inflation and also continue to divert gasoline tax revenue to their other interests, which is part of the reason TxDOT hasn't sufficient money to build and maintain our roadways.
    Lastly, toll roads are an inefficient and poor cost-effective method of building and maintaining roads, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority may raise toll costs at will without approval, and there is little oversight to ensure it is working in the best interests of the community at-large.
    
Peter Stern

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