In an article in today’s San Antonio Business Journal entitled Toll road projects set to get off the ground in San Antonio, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA or tolling authority) gets giddy over the prospect of raiding motorists’ wallets by tolling existing corridors already built and paid for with YOUR gas taxes. The most shocking detail is the 281 & 1604 project cost. It went from $1.3 billion in July 2005 to an astronomical $2.2 billion in July of 2007! What do they plan to do? Pave them with GOLD?! That’s $50 million a mile (for 48 mile project) or $5 million per lane mile (according to the Government Accountability Office, the national average per lane mile is $1.6 million). For further context, the original plan for 281 improvements as a non-toll freeway was $100 million in 2004, and now in 2007 as a tollway it’s up to $400 million for 8 miles!
Considering TxDOT has already been found guilty of defrauding the public and betraying the public trust by LYING about their figures, we obviously cannot trust what should be simple projects to add some lanes down the middle of two freeways which has now turned into a feeding frenzy at the expense of battered motorists already facing $3 a gallon at the pump! And this is BEFORE the NEW TOLL TAX kicks in! Someone’s gettin’ rich off this scheme and it ain’t the taxpayers!
Of course, the Biz Journal blocked public access to the article (only paid subscribers can access the article, yet an article on TxDOT losing another $72 million in gas taxes to the feds is there to scare the public into thinking tolls are the ONLY solution). I have the print copy…
RED FLAG #2 –
They must be planning to continue at least 1604 as a private toll deal using a CDA (Public Private Partnership or PPP) or some other loophole in SB 792 since ARMA Executive Director, Terry Brechtel, states: “private toll firms will still be allowed to participate in the toll projects…”
The purpose of the private toll moratorium was to STOP any private toll contracts from moving forward for the next two years, yet this veiled language seems to indicate they will anyway. Get out your legal pads, I feel a lawsuit coming.