About UsWe're a non-partisan, grassroots movement to STOP the DOUBLE tax tolling of our existing FREEways (and rights of way) and the Trans Texas Corridor. These decisions are being made by un-elected, unaccountable boards and commissions which is taxation without representation that started the Boston Tea Party and now a new taxpayer revolt through the San Antonio Toll Party.
Our mission to take back our government from special interests. Our leaders fail to represent us and one of our aims is to help educate voters about the toll plans, who's behind them, who's pushing them, and how we can work together to "de-elect" the politicians who IGNORE the will of the PEOPLE!
Please feel free to contribute suggestions or a word of thanks in an email to info+satollparty.com. Together we're going to WIN this fight!
Terri Hall, Regional Director
Sudie Sartor, Treasurer/Fundraising
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My husband and I attended a TxDOT public hearing March 3, 2005. We could hardly believe what we saw and heard. They were going to toll our highway that's already built and paid for! Then a resident asked TxDOT where the money went that was already allocated for the improvements they were going to make. There was overwhelming public opposition to the tolling of US 281 at that meeting. Not one person was for the tolls.
Terri Hall - SA Toll Party
The sound of tolls didn't rub me the right way…tolls…nobody LIKES tolls, but my first thought was, "that means my husband is going to have to work even longer and harder just to give more of our money to the government before he can provide for our growing family (we have 5 children)." Then I thought about how much easier it is to raise a toll than to raise the gas tax. That sent shivers down my spine! Politicians already raid our wallets, tolls would only make it a breeze to impoverish people right off of our highways! The words of the resident who said the improvements were also already paid for kept mulling around in my head as I wrote letters, made phone calls, and did research on how this could happen and take everyone by surprise without a vote or ANY public input.
I met with our District Engineer for TxDOT, David Casteel, on April 18 and asked a lot of questions and was downright speechless about their answers. These guys were drinking some kind of Kool-Aid that defied logic! It was clear to me there was no rational reason to toll an existing highway or its improvements that were already funded. So I dug deeper. The law HB 3588 that opened the door to tolls appeared to give the Transportation Commission more unchecked authority than ANY other government agency in Texas.
David Casteel said in my meeting with him, "At least it's not as bad as the congestion tax in London, " so I investigated this congestion toll tax in London (London charge per mile scheme and Congestion tax and citizen monitoring ). The toll pandora's box would be opened. There was no way I was going to lay down and let our politicians hold our freeways hostage and start insane new prolific taxes like congestion taxes and charge by the mile schemes. This HAD to be STOPPED! Our FREEDOM of MOBILITY was UNDER ASSAULT!
It became abundantly clear that TxDOT and our elected officials were hearing plenty of public input, but they were IGNORING it! Oh, they tried to throw us a few bones like taking the tolls off of Sal's bridge and said in a letter to the Comal County Judge that they wouldn't toll 281 in Comal County for 25 years (where I live), but we know better. That was only to temporarily pacify. We had already learned that we can't trust people when they break their promises and refuse to listen to the public.
I knew a broad, organized citizens movement would be the only thing to stop this train wreck. A friend told me about a group that was already organizing against the toll outrage up in Austin. I signed their petition, but asked how to get something going in San Antonio.
There was a rally planned at the Capitol, May 3, 2005. My husband and I went to it and met with our representatives and it was obvious my representative, Carter Casteel District 73, was completely SOLD OUT to someone on these tolls. There's a detectable money trail to highway interests and her (have a link to Toll Corridor Appendix E.pdf), particularly Hunter Industries who received a contract to help engineer the first leg of the Trans Texas Corridor (a 4,000 mile network of toll roads, see: http://corridorwatch.org) that runs through her district. It was that day in Austin that we met the Texas Toll Party organizers and they offered to come down and help us get started. Our first San Antonio Toll Party Meeting was on June 22, 2005.
We started to attend MPO Transportation Policy Board meetings June 28, 2005, where dozens of very articulate, well-informed citizens gave very persuasive speeches against the toll plans, but to no avail. Much of our efforts there came to a head on August 31, 2005 when we finally managed to get them to vote on an independent review of the toll plans with the help of our newfound hero Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, Precinct 4. Unfortunately only Commissioner Adkisson and stalwart toll opponent from the beginning, Commissioner Lyle Larson, voted FOR the people. The rest of these so-called public servants showed their spots; they weren't acting in the public interest, they delivered another SCORE in the best interest of the highway lobby.
Read about the saga and the OUTRAGEOUS behavior of Councilman Richard Perez and his city council buddies throughout the review vote process:
So what does the Alamo RMA do? Go full steam ahead with their reprehensible TRIPLE TAX PLAN and actually spend public money to conduct a push poll to "sell" tolls to the public. Even their PR poll showed over 70% of respondents wanted OTHER options besides tolls in Bexar County yet they're out there saying over 60% of northside residents want the tolls (telling them flat out false information in order to get that figure) (LINK TO RMA SURVEY PDF HERE). We stepped up our efforts to inform the public of the coming category 5 hurricane in the form of a lifetime toll tax and launched our flyer blitzes and campaign to defeat Propositions 1 & 9 (see toll glossary). We doubled our membership in less than 4 weeks! We successfully defeated Prop 9 slapping the tolling authority power grab down demonstrating the public disdain for freeway tolls and their innate distrust of these unelected bureaucrats!
Now it's clear where our focus needs to be:
>> Join the Fight Now! <<