Lawmakers introduce package of Toll-free Texas bills


Rep. Sanford, Rep. Leach, and Rep. Shaheen File Legislation for a Toll Free Texas

(AUSTIN, TX, February 24, 2015) Today, Rep. Scott Sanford (R - McKinney), Rep. Jeff Leach (R - Plano), and Rep. Matt Shaheen (R - Plano), announced a series of bills to move Texas toward a toll road free future.

Citizens who live in areas served by toll roads find themselves paying additional taxes in the form of tolls for what they feel should have been funded by their taxes paid to the state.  Individuals and businesses find that these taxes/tolls have become overly burdensome on their budgets and regard them as a substantial tax increase.
Furthermore, citizens have felt left out of the decision making process when it comes to transportation policy and decision-making.  Too many times, they hear about a distant “Authority” or “Council” over which they have no familiarity, run by names that never appear on their ballots.

Toll Free Texas, which includes these bills by Rep. Sanford, Rep. Leach, and Rep. Shaheen, and many other bills filed or forthcoming, will move Texas’ Transportation Policy away from toll roads and toward public accountability and citizen accessibility.

Bills filed today by Rep. Sanford, Rep. Leach, and Rep. Shaheen include:
HB 856 Sanford - Requires that the regional transportation planning organizations stream and archive videos of their meetings on their publicly accessible website
HB 1834 Sanford - County Commissioner Court resolution of approval for toll projects; requires toll roads to be paid out in 20 years and transitions into a non-toll road
HB 1835 Sanford  - Prohibit the conversion of current free lanes of highway to toll lanes
HB 1836 Sanford - Directs 10% of sales taxes to be utilized for the construction and maintenance of free highways
HB1837 Sanford - Requires toll road decisions (study, design, and construction) be made by elected officials, so citizens can hold them accountable;  approved toll roads to be paid off in twenty years or less
HB 1838 Sanford - Requires that all current toll roads become free roadways in 30 years or less
HB 1734 Shaheen - Cessation of tolls
HB 1183 Shaheen - Any new toll project must be approved by the County Commissioner's Court
HB 202  Leach - Dedicates half of the MV sales tax to the State Highway Fund towards the maintenance and construction of free, non-tolled roadways 
HB 203 Leach- Dedicates auto parts sales tax to the State Highway Fund towards the maintenance & construction of free, non-tolled roadways. 

"Toll Free Texas will take time, but will begin moving Texas back toward great roads paid for by tax dollars, not tolls.  And, in the event a community desires and approves a tolled project, it must be “paid off” and become a free roadway within twenty years.  This movement moves the decision making process closer to the voters by having toll road decisions made by elected officials instead of career bureaucrats," stated Rep. Sanford.