Apparently, the Statesman knows best ---- again!
So, according to the Editorial Board of the Austin American-Statesman, "Might Makes Right"? (see article below)
NO ONE in power has addressed the REALITY that toll roads are NOT cost-effective!!!
NO ONE is willing to review the alternative options!!!
Toll roads create long-term debt to taxpayers!!!
Toll cost may be raised WITHOUT prior authority or approval from the legislature or taxpaying voters!!!
Roads already paid for by our taxes should NOT be double-taxed with tolls!!!
Toll roads do NOT address or resolve the issues of traffic congestion, air or noise pollution!!! To confirm this just look at tolling states like New York, California, Florida, etc.
But according to the Statesman, CAMPO members did the right thing by voting for toll roads. Who am I to argue with the Statesman or CAMPO ---- they are correct on so many things, aren't they?
These "righteous" folks need to stop painting a dog bright yellow and calling it a duck!!!
To read the Statesman article, continue reading...
Fifteen of the 19 members of a policy panel that oversees Austin-area highway construction did right Monday to vote for all or most of the new $1.45 billion toll road plan. They deserve the community’s thanks for working their way through a complicated, time-consuming task that, at the end, was greeted with angry threats of political retaliation.
Most members of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, or CAMPO, understood that, at bottom, they really didn’t have much choice but to accept tolls if the Austin area is to get significant stretches of its highway system rebuilt and expanded. Despite the protesters’ warnings of “political suicide” to CAMPO members, we think most voters will recognize that reality as well.
The simplest fact is that those highways will be rebuilt with state and federal tax dollars, not local dollars - and that means local governments are in no position to dictate how much money will be spent here on highways. Thus, when state government says we can get $280 million for highway construction if we don’t use tolls, but $910 million if we do, it’s not facing reality to insist that if we would just refuse to do tolls, the Texas Department of Transportation would be embarrassed or shamed or somehow forced into giving us the $910 million anyway.
“We’re not left with the ability to just say no,” state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and chairman of CAMPO, said after Monday’s vote. He’s right.
Some criticism of the 2004 toll road plan had enough merit to require a second look, and that’s what CAMPO members have been doing ever since. But by the time Watson joined the board after getting elected state senator last year, the second look had turned into a thousand-yard stare, and not much was getting done. Road projects already started were being completed, but everything else was on hold.
Watson took on an exceptionally unpleasant task as the new chairman of CAMPO - shouldering the burden for trimming a toll road plan so that it would still be useful for local motorists and bearable in cost, all while enduring personal insults, like the heckler at a recent CAMPO hearing who shouted at him, “You moron!”
Those most upset about tolls need to take their complaints to Gov. Rick Perry and a Republican-dominated Legislature bent on not raising the gasoline tax or any other tax. Yet the number of drivers continues to grow, older highways wear out and need to be expanded, and the real cost of construction continues to rise because of demand for building materials.
There are serious arguments to be made regarding the fairness of tolls, especially those charged on rebuilt expressways originally paid for with tax dollars.
But the majority of CAMPO board members Monday faced the fact that Austin could either keep arguing about tolls or pay them and get the highways built. The majority did right to vote to build.