Millions Spent Just to Circumvent Environmental Impact Studies

RECEIVED Tue., March 25, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Regarding the Travis County Commissioners Court vote to spend $15 million on SH 45 [“Then There's This: Dangerous Path,” News, March 21], let's be clear about what this amounts to: $15 million of Austin taxpayers' money is going to be spent for no other reason than to circumvent federal environmental impact studies on a roadway project that is designed primarily to benefit Hays County commuters. This money could have come from federal highway dollars, but Sam Biscoe, Bruce Todd (not elected, but appointed by Biscoe), Margaret Gómez, and Gerald Daugherty chose to use Austin taxpayers' dollars to circumvent the federal environmental impact study, which would have been required if federal monies were used.
    If Travis County has money lying around to waste on things like this, then it's quite clear to me that Travis County property tax rates are too high and need to be reduced. Every year, we pay the same amount of money in property taxes to Travis County that we do to the city of Austin and get literally nothing for it (unless you count the county jail as a community benefit). I'm wondering how much traction an initiative to cut Travis County property taxes by 25% would get in the city? Austin residents wouldn't be affected in the slightest by such a tax cut, and we would get to spend more of our money locally rather than on new roads for suburban sprawl. It's high time we fought back against this ongoing example of suburban and extra-jurisdictional welfare.
Patrick Goetz
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