May 09, 2007

Tolls : Commissioner Whitley the witless; Austin CoC still bringing the stupid

  • It's been a while since the FWST has run a pro-toll opinion piece, so I guess it was time they ran another one. With the same tired and stupid talking points but this time with a new semi-celebrity author. This time, it's B. Glen Whitley, one of the Republican Tarrant County Commissioners. I should say one of the soon to be politically dead because, much like Krusee, he's sticking to this toll road pap. The sad thing is that reading his retarded op/ed, I'm unsure if he's just naive, horrendously stupid or outright lying by omission.

    A transportation disaster is impending in Texas. Current funding sources will not allow us to maintain state highways, roads and bridges, let alone build needed infrastructure to serve our growing population.

    WOW. Glen's quite the master of the obvious, isn't he? You folks up in Tarrant County must have really been snowed to have elected Mr. Smartness here.

    Proposals to increase the gasoline tax to help pay for roads have come before the Legislature this year, but neither state nor federal officials have been inclined to raise the tax in the past. It would take a hefty boost of the current 20-cent-per-gallon state tax to put Texas transportation back on track.

    Lawmakers appear unlikely to raise the gas tax sufficiently to fund all of the needed transportation projects. The additional revenue for road construction must come from somewhere, or traffic congestion will continue to worsen.

    Actually, GoodBuddyGlen, it's your party that's holding up the bills down here in Austin. CradDICK won't let the one Krusee wrote (only to say he wrote one) out of committee. Why? Because the people who stand to make the most off tolls roads are also HUGE contributors to Republicans (I'd be willing to bet some even gave to you, right Glen?) and no one wants to upset that honey pot. Just think about Zachry... they stand to make billions over decades doing nothing but collecting tolls. That's quite the deal for a construction company.

    In the short term, building highway toll lanes might be the best option available to get North Texas traffic moving and keep it that way. Even then, there are no guarantees.

    Nobody likes toll roads, and nobody likes to sit in traffic.

    We now might have an opportunity to build additional lanes and roads more quickly, using public-private toll road partnership projects such as that planned for Texas 121.

    And there it is, boys and girls. Glenda makes his case for the wonderful public-private partnerships that are designed to rape the public. He even mentions the 121 in Dallas. Which is cool because that's an interesting case of just how bad the state is at selling off assets.

    One company has agreed to spend $5 billion for the right to build and lease the Texas 121 project, with the road reverting to the region when the lease expires in several decades. This agreement provides $2.1 billion in upfront money to the Metroplex for some of its current and future transportation needs.

    Some of these improvements in Tarrant County include Interstate 35, Loop 820, Airport Freeway and the anticipated freeway interchange that includes Interstate 635, Texas 114 and Texas 121 in Grapevine.

    Local transportation officials agreed to tolls, but only if the revenue generated stays in the region -- and only if other transportation dollars continue to flow to the region as before. We must oppose any attempt to use toll dollars outside of the region in which they are collected.

    That one company was the worst of the bids, yet the state accepted it, right? Sure gives me faith in their future. Next question, Glen... why do you like deferring taxes to our children? That's what that $2 bn up front payment amounts to since tolls are a tax. You don't think the tolls on 121 are going to be huge? Just wait. No private company does something for nothing.

    Lastly, ALL the money isn't staying in North Texas which is pretty easy to understand. It's going to a private company. If you wanted all the revenue to stay in North Texas, then you should not be for public-private partnerships because part of the revenue generated for the PRIVATE company by the PUBLIC infrastructure goes to their PROFIT, never to be seen by you again.

    Seriously, it's hard to tell if you're just stupid or really sociopathic. Given that you're a county commissioner, I'm betting it's the former.

    Seriously, Glen... come down here and have a drink with me so I can buy you a clue. Tolls are ALWAYS more expensive for consumers and the only people for whom tolls are a good idea are the corporations that stand to benefit from running them. We can slice and dice the math any way you'd like and I'll still win. Because I'm right.

  • Yet AGAIN the Austin Chamber of Commerce sent out a pro-toll road piece, designed (I've heard) by Karl Rove's old company. Just like the first one, it's deceptive as hell and completely worthless. Why? Because they present tolls as an option to drivers. What they don't tell you is that they are pretty much the only new roads going up AND the only expansion option on existing roads. So you'll be feeling the pinch, regardless. Nice work, y'all. If the truth isn't working for you, just lie, exaggerate and omit all the details.

    How much money have y'all wasted on this so far? Remind me never to go into business with y'all... I don't like going broke.

  • Posted by mcblogger at May 9, 2007 09:33 AM

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