Toll Plan an Attack on Austin Taxpayers

RECEIVED Tue., July 20, 2004

Dear Editor,
   The proposed toll-road plan was not really a plan, but more like an attack ["Divided CAMPO Says Yes to Toll Plan," News, July 16]. But not all roads are appropriate to become toll roads. Case in point, the overpass over William Cannon solves a problem for the William Cannon drivers, not just the people driving MoPac. Case in point, the SH 45 extension to 1626 will require additional lanes to provide tolling over environmentally sensitive lands. And Austin voters voted for bonds to pay for this. Furthermore, it is all about Gov. Perry's promise not to raise taxes. Hello? A toll is a tax. We were told that in order to pay for roads with a gas tax, it would cost $3 per gallon. In fact, it would not cost anywhere near that much. Some analysts have said that 15 cents per gallon would do it.
   Since the Hays and Williamson county reps are so eager to put tolls on Austin roads, I will state that I am OK with putting tollgates at the borders into Austin from those border towns and counties.
   The promotional Web site said "a toll of approximately 12 cents per mile," but now the Web site says for Highway 290 West of RM 1826 to East of Williamson Creek, "$1.00 for the main lane and $.25 for the ramp." So if you drive this just twice daily it will cost you $50 a month. That is approximately what my personal gasoline bill is monthly. So, many of us will not be able to afford the road. Of course those who drive gas-guzzlers won't have to pay more. We would not want to discourage them.
   It will not solve the problem of gridlock in the inner city. Wasn't this supposed to be about "mobility"?
Cliff Anderson
Treasurer, Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods
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