Wolff tries to justify tolls

Kevin Wolff's editorial is very misleading. He says he worked to get a non-toll financing plan for 281 & 1604, yet at the MPO on June 25 he called for the vote to specifically include toll lanes on both. Loop 1604, which is not in his precinct, got 4 added non-toll freeway lanes for roughly 10 miles in the deal (along with 4 toll lanes). But 281 got NO new freeway lanes and it actually converts two existing FREE main lanes into tolled HOV-bus lanes. So it shrinks existing freeway capacity. Wolff's plan also addresses just 3 miles of the 7.8 mile project.

Wolff counts the new frontage roads to the outside as the new non-toll capacity, when the resolution he passed in March specifies NEW non-toll main lanes were part of the deal. Either he didn't mean it, or he compromised, leaving taxpayers holding the bag.

At the end of the editorial, Wolff makes it sound as if adding toll lanes are being considered out into the future, when the plan he just adopted includes the tolled-HOV bus lanes now. In that same sentence, he states the tolled HOV-bus lanes would be ADDED to the existing freeway, when in fact, these are not NEW lanes. It converts two existing main lanes into the tolled HOV-bus lanes. (Review the plan here)

Wolff's justification for turning to tolls is basically because the legislature isn't doing it's job to fund roads (won't end diversions of the gas tax and won't raise the gas tax), so he'll agree to raise local taxes instead of fighting for fiscal responsibility and working to get the taxes we already pay back to Bexar County. Austin will be certain to continue to withhold funds if they can starve local government into raising local taxes while state lawmakers continue to steal and misuse our money.

But even this isn't true. The ATD sales tax revenues and Texas Mobility Funds are sources of tax revenue (not backed by tolls). So the reconfiguration of 281 to implement the two tolled-HOV bus lanes will be 100% paid for -- there is NO reason why ANY Texan should pay a toll to use these lanes. To do so is a DOUBLE TAX! It's a complete misrepresentation of the truth to imply there's not enough money to fix 281 & keep it a freeway, so we had to turn to tolls.

Watch Wolff call for the vote to include toll lanes on 281 & 1604 where he said if you don't like it, 'you can fry me for it later' here.

See the Wolff Toll Plan adopted at the MPO June 25 here.

MPO plan brings roads faster

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Transportation Policy Board of the San Antonio Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, had to make some important decisions about area road planning last month.

We decided our community can no longer wait for the Legislature to halt the diversion of transportation dollars for other uses and to index the gasoline tax. For this reason, among others, the decisions we made were to push forward with plans for the long-awaited expansions of U.S. 281 and Loop 1604.

The current plans were born in March, when the Texas Department of Transportation announced that it had $2 billion in additional federal and state funding to parcel out among the state's transportation districts. I scrambled to put together a nontolled financing plan that would dedicate our area's portion to U.S. 281 and Loop 1604 and match it with other local, state and federal dollars that we have secured or will secure in the near future.

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