Eckhardt Supports Eckhardt

RECEIVED Wed., March 1, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Thank you for your kind words about my candidacy for Travis County Commissioner in Precinct 2 [Endorsements, Feb. 24]. I hope to live up to your description as a “spring breeze” in county government. However, I do take issue with the assertion that I am insincere or politically opportunistic in my position against toll roads. I believe that tolling roads we have already paid for with the gas tax is regressive double-taxation. Further, it will cost our county far more than other reasonable alternatives for funding our transportation needs. CAMPO's 2030 plan to toll portions of existing highways such as 290, 183, 71, MoPac, and 360 will create a two-tiered transportation system – those who can afford the additional toll tax will have access to far better highways while the rest of us will be relegated to slower, inadequately maintained access roads. Such a two-tiered system is fundamentally unfair and progressives like myself should work against it. Not all folks who live outside the city are “Rob Royalty” or “Circle C-vians” per the last census, the median per capita income is $25,883 in the county and $24,163 in the city (see The toll option will not be affordable to average people regardless of whether they live inside or outside the city limits.
    As you mentioned in your Endorsements article, toll roads are not my only issue. I will also work for the progressive goals of a viable public transportation system, land-use management that preserves our environment and promotes safe connected communities, better access to physical and mental health care, an end to jail overcrowding, and a genuine embrace of community policing.
    Thanks again for your paper and, most of all, your readership.
Sarah Eckhardt
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