Friday, August 31, 2007

"Report is sparking an anti TxDOT fervor across Washington D.C."

1200 WOAI Interstate Toll Exclusive Prompts U.S. Senate Action

Hutchison vows to introduce a bill to prohibit tolling of Interstates, entire TexDOT tolling plan in jeopardy

August 31, 2007

By Jim Forsyth
1200 WOAI
Copyright 2007

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison today vowed to 'immediately' introduce a measure that would prohibit states from tolling existing Interstate highways under any circumstances.

It's in response to that 1200 WOAI news exclusive Thursday, which has now been copied by other media statewide, revealing a secret Texas Department of Transportation plan to 'buy back' the federal equity in Interstates to get around a federal prohibition against tolling any highway paid for by federal tax money.

"I intend to immediately introduce as free standing legislation my 2005 amendment that the Senate passed to prohibit tolling of existing Interstate highways," Hutchison said.

The 1200 WOAI news report is sparking an anti TxDOT fervor across Washington D.C.

Congressman Charlie Gonzalez called TxDOT's toll plan 'alarming.'

"The public should never be charged to use public highways which were built with their tax revenue," Gonzalez said. "Toll roads create an unnecessary fiscal burden on citizens, and I will oppose any federal plan to facilitate their construction by utilizing the federal highway system."

The 1200 WOAI news report appears to have possibly fatally damaged TxDOT's toll road initiatives, especially the already controversial Trans Texas Corridor.

Even the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the group that makes long term transportation plans, said today it has done all of it's work 'under the premise' that tolls will only be assessed on new lanes.

"The MPO has not supported the tolling of existing highways or existing lanes," MPO Policy Board Chair Sheila McNail said. "Such a measure will not be implemented in the MPO planning area."

Many citizens who have called or been interviewed by 1200 WOAI news indicated they were on the fence about the toll issue, but now feel strongly that toll road should be opposed.

© 2007 Clear Channel Communications:

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE