"These toll contracts are really the epitome of selling off Texas to the highest bidder and a total betrayal of the public trust."
March 2, 2007
By BRAD WATSON / WFAA-TV
The state announced this week that when state highway 121 is done, a Spanish company, Cintra, will collect the tolls and maintain the road.
In return, Cintra will pay almost $3 billion that'll be spent on other road projects in North Texas.
The deal builds 121 faster, without raising state gasoline, and Governor Perry says this is the way to go.
"A new era of transportation is upon us and I'm proud to say North Texas is leading the way," he said.
If the current plan is followed, North Texas motorists will be driving on a lot of toll roads over the next 25 years.
In addition to existing toll roads run by the north Texas Tollway Authority, new toll roads are planned, like Loop 9, that would circle the entire metro area.
Then toll lanes would be opened along side the existing lanes on freeways like I-30 and airport freeway.
But hundreds of citizens told the senate transportation committee, that so many toll roads across the state is not the way to go.
"We're in the midst of a Texas-size tax revolt because these toll contracts are really the epitome of selling off Texas to the highest bidder and a total betrayal of the public trust," said Terri Hall from the San Antonio Toll Party.
Senator John Carona of Dallas chairs the committee.
He wants the gas tax, last increased in 1991, to track the rising cost of road construction and build more freeways.
"It's incumbent upon us as elected representatives when we're off course to change course and do what people are telling us to do," said Senator John Carona (R) Dallas.
But anti-tax forces in the house and Governor Perry want to stay the course and keep the dirt flying to build tollroads.
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