Lawsuit: "Since some lawmakers serve on MPO boards, there is no separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government."
October 6, 2005
SAN ANTONIO -- A watchdog group filed a lawsuit Thursday to stop the construction of toll roads in San Antonio and across Texas.
The lawsuit, filed by People for Efficient Transportation, claims that San Antonio Metropolitan Planning Organization, is violating the Texas Constitution by using federal dollars for toll roads that PET claims it doesn't have the authority to do.
The group claims since some lawmakers serve on MPO boards, there is no separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government, as the constitution states.
The lawsuit also names Gov. Rick Perry as a defendant because he authorized the MPOs. PET claims Perry's toll-road plans include converting existing highways into toll roads that will not solve traffic congestion.
"It's a double tax," said PET officer and founder Sal Costello. "It's morally and ethically wrong."
The lawsuit seeks to replace the current MPOs with a seven-member board that would be elected by citizens and appointed by the governor and a local transit organization.
Plans to build the first phase of toll roads is scheduled to begin in early 2006.
New lanes on Loop 1604 between Interstates 35 and 10 would be built on the North Side, in addition to new lanes on Highway 281 from Loop 1604 to the Comal County line.
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