Friday, January 05, 2007

"The CAMPO politicians know that their buddies have been de-elected, and they know that they can be de-elected as well. "

Austin Toll Party Trying To Stop Phase 2 Of Toll Roads

Jan 5, 2007

KXAN TV (Austin, Texas)
Copyright 2006

Starting Saturday, you'll have to pay to drive on Austin's new toll roads, which is known as phase one of the toll road project. Phase two is still up in the air.

A group is hoping to stop that toll plan dead in its tracks.

The phase two project calls for tolls on roads already built, including parts of Highways 71, 290, 183 and 360.

If some elected officials have their way, it'll cost you to drive on those roads. These are roads built by your taxes.

The phase two toll road project has been stopped once and comes up for another vote in early January.

Friday, the Austin Toll Party group was passing out flyers hoping to educate drivers keep the roads free.

Austin Toll Party is trying to stop the phase two toll roads on Highways 71, 290, 183 and 360. They are calling it the knock-out punch campaign.

The group handed out flyers trying to educate people. They vow there's more to come.

"That's just the beginning because they're running amok here taking our existing roads," Richard Reeves with the Austin Toll Party said.

Reeves is talking about the elected officials who voted to make you pay tolls on roads that are already paid for. The activists are targeting those elected officials in a new online video.

"As soon as the public is educated that one of these elected officials voted to toll a road we've already paid for, it is the kiss of death," Sal Costello with the Austin Toll Party said.

Costello says the group has already held elected officials accountable by claiming to be instrumental in the last election and ousting a county commissioner and the vice chair of CAMPO. Costello is hoping the current politicians will hear their message.

"They know that their buddies have been de-elected, and they know that they can be de-elected as well," Costello said.

The phase two toll project will gather the public input on January 17. The vote on the phase two project is slated for February 10.

Until then, the campaign continues on the streets and online.

"Our politicians, our representatives need to learn to stand up, get a spine, get a backbone and say, 'No.' And we the people will get behind them if they'll do that," Reeves said.

Councilmember McCracken and Representative Strama did vote to toll the roads, but now say they're reconsidering tolling these existing roadways.

Whether you're for or against the toll roads, Austin Toll Party's Web site has set-up an automatic e-mail, where you can offer your opinion and send it to the 23 CAMPO board members with one click.

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