Monday, August 07, 2006

Editorial on Tolls in Austin is Timeless

Here's a letter to the editor that I found from two years ago when CAMPO voted to implement a toll road system on Austin roadways. It is timeless in it's message, so I'm reprinting it here.

Feeling the heat from tolls


If there's an ounce of dignity and integrity, and the need to do the right thing, we must speak out against the Central Texas toll road plan. Contrary to the propaganda slung by the governor, the Capital Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Texas Department of Transportation and other special-interest entities, the toll plan is not in the best interest of Texans.

The majority of Texas residents do not want toll roads. However, officials (elected and otherwise) continue to push aside the will of the people they serve. Any reasonable person must be able to see that toll roads merely are another form of regressive taxation. While we're told that there are options in place for those who do not want to pay the tolls, the reality is quite different.

All Texas consumers will pay tolls, whether they use the toll roads or not. We will all pay tolls many times over in purchasing goods and services from businesses that will use the toll roads. Inevitably, businesses pass along such costs to their consumers. In addition, many of the roads slated for tolls already have been paid for with tax dollars. How many times should we pay for the same road?

Toll roads are nothing more than special-interest profiteering.

The toll plan should be eliminated, because the people of Texas don't want it. Special-interest officials must not determine the direction of our transportation needs. Texans must decide what is in their own best interests -- or at least the plan should be part of a public referendum.

Peter Stern, Driftwood

George Eliot


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