No-Brainer on Tolls, Just Think Like I Do

RECEIVED Wed., March 1, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Too many elected officials and Texans have bought into what TxDOT told them – that roads can be built quicker if they are toll roads, that there isn't money to build and maintain roadways, that toll roads will decrease traffic and pollution, etc. TxDOT warned Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, cities, and legislators that if they didn't approve Central Texas Toll Plan by the deadline, available funding would divert elsewhere. These are bogus "shock and awe" statements lacking verification.
    There's no doubt many special interests benefit financially off toll roads, from the governor on down the line. There are many who have conflicts of interest and shouldn't hold offices that currently they are in. Furthermore, foreign companies (e.g., CINTRA) will snatch up to 45% of toll road revenues each year for the next 70 to 90 years. How does that benefit Texas communities?
    While pro-toll enthusiasts are fond of stating that Texans will have a choice to drive on toll roads or not, that's just another bogus statement. Texas families will pay toll taxes whether or not they drive on toll roads. They'll pay toll taxes on goods and services when businesses divert their own toll taxes/expenses onto their consumers. No one addresses this issue. An average consumer who does not drive on toll roads will pay an estimated yearly toll tax at the register totaling thousands of dollars!
    Furthermore, gas taxes are supposed to pay for roadways. Legislators prompted by the governor froze those taxes without cost-of-living adjustments. They also diverted some gas taxes to other interests; implementing toll taxes ensures a double tax on Texas roadways.
    So, believe what you want to. It's a no-brainer. We need to vote out lackluster special-interest incumbents. Toll taxation is a special-interest power play that generations of honest hardworking Texans don't need!
Clyde Barrett
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