Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Odd Couple: "Could these two share the Republican ticket without driving their base crazy?"

rick n rudy1
Rick Perry and Rudy Giuliani
Giuliani /Perry '-08?

Matt Lewis
Town Hall .com
Copyright 2007

The other week, I reported that Texas Governor Rick Perry might be on the short list of possible Rudy Giuliani running mates.

This story seems to confirm that my prediction, at least, wasn't totally absurd ...

Giuliani has also developed a bond with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom he helped win re-election last year. That groundwork could make Perry a high-profile ally in Texas, although the governor hasn't yet endorsed a presidential candidate.

Bracewell & Giuliani's political action committee gave $10,000 to Perry a year ago, just a few weeks before his re-election. Perry and Giuliani have talked in person and by telephone several times and have a good relationship, Black said.

... But Perry's Giuliani connection may represent both a bright national future for the governor, as well as trouble back home among his base:

Bracewell & Giuliani represents a business consortium involved in the Trans-Texas Corridor, a costly, high-profile toll road pushed by Perry and opposed by farmers and ranchers.

Many Texas grassroots conservatives whom I talked to last week had clearly turned on Perry. One of their criticisms has to do with this proposed superhighway which would go from the Mexican border to Oklahoma. As noted above, Bracewell & Giuliani represent business interests pushing this Texas Corridor.

This is not to say that Perry has lost Texas Republicans. A few weeks ago, I attended the Texas GOP Straw Poll. A video of Perry was played that received tremendous applaus. Rarely have I seen a video get applause ...

But while Perry's stock may have slipped among Texas conservative activists, these same grassroots conservatives fail to realize Perry's perception outside the state of Texas is what matters most to future VP considerations.

This is for two reasons for this: One, Texans will never vote for Hillary or Obama, regardless of who is on the top of the GOP ticket. So there is no fear of losing the state.

Second, outside Texas, at least, Perry is still highly regarded as a reliably conservative southern governor who could help a candidate like Giuliani temper his moderate image (he recently stood up to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for calling on the GOP to become more moderate). What is more, Perry, a skilled fundraiser, could help raise lots of money from other Red states.

You heard it here first...

© 2007 Salem Web Network:


Giuliani Is Everyone's Worst Nightmare

September 21, 2007

by Chuck Baldwin
Chuck Baldwin Live
Copyright 2007

Former New York City Mayor and Republican Presidential contender Rudy Giuliani said this week that he was "liberals' worst nightmare." However, the truth is, Rudy Giuliani is everyone's worst nightmare.

That Rudy Giuliani is currently trying to cast himself as a conservative is beyond laughable--it is hilarious. This is a man who is unabashedly pro-abortion. He has been seen walking down Fifth Avenue with thousands of homosexuals demanding "gay rights." He himself is a cross-dresser. He has had numerous marriages and only God knows how many sexual affairs. He has been one of the country's most radical proponents of gun control. He made New York a sanctuary city for illegal aliens and is a strong proponent of amnesty for illegal aliens. As a prosecutor, his abuse of power and disregard for law are legendary. (See )

In addition, Rudy Giuliani is a senior partner in the law firm that "represents CITGO, the oil company controlled by Venezuela's anti-American and terrorist-supporting ruler Hugo Chavez." Giuliani's law firm also acts "as the exclusive legal counsel for Cintra, the Spanish firm that has been granted the right to operate a toll road in the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) project."

(Please read Cliff Kincaid's entire column for more on Giuliani's shady and untoward activities at )

Yes, my friends, the umbilical cord connecting the SPP, NAFTA Superhighway and burgeoning North American Union is also connected to Rudy Giuliani.

Yet, Rudy Giuliani wants people to believe that he is "liberals' worst nightmare"? Who is he kidding? Giuliani is a liberal. Actually, Rudy Giuliani is worse than a liberal. He is a liberal that likes to hurt people. I tell you the truth, Rudy Giuliani scares me far more than Hillary Clinton does. Far more. I'll say it right here: if the 2008 Presidential election comes down to Hillary vs. Giuliani, Hillary is the "lesser of two evils." That's how bad Giuliani is.

Any Christian who would vote for Rudy Giuliani needs to check out his or her salvation. And before a conservative could vote for Giuliani, he would have to surrender every conviction and principle he ever held.

As for the Republican Party, if it nominates Rudy Giuliani as its Presidential candidate next year, conservatism will be forever vanquished from the Party. George W. Bush has already just about destroyed conservatism within the GOP. A Giuliani nomination would finish the job.

Rudy Giuliani likes to paint himself as being tough on terrorism. The truth is, Rudy Giuliani is a warmonger. A Giuliani Presidency would mean an expansion of military interventionism and preemptive war like you can't imagine. One can call me what one wants, but I am warning the American people, just as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller tried to warn the German people about Hitler: Rudy Giuliani is a monster. Anyone who is paying attention knows this is true.

For example, just two days ago, Giuliani urged expanding NATO to include Australia, India, Israel, Japan, and Singapore, along with "a whole group of others that we could put on that list." As originally designed, NATO's purpose was to counterbalance the former Soviet Union's influence in Europe. However, Giuliani wants to expand NATO into a "global body." He also said he wants to "redouble" the war in Afghanistan. He further said the U.S. should consider the possibility of a "large war with a nation state." So, could Giuliani be planning a preemptive "large war" with other countries? One can only wonder.

Furthermore, if anyone thinks that George W. Bush is obsessed with domestic spying and surveillance, just wait until Giuliani becomes President. You can count on him pressing his anti-Fourth Amendment and anti-Second Amendment agendas to the nth degree through all sorts of executive orders and signing statements.

You can also expect amnesty for illegal aliens to be quickly achieved under a Giuliani administration, along with the completion of the North American Union and NAFTA Superhighway. Of course, this will also be the case if Hillary is elected President, except that if Hillary is leading the charge, many will oppose it; whereas if Giuliani leads the charge, they won't.

This brings up the other thing that makes a Giuliani Presidency so dangerous: the total lack of resistance that rank-and-file conservatives (including Christians) have demonstrated when Republicans control the White House. Absent resistance from his own party and from grassroots conservatives, a Giuliani administration would be left free to perpetrate radical fascist and imperialistic policies completely unfettered.

Everything about Rudy Giuliani smacks of fraud, indecency, greed, and power-lust. Even the wave of 9/11, which Giuliani is riding to the Presidential election, is fraught with duplicity. In fact, New York City firefighters are so fearful their former mayor might succeed in his quest to become President that they came out against his candidacy in a dramatic video. I urge all my readers to watch this moving video presentation. See it at

Yes, Rudy Giuliani is a nightmare all right. But not just for liberals. He is a nightmare for conservatives, Christians, independents, constitutionalists, and for people the world over. Furthermore, Rudy Giuliani is a threat to freedom, constitutional government, the rule of law, traditional morality, and to national sovereignty and independence. As I said, Rudy Giuliani is everyone's worst nightmare.

© 2007 Chuck Baldwin Live:

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


Texas Toll Roads Caught Ignoring Safety Standards

Standards on setting speed limits not followed

September 22, 2007

Copyright 2007

Before you get a speeding ticket, someone has to set a speed limit.

That's the government's job and it's required to follow stringent standards when setting speed limits.

But News 8 Investigates has learned those standards are not followed on large stretches of the Dallas North Tollway and the Bush Turnpike.

Experts say that calls into question the validity of speeding tickets.

Someone is clocking your speeds out there and it's not the police.

It's an engineer, in this case, a consultant working for the Texas Department of Transportation.

He's doing a speed study.

It's a test calculating the actual speeds people travel when traffic is light and it's required by state law.

And the law says you have to do one before you set a speed limit. Why?

"Statistics show that 85 percent of the people drive at a prudent and reasonable speed. If you set a speed limit lower than that, you're actually punishing prudent and reasonable drivers," said Kelly Selman, TxDOT director of transportation.

TxDOT controls most of our highways like 35 and 75.

How about the North Texas Tollway Authority?

The NTTA operates the North Dallas Tollway and the Bush Turnpike.

It turns out the agency has rejected some speed study results that show speeds could actually be increased in some places.

And News 8 has learned on some stretches of the tollway there are no speed studies at all.

From downtown to 635, on the tollway, the speed limit is 55 mph.

In the most recent speed study, a consultant concluded traffic naturally flows at around 72 mph, not 55.

Many motorists seem to know that already.

"It's a little too slow," said one motorist.

"I think it should be closer to 65. That would be nice," said another.

The consultants report suggested NTTA could increase speeds to 60 mph or greater.

To do that, it recommended evaluating traffic accident data, performing additional speed analysis and evaluating roadway materials.

But NTTA never followed up on any of them.

Mark Bouma is NTTA's Director of Engineering - he says the tollway was not engineered to safely carry higher speeds.

"NTTA wants to ensure that we provide a very safe facility for all our [vehicles] on the roadway," he said.

But government research shows setting the speed limit below the speed drivers actually travel doesn't make roads safer - and can even make them more dangerous.

"Based on looking at all the information that was available we felt that a safe and prudent speed was lower than just what the speed studies had shown," Bouma added.

Between 635 and Bush, on the tollway, is another story.

The speed limit here is 60.

But based on what?

"The speed was set based on certain facts," Bouma said.

"Speed study should be one of those aspects. We need to go back and research our files and find that information."

They never found it because they never did one, and they never did one on all the 30 plus miles of the Bush Turnpike, where the speed limit is 60 mph.

Texas law says NTTA "shall follow" state procedures when establishing speed zones.

That did not happen.

Attorney John Giofreddi's firm handles thousands of speeding tickets a year.

"They take short cuts, and you know, people get trampled in the short cuts. They always do. They always will," he said.

He says the absence of a speed study does not give you the right to speed but it would be grounds to fight a ticket at trial.

A costly option that few clients are interested in.

"99 out of 100 they just want to get out of the ticket and they want to spend as little money as possible to do so," Giofreddi added.

That means the larger question rarely gets asked.

But Bouma insists they are not setting people up to get speeding tickets.

"That is not the intent of setting the speed limit lower. The speed limits are set at the opinion of what is safe," he said.

© 2007 KVUE Television, Inc.:

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


  • DFW Regional Concerned Citizens

  • TrinityVote
  • Letters to TxDOT "cover the spectrum from polite and well-reasoned to death threats."

    Toll road plans attract wrath of citizens

    Comments to TxDOT show scope of opposition to convert interstates

    Sept. 21, 2007

    Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
    Copyright 2007

    AUSTIN — Angry citizens protesting toll road plans for existing interstate highways might think their letters to state transportation officials are tossed in the trash, unread and unnoted.

    In fact, records obtained under the Texas Public Information Act show state transportation officials forwarding citizen e-mails to each other that bashed them as "morons" and "greedy dogs."

    The citizen comments came in response to a little-noticed Texas Department of Transportation report to Congress earlier this year called "Forward Momentum." In it, TxDOT urged lawmakers to allow states to buy back parts of interstate highways and convert existing lanes to toll lanes, possibly run by private companies.


    Sometimes TxDOT officials added their own sarcastic remarks for internal consumption — "Oh lord, now they're asking about my homeland!!!" Cindy Mueller, head of strategic partnerships at the Texas Department of Transportation, noted above one citizen complaint.

    But officials also plotted strategies to turn staunch toll road opponents into advocates of letting local voters decide tolling matters, which state law already requires.

    The Houston Chronicle obtained copies of the public's overwhelmingly negative comments about TxDOT's toll-road initiatives as the issue heads to district court in Austin Monday.

    From politeness to threats

    A citizens group wants a judge to bar TxDOT from using taxpayer dollars to lobby Congress on federal toll road conversions or for ads promoting toll roads to the public.

    "I've been reading the comments we've been receiving from (generally) the San Antonio area regarding our proposed federal agenda," Coby Chase, director of TxDOT's government and public affairs division, wrote to colleagues.

    "They cover the spectrum from polite and well-reasoned to death threats," he said. "Nothing like public service; it's why we're paid the big dollars."

    The citizen e-mail actually contains two references to hanging. The most pointed was written by someone identified only as John Hutson: "If I had anything to say about TxDOT, I would suggest an old fachion (sic) necktie party. Of course you would be the guest of honor."


    Response considered

    Citizen insults hurled at TxDOT often followed statements evoking the image of a wounded taxpayer.

    "Enough already," said a writer called wildchildmdc. "Now you want to purchase existing highways from the government. YOU GREEDY DOGS ARE SO DISGUSTING."

    TxDOT officials decided it would be a good idea to write replies to citizens, thanking them for commenting. Mueller suggested varying the response "depending on the severity" of the comment, but added, "This way, they'll know we actually read what they wrote."

    Chase said it might be interesting to ask toll road opponents a question and see how they respond.

    "If we were able to buy back portions of the Interstate, we couldn't toll it unless local voters approved it," he said, noting in parenthesis "that's in state law."

    "Without revealing it's in state law, I'd like to know what some of these opponents think about voter approval," he said.

    A repeated refrain from citizens was fierce opposition to the state's idea of selling portions of tolled federal highways to private companies.

    "This is an outrage!" wrote TheJollyRoger1. "How can you justify giving private companies perks on the taxpayers' dime WITH NO ACCOUNTABILITY! Where's my tax break for being a good citizen ... This is how nations fall apart, rotting from the inside out all in the name of GREED."

    Mueller, of TxDOT, referred to the following letter as her "new favorite":

    "If you value your nation and state, and if you have a decent conscience, please make known, and fight the forces that are operating covertly against the common taxpayer," wrote E. Hauschild of Seguin, noting the problem of "tremendous" citizen apathy about participating in their government.

    "I know you know what I'm talking about," Hauschild added. "You wouldn't be where you are if you didn't."

    © 2007 Houston Chronicle:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

    To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


    Friday, September 21, 2007

    EXACT: Strictly and completely in accord with fact; not deviating from truth or reality; not approximate--American Heritage Dictionary

    Trinity tollroad plan 'could change'

    September 21, 2007

    Copyright 2007

    The Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Worth has a word of caution tonight for Dallas voters regarding the campaign visuals coming out on the Trinity tollroad vote November 6th.

    Nothing is final yet but what does the corps actually mean?

    When the NTTA (North Texas Tollway Authority) released a video of the Trinity tollroad, it cautioned the design is subject to change.

    The Army corps of Engineers that makes final approval echoes that.

    "It's just a drawing at this moment so, I'm anticipating there will be some changes," said the Corps Gene Rice.

    Yet Mayor Tom Leppert claimed voters can see exactly what the proportions are of the road and park in the video.

    When News 8 asked Leppert to clarify, given the Corps' position, he answered: "It depends on your definition of exact."

    With the campaign rolling over whether to build the tollroad, accuracy is an issue.

    For example, the NTTA video shows trees planted in the levee.

    Voters against the tollroad, led by city council member Angela Hunt, said that's not allowed.

    "We know without question that the Army Corps of Engineers is not going to allow these trees," she said.

    But the Corps says the rule isn't absolute.

    If more soil overlays the levee, it might allow trees.

    That would protect the levee from being penetrated by the tree roots or the vegetation roots.

    There's also a question of whether NTTA can put concrete exit ramp piers in the levee as they appear in the video, since they could weaken it.

    The alternative, a long bridge over the levee, would cost a lot more.

    The Corps rule is no piers within 50 feet of a levee.

    "We try to work with them to find a solution for them to still put their road across without endangering our system," Rice said.

    As the campaigns for and against the tollroad gear up, the Corps reminds that nothing is exact.

    "Nothing has been approved," said Rice.

    © 2007 WFAA-TV, Inc.:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

    To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


    'Fascist Privatization Pimps' vs 'Paranoid Xenophobic Isolationists'

    Going protectionist over a fantasy highway

    Xenophobes see a threat to U.S. sovereignty in a Texas freeway project that would ease trade with Mexico.

    September 20, 2007

    By Shikha Dalmia and Leonard Gilroy (Reason Foundation)
    The Los Angeles Times
    Copyright 2007

    The U.S. is known for its "paranoid style" of politics, so brace yourself for the next Big Scare coming down the pike (literally) -- the Trans-Texas Corridor. Isolationist conservatives, emboldened by their jihad last year against the Dubai Ports World deal, have identified this road project as the spearhead of a conspiracy to dissolve the United States of America.

    The corridor is a proposed two-phase project meant to ensure that the Lone Star State has the transportation infrastructure necessary to handle the growing international commerce coming across the border. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement has doubled U.S.-Mexico trade, three-fourths of which flows through Texas. And the movement of goods through the state is expected to increase exponentially in the near future as Asia routes more exports through the newly expanded Panama Canal.

    Texas awarded a planning contract in 2005 for the first phase of the corridor to Cintra, a Spanish multinational company, and its San Antonio partner, Zachry Construction. (Cintra also won a $1.3-billion contract last year to build a 40-mile extension of Highway 130, a state toll road connecting Austin to San Antonio that was conceived separately from the corridor, although conspiracy activists claim otherwise.) The first 600-mile section, planned to include such features as tollways, freight-rail and truck-only lanes, will run parallel to the cramped, north-south Interstate 35 from the border town of Laredo to Oklahoma. Construction contracts for that portion haven't been awarded.

    The second phase of the corridor, whose planning contract has yet to be handed out, would build a similar highway from the western edge of the Mexico border to east Texas. This might one day link to a separate, federally initiated eight-state expansion of Interstate 69, which currently runs between Port Huron, Mich., and Indianapolis.

    This is all too sinister for Jerome Corsi, the Vietnam War veteran who helped lead the Swift Boat charge against John Kerry. Corsi has knitted disparate strands of each of these separate road projects to help convince fellow xenophobes such as Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schlafly, Lou Dobbs and the John Birch Society that the corridor is the first leg of a secret federal project called the NAFTA Superhighway, a four-football-field wide monstrosity that would run from Mexico's Yucatan to Canada's Yukon.

    Never mind that I-69 originated in a 1991 federal transportation law -- pre-dating NAFTA -- and that the planning for the Trans-Texas Corridor has been fully documented on the Web.

    Yet even Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican candidate for president, has fallen for the paranoia. You'd think that Paul would be chanting hosannas to anything that facilitates free trade, but he too fears that the "superhighway" is part of a scheme by foreign companies to erode U.S. borders and create a North American Union combining the United States, Mexico and Canada -- complete with a single government and a common currency called the "amero."

    Superhighway opponents regard even routine dialogue between the three neighbors as a treasonous assault on U.S. sovereignty. They are apoplectic about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), a forum created in 2005 for bureaucrats to discuss such radical topics as how to snag terrorists before they enter the continent and how to speed up cross-border traffic for just-in-time deliveries.

    All of this could be dismissed as the paranoid rantings of a protectionist fringe -- except that it is beginning to have a tangible negative effect on public policy.

    Montana's Legislature this summer overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the superhighway and any union of the three countries, and 18 other states are considering similar legislation. El Cajon Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter successfully amended the 2008 Transportation Appropriations Act to prohibit use of federal funds for any SPP working group. Virginia Republican Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. has introduced a House resolution against both the mythical superhighway and the fantasy union.

    After the Dubai Ports debacle, in which anti-terrorism hysteria forced Congress to thwart the transfer of U.S. port management leases held by a major British ports operator to a company based in Dubai, the atavistic idea that foreign investment erodes American sovereignty is back into vogue.

    Hunter, for instance, has added hoops to the review process that foreign bidders for U.S. companies must go through to prove that they're not a national security threat. This limits the pool of buyers for U.S. companies, thereby lowering their value and the value of 401(k) plans that invest in them. Hunter has also extended the review process to foreign companies vying to build "critical infrastructure." Should his definition include transportation projects, state governments would be deprived of crucial capital and knowledge to modernize their infrastructure.

    The paradox of protectionism is that it damages the very thing it seeks to protect. Labor unions, for example, almost killed U.S. auto and steel companies by helping erect barriers against foreign companies, which made domestic products globally noncompetitive. But the impact of today's isolationists threatens to affect the entire economy. If unchallenged, these ideologues of fear will kill the United States' prosperity in the name of protecting its sovereignty.

    Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst and Leonard Gilroy is a senior policy analyst at the Reason Foundation.

    © 2007 Los Angeles Times:

    The Road to Serfdom Is Indeed a Conspiratorial Highway

    The LA Times contracted out a hit piece on "xenophobes" who oppose the NAFTA Superhighway and SPP. The outsourced work was awarded to a pair fascists from Reason Magazine, an outfit that used to be in favor of freedom.


    By Jim Capo
    John Birch Society
    Copyright 2007

    The pre-release operating title for yesterday's LA Times home edition opinion piece on page A23 was "Conspiratorial Highway." Apparently, having realized that the ommission of the word theory would leave the article with a title too close to the truth, the editors at the popular corporate newsletter eventually went with something more in line with the true spirit of their propaganda.

    Their hit piece on those who stand up for private property rights and representative government is now titled, "Going Protectionist over a fantasy highway." For good measure, an invective-laced sub-title has also been added. It screeches:

    "Xenophobes see a threat to U.S. sovereignty in a Texas freeway project that would ease trade with Mexico."

    While the choice of title and sub-title is the perogative of the editors LA Times, the op-eds authors at Reason Magazine, Shikha Dalmia and Leonard Gilroy, also chose to toss the xenophobe epithet into the body of their work. Though they work for an outfit called Reason Magazine, Dalmia and Gilroy offer no arguments to defend their use of the slanderous epithet other than to invoke the name of the John Birch Society and other usual suspects as an a priori justification for their position. Apparently, this pair of corporatist shills is working out of some new left-libertarian dictionary that defines xenophobia as having the temerity to suggest that private property rights and representative government are worth defending.

    Here is how xenophobe bombers Dalmia and Gilroy imagine they can dispatch both the NAFTA Superhighway issue and Jerome Corsi, whose new book on the North American Union scheme is climbing the New York Times best-seller list:

    "Corsi has knitted disparate strands of each of these separate road projects to help convince fellow xenophobes such as Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schlafly, Lou Dobbs and the John Birch Society that the corridor is the first leg of a secret federal project called the NAFTA Superhighway, a four-football-field wide monstrosity that would run from Mexico's Yucatan to Canada's Yukon."

    Isn't it interesting that xenophobic unionists in Canada and fellow conspiratorial highway travelers at the Sierra Club were left off Dalmia and Gilroy's list?

    While the magazine paying for their words has long since abandoned its Randian foundations, one would think that writers working in the shadow of the great Objectivist could at least employ better reasoning in their arguments. Getting at the truth however is obviously not the objective of their opinion piece.

    Dalmia and Gilroy go on to contort a few more facts in their work on behalf of their corporatist sponsors:

    "Never mind that I-69 originated in a 1991 federal transportation law pre-dating NAFTA and that the planning for the Trans-Texas Corridor has been fully documented on the Web.

    Dalmia and Gilroy are either weak on their own analytical skills or they have an exceptionally low opinion of the reasoning powers of LA Times readers. The fact is, the NAFTA agreement did not just show up overnight on the doorstep of Congress in 1993. The I-69 corridor planning in 1991 was concomitant with the negotiations and planning of the NAFTA agreement done during the first Bush administration — before it was passed with the essential aid of Clinton The First in 1993. NAFTA was, in the main, a done deal when the I-69 work was breezing through Congress as part of some pork-laden highway bill.

    Rather than no possible connection based on the chronology of NAFTA approval, the I-69 groundwork was being laid at exactly at the same time. This does not automatically make for a connection of I-69 to NAFTA Superhighway plans, but it certainly does not justify the time-stamp disconnection that Dalmia and Gilroy seek to use to eliminate all suspicions.

    As for Texas Trans Corridor (TTC) planning being fully documented on the Web, let's just say that fully is decidedly the authors' opinion. If their opinion was justified however, there would not be such a furor from those being impacted by the TTC.

    Where Dalmia and Gilroy give away their true allegiances is in their knock against Ron Paul — only a sentence after dropping their xenophobe bomb:

    Yet even Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican candidate for president, has fallen for the paranoia. You'd think that Paul would be chanting hosannas to anything that facilitates free trade, but he too fears that the 'superhighway' is part of a scheme by foreign companies to erode U.S. borders and create a North American Union combining the United States, Mexico and Canada complete with a single government and a common currency called the 'amero.'"

    Hmm...."Chanting hosannas to anything that facilitates free trade" sounds like it was said with a smirk doesn't it? Real libertarians like Ron Paul and real champions of free-market enterprise like the John Birch Society know that just because some government apparatchiks and their private collaborators put a "free trade" label on a trade regimen doesn't make it so. Erasing tariffs along with the borders they are collected at and replacing them with new supra-national regulatory bodies unaccountable to local citizenry is not anything that can be legitimately considered free trade.

    This brings us then to our choice of using the word fascists to describe Dalmia and Gilroy in the leading abstract of this article. Sure, we don't like being smeared as xenophobic and that may emotionally taint our riposte, but in our case we will actually offer justification for hurling ugly epithets at our opponents.

    Here is how we see it:

    The King of Spain is free to stroll into Texas with wealth he has honestly acquired and offer private landowners rates on their property for which they are willing to sell at. If the Spanish sovereign wishes to build a superhighway on his newly purchased property in the one country on Earth founded with the people as sovereigns, he may do so. If he wishes to charge customers a fee to use his property he is generally free to do that as well. This is free trade as most libertarians, Austrian school economists and other promoters of true free markets might be willing to shout a hosanna or two over.

    If, however, the King of Spain forms a shell company that contracts with an anointed Republican front runner for President to legally represent him before governments in the United States and then negotiates with those governments to have the private land of others seized under post-Kelo eminent domain rulings, this is certainly not free trade. In this case, you could not get an honest libertarian like Ron Paul to shout anything but force and fraud. (Though you could get writers at Reason to call it anything else but what it is.)

    Therefore, by cynically dismissing as xenophobes those who value the importance of a national sovereignty that gives a free people the power to govern themselves under a representative and republican form of government, public-private partnership apologists like Dalmia and Gilroy betray themselves for what they really are: phony libertarians quite at home operating within the courts of kings — and fascists.

    Any day that the LA Times company newsletter would like to let us have it out with Dalmia and Gilroy on the editorial page as to who is using their epithets more truthfully, we would be happy to accept the challenge. We are not holding our breath, however.

    Since a free people would never voluntarily travel down the Road to Serfdom, what the LA Times and Reason magazine are really trying to do is sell us a toll ticket on the Conspiratorial highway of their sponsors.


    I would ask public-private partnership guru Mr. Gilroy to consider going back to school to bone up on what true free markets are all about, but looking at his curriculum vitae I am going to guess that libertarian standards like Human Action, Atlas Shrugged, and The Law were not part of his required reading on the way to receiving a degree in Regional and Urban Planning.

    Perhaps the most significant supporter of Reason magazine is Charles Koch, head of the world's largest private corporation. While company patriarch Fred Koch called Robert Welch a friend and supported The John Birch Society, the younger Koch has fallen rather far from the tree of liberty. Alas, Charles Koch, also a driving force at The Cato Institute, is no John Galt or Hank Rearden no matter how many Randian and Misian laurels Forbes magazine offers to bestow on him.

    There is freedom and liberty and then there is fascism paying good money to pass itself off as freedom and liberty. (And yes, I know the commies said the same thing about the John Birch Society in the 1960s. But, whom are you going to trust, me or the commies?)

    © 2007 John Birch Society:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

    To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


    Marginalizing the Impetus

    Shoot at Schutze, He's an Easy Target

    Sep 21, 2007

    Jim Shutze
    The Dallas Observer
    Copyright 2007

    Nice enough guy from The Dallas Morning News came over yesterday to interview me for the profile they say they’re doing of me. Sort of like having someone come in to paint a bull’s-eye on your forehead. One wants to ask, “But what’s it for?”

    Oh, golly. I guess I know that one, don’t I, having been in the forehead bull’s-eye painting business most of my life.

    Had to admire, really. Very nice bull’s-eye. Excellent reds and blues. And now, what is it I do? Go over and stand in front of the large window? Yeah, this is all ringing a bell.

    I explained to Unfair Park readers a few days ago how I had learned from snitches within the pave-the-Trinity camp that their media plan is to identify the save-the-park effort with city council person Angela Hunt and me as a way of marginalizing it. Within days of my hearing it, I got calls from both D and The News saying they wanted to interview me.

    A week later the pave-the-Trinity forces began referring to next November’s referendum on putting a toll road up the middle of the Trinity River park as the “Angela Hunt Plan.” Yeah -- Angela Hunt plus 90,000 other people who signed petitions saying they wanted a chance to vote this sucker down next November.

    I have said I don’t think they can marginalize Hunt, who is central, not marginal, to the whole issue. And I have said that marginalizing me is like taking candy from a baby. Giving candy to a baby? Giving a baby to a … whatever. I am marginal and proud.

    I do think I’m beginning to get a peek at the rationale here, and, as with most things in my life, it’s not going to be as conspiratorial as I first suspected, but my paranoia was still a damned good start.

    I was asked by The News person, for example, if I had ever thought I might wind up working for a weekly newspaper after having worked for big dailies. This is an expression of unspoken culture, especially newspaper culture.

    The idea is that working for a big daily is higher up the food chain than working for a weekly. It’s a quaint idea that ignores the fact the big dailies are all going out of business. They have to sever a foot or an arm every six months in order to stay ahead of the gangrene.

    I think some of this focus on me is motivated by a sincere belief that the Dallas Observer should not have had a central influential role on this issue, because the Observer, according to the old culture, is marginal. Show people that a lot of the impetus for this controversy came from the free weekly full of sex ads, according to this way of thinking, and you will succeed in marginalizing the impetus.

    Of course, I see it differently. In my view, it’s the dailies that are hemorrhaging readers right and left, whacking off whole limbs of their reporting staffs in order to stay in business, ditching major areas of coverage. And guess what? In that process they are becoming increasingly marginal.

    I wonder if they even know any more what it takes to be at the center of the action. You kind of need to get out there in the street and start shootin’ people. Take some risks, spill some blood. It earns you a certain centrality, a certain amount of cred. Or a bull’s-eye on your forehead.

    Yeah, I suspect people have indeed listened to the Observer, to me and to other people here who have written about the Trinity, because we have endeavored sincerely to tell them something they didn’t already know. Is that a trick? I always thought it was like being in the hot dog business and selling hot dogs.

    So what we are really about to see, I think, at least in The News, is an expression of cultural confusion. The News’ coverage of all this is about to ask, “Why are you people listening to the Observer and not to us?”

    Why do I feel embarrassed for them?

    I don’t know what D will come up with. Their story is being written by Eric Celeste, who used to work here. He’s way too smart to be confused. Now, he’s a guy who worries me.

    © 2007 The Dallas Observer:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

    To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


    "Bracewell & Giuliani represents a business consortium involved in the Trans-Texas Corridor."

    Giuliani's ties to Houston law firm gives him Texas boost

    Sept. 21, 2007

    The Associated Press
    Copyright 2007

    AUSTIN — Republican Rudy Giuliani — thrice-married, liberal on social issues and a consummate New Yorker — seems an unlikely White House contender to be embraced by a Texas' GOP establishment rooted in the energy industry and dominated by religious conservatives.

    But the former New York mayor has built a formidable political base in Texas with the help of well-connected Republican money men. He owes his advantage in part to his role as a name partner with a powerhouse, Houston-based law firm known for its impressive roster of energy-giant clients, Bracewell & Giuliani.

    His partnership in the law firm has also brought Giuliani unwelcome criticism in connection with some of the firm's more controverisal clients, including a Spanish contractor involved in planning part of a Texas superhighway toll road known as the Trans-Texas Corridor.

    Texas farmers and other landowners are worried their property rights will be trampled to make way for the highway. Conspiracy theorists see Giuliani, because of his highway connections, as allied with a cabal of international monied interests plotting to supplant the United States with a North American Union that includes Mexico and Canada.

    Giuliani joined the law firm — then called Bracewell & Patterson — in March 2005. More than 400 lawyers work for the firm, which has offices in New York, Washington, Connecticut, Dubai, Kazakhstan and London.

    Giuliani reported in a federal financial disclosure form in May that he received $1.2 million in income from Bracewell & Giuliani during 2006 and the first five months of 2007. He was also entitled to a 7.5 percent share of revenue from the firm's New York office.

    The firm's managing partner, Patrick Oxford of Houston, is the national chairman of Giuliani's presidential campaign. A former University of Texas System regent appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush, Oxford has strong ties to many of Texas' top political leaders. He raised $100,000 for Bush in his 2000 presidential run, served as co-chairman of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's re-election campaign last year and is treasurer for Sen. John Cornyn's current re-election campaign.

    The law firm's employees in several Texas cities have also donated to Giuliani's campaign, federal election reports show.

    "The relationship with Bracewell has given Giuliani a financial foothold in the state," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, which tracks money in politics.

    While Giuliani isn't "totally in sync with the base on social issues," Texans liked his take-charge approach during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and his mayoral record on crime-fighting and budget control, said Austin-based GOP consultant Reggie Bashur, who is not working with any presidential candidates.

    "The grassroots in Texas is ... strongly conservative. ... very much right-to-life, very fiscally conservative, strong on national defense, very strong on the war on terror, not overly sympathetic to the gay rights movement," Bashur said.

    Because Texas' primary comes late in the lineup of nomination contests, the state's role in the nomination is primarily that of money generator. Giuliani's campaign finance chairman is Roy Bailey, a former finance chairman of the Texas Republican Party. Dallas billionaire T. Boone Pickens and Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks are major fundraisers.

    Giuliani had raised $3.69 million in Texas as of July 30, the most of any presidential candidate. Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton was second with $2 million. Among Giuliani's Republican rivals, Sen. John McCain has raised $1.79 million from Texas donors and Mitt Romney has raised $1.76 million.

    "I think there are many issues, principally on the issue of leadership and overall electability, that are causing many voters in Texas to support the mayor," said Giuliani spokesman Elliott Bundy.

    Giuliani has also developed a bond with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom he helped win re-election last year. That groundwork could make Perry a high-profile ally in Texas, although the governor hasn't yet endorsed a presidential candidate.

    Bracewell & Giuliani's political action committee gave $10,000 to Perry a year ago, just a few weeks before his re-election. Perry and Giuliani have talked in person and by telephone several times and have a good relationship, Black said.

    Bracewell & Giuliani represents a business consortium involved in the Trans-Texas Corridor, a costly, high-profile toll road pushed by Perry and opposed by farmers and ranchers.

    The first phase of Perry's proposed $184 billion toll road, envisioned as part of a superhighway stretching from Oklahoma to the Mexico border, was planned by the Cintra Zachry consortium, composed of Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte SA of Spain, one of the world's largest developers of toll roads, and Zachry Construction Co. of San Antonio.

    Landowners say they worry that fields and farmhouses in Texas families for generations would be bulldozed for the highway. The state acknowledges some private land will be taken, but Perry said new roads are needed to handle Texas' growing population and trade.

    The consortium sued Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott last year to keep parts of its development agreement with the state secret, saying the information was proprietary. The Texas Department of Transportation took the unusual step of siding with the consortium in the lawsuit against Abbott, whose office had ruled the agreement should be made public.

    The transportation department and the consortium dropped the lawsuit last October and agreed to release the contents of the contract.

    But the lawsuit further fueled concerns about foreign ownership of a major Texas highway, and the project continues to be criticized by conservative groups like the Eagle Forum and the John Birch Society, who see it as part of an international conspiracy to create a North American Union. The conspiracy theory has also provided fodder for cable television commentators like CNN's Lou Dobbs.

    Earlier this year, Giuliani sold his investment firm, Giuliani Capital, for an undisclosed sum to the Macquarie Group, which is part of Macquarie Bank of Australia. Cintra and Macquarie's infrastructure group formed a consortium that operates a major toll road in Indiana.

    Scott Segal, a Washington-based Bracewell & Giuliani partner in charge of its government relations division, said Giuliani was not involved in the Texas toll road legal work and that the law firm doesn't lobby on behalf of Cintra Zachry.

    "Mayor Giuliani has had no association or has done no work for the Cintra Zachry venture," Segal said.

    Black, Perry's spokesman, said he doubts Perry even knows that Giuliani's firm has represented the transportation companies in connection with the project.

    "The governor does not concern himself with who Rudy Giuliani's law firm may or may not represent," Black said.

    © 2007 The Associated Press:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

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    "Selling toll roads like soap is an outrageous use of the taxpayers' money."

    Toll road foe sues over TxDOT ad campaign


    Peggy Fikac Austin Bureau
    San Antonnio Express-News
    Copyright 2007

    AUSTIN — An activist outraged over state transportation officials' multimillion-dollar campaign to promote toll roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor is taking her fight to court.

    Terri Hall of the San Antonio Toll Party and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom wants a state court order to halt spending on the "Keep Texas Moving" campaign because, she contends, it violates a state prohibition on state officers or employees using their authority for political purposes.

    "Unlike purely educational public relations efforts such as the 'Don't Mess with Texas' campaign, the KTM campaign is a one-sided attempt to advocate one political point of view on a highly controversial matter that is far from politically decided," Hall said in her court petition.

    She also wants to block lobbying attempts by the transportation officials to persuade Congress to allow more tolling, such as a proposal on tolling interstates.

    The state is asking that Hall's claim be denied and her petition dismissed, saying the Texas Department of Transportation is allowed by law to promote toll projects and that its campaign is responsive to a call from the public and elected officials for more information on road initiatives.

    "Merely because plaintiff disagrees with the tolling of roads in Texas does not provide her with an avenue for relief," said the filing by the state attorney general on behalf of Steven Simmons, interim executive director of TxDOT, and Coby Chase, director of the agency's government and public affairs division.

    TxDOT spokesman Chris Lippincott said, "For quite some time now TxDOT has heard calls from elected leaders and the driving public to explain what we are doing to improve mobility in our state and why we are doing it. The 'Keep Texas Moving' public involvement campaign is an effort to engage Texans on these issues and seek their participation in solving some of our state's most serious problems."

    A hearing had been scheduled Thursday, but the state objected to the case being heard by a visiting judge. The hearing was delayed until Monday.

    "Selling toll roads like soap is an outrageous use of the taxpayers' money. Whether or not it constitutes highway robbery under the law is a question best left to the judge," said Craig McDonald of Texans for Public Justice, which tracks money in politics.

    Toll roads and the ambitious proposed transportation network known as the Trans-Texas Corridor have been touted by Gov. Rick Perry and others as necessary in the face of congestion.

    But the initiative has drawn widespread criticism over the potential corridor route and the state partnering with private companies to run toll roads.

    The campaign includes a range of advertising and elements, such as training for officials who will appear on radio talk shows. It is estimated to cost $7 million to $9 million in state highway funds.

    © 2007 San Antonio Express-News:

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    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    "They not only crossed the line into illegal lobbying, they leaped over it."


    Lawsuit filed to STOP TxDOT’s illegal lobbying

    TURF Founder seeks temporary restraining order to halt public relations campaign

    September 20, 2007

    Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (T.U.R.F.)
    Copyright 2007

    TURF Founder Terri Hall has filed a petition for a temporary restraining order against the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in Travis County District Court and the case is scheduled to come before visiting Judge Bill Bender at 3 PM.

    The petition also seeks injunctive relief, including Temporary Restraining Order against Steven E. Simmons, P.E. Individually and as Interim Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation and Coby Chase, Individually and as Director of the Texas Department of Transportation Government and Public Affairs Division.

    This lawsuit is brought pursuant to § 37, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. TxDOT’s expenditure of public funds for the Keep Texas Moving campaign is illegal, and an injunction prohibiting any further illegal expenditures in this regard.

    TxDOT has violated § 556.004 of the Texas Government Code by directing the expenditure of public funds for political advocacy in support of toll roads and the Trans Texas Corridor, and have openly indicated TxDOT’s intention to directly lobby the United States Congress in favor of additional toll road programs.

    On August 22, 2007, TURF filed a formal complaint with Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle to investigate TxDOT’s illegal lobbying and asked him to prosecute TxDOT for criminal wrongdoing. See the formal complaint here . Today’s petition seeks immediate injunctive relief in a civil proceeding.

    “Between TxDOT’s PR campaign, report to Congress asking that all limitations on tolling be lifted including buying back existing interstates, and Chairman Ric Williamson's recent trip to D.C. lobbying for the same, it's clear they've not only crossed the line into illegal lobbying, but they leaped over it,” says Hall.

    TxDOT’s report to Congress, Forward Momentum, ignited a category 5 blowback that prompted Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and U.S. Representatives Charlie Gonzalez,and Ciro Rodriguez to file legislation (S 2019 and HR 3510) to halt the tolling of existing interstates and to prohibit TxDOT from buying back interstates for the purpose of tolling them (read more here). TxDOT’s actions also prompted Rep. Rodriguez to call for a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on converting interstates to tollways and on TxDOT's ad campaign (read more here).

    The report and ad campaign have been the topic of many editorials across Texas, including the Houston Chronicle (read more here) and Express-News, and even TV newsrooms are weighing in with the General Manager of KSAT 12 TV in San Antonio giving a scathing review of the ad campaign (read more here).

    “The citizens of Texas are fed-up with TxDOT’s blatant disregard for the public's disdain of toll roads and their infinite attempts to cram toll roads down our throats using TAXPAYER MONEY to do it! It’s high time someone puts a stop to it!” Hall admonished.

    View petition and affidavits:
    © 2007 Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

    To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


    "Maybe they will listen better in Washington DC to public input than they do in Austin."

    State seeks to place tolls on interstate highways


    By Frank Summers, County Judge
    The Cameron Herald
    Copyright 2007

    Just when you think, you have heard it all something else pops up. I have stated my opinion on the state's effort to utilize tolls as the future funding for highways in Texas. Just in case you missed it, I oppose the idea of tolls being the primary source of funding for state highways.

    I need to clarify my opposition by stating I am not so much opposed to new toll roads, but rather the idea of tolling existing roads. A large portion of the price for a gallon of gas goes to the state and federal folks for highway maintenance. The roads are paid for and to toll any portion of them now would be further taxing of the citizens of Texas.

    I was upset when it came to my attention that the state is currently working on a plan to place tolls on Interstate highways. That is right, I-35, I-10 and others could all become pay to drive roads in the future if the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) has its way. To top it off it has been pretty much a secret.

    A report, entitled Forward Momentum, a Report to the 110th Congress, makes several recommendations to Congress on how best to upgrade the nation's highway system. One section of the report is particularly disturbing.

    The section titled Tolling Authority EXPANSION discusses ways that Congress could allow Texas to charge tolls on existing Interstate highways. Included in the report are Interstates 10, 35 and 27.

    Federal law generally prohibits imposing tolls on interstate highways for which federal funds have been used. Too bad, we do not have state laws like that in Texas. The report goes on to state that in some instances Congress has enacted specific legislation to allow states to “buy back,” or reimburse the federal government. This reimbursement relieves that section of highway from the prohibition of tolls.

    So now TXDOT, or whoever wants to spend state tax dollars to buy back federal highways that your federal tax money already paid for. Then the state wants you to pay tolls on roads that you will have literally already paid for twice. Just does not make sense to me.

    We are supposed to have conservative representation in Austin. Someone will have to explain to me how asking the people of Texas to pay for roads twice can be called conservative. To add insult to injury they then want to make Texans pay tolls to drive on the same roads that we will already have paid for twice.

    While this may sound far fetched, like science fiction or a bad dream TXDOT representatives have confirmed the language of the report. Depending on what Congress does, this scenario could become reality

    The real punch line to this whole situation is that TXDOT representatives have stressed that any tolling would not be done without the consent of local officials and the public. Who do they think they are kidding? We see how well they have handled public input on the Trans Texas Corridor.

    I also wonder where TXDOT is coming from when they brag on the Government Accountability Office citing Texas as a leader in using toll roads to “reduce congestion.” The whole toll road pitch has been that tolls would go to pay for the construction of badly needed highways and repair of existing roads.

    It all started out with the idea that tolls be levied only on new roads, never on existing roads. Now we have gone to well maybe existing roads with your consent. Bottom line is that the move by TXDOT and the Governor to further tax the citizens of this state is moving forward.

    Take the time to call your Washington DC representatives and let them know that we have paid for these roads once. We do not need to buy them again. Maybe they will listen better in Washington DC to public input than they do in Austin.

    © 2007 The Cameron Herald:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

    To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


    Transcore's Double TaxTag

    TxTag Glitch Charges Drivers Double

    Sep 20, 2007

    KXAN (NBC) Austin news
    Copyright 2007

    Thousands of drivers pay to use the new toll roads of Central Texas, but if they drive along sections of Loop 1 and state highways 130 and 45, they're prone to pay double.

    The problem was discovered at the toll plaza at State Highway 45 and Lake Creek Parkway, just east of U.S. Route 183 and State Highway 183A.

    One Central Texas man looked more closely at his TxTag statement and wondered how many others had been charged double by mistake, as well.

    "I don't use the toll roads all that much, but I use them occasionally," said TxTag owner Marcus Davis. "And so I figured I knew I had a low balance, but it shouldn't have been as low as it was."

    The low balance made Davis do a double take because of the double charge at the Lake Creek toll plaza.

    "It may be a couple cents here or there, but it's money that I worked hard for, and I'd like it," said Davis.

    Luckily, Davis caught the mistake after going through the westbound SH 45 toll booth, which was posted as Lake Creek plaza lane 10. He e-mailed TxTag and eventually got his money back.

    The problem hasn't affected drivers just along SH 45, however, and the Texas Department of Transportation doesn't deny the problem.

    "It's not on every lane, not at every booth," said Gabriela Garcia of TxDOT. "It does happen very randomly and sporadically, which is why we have a small number of customers that are being affected. It doesn't happen every time."

    TxDOT said the glitch starts in the computer software.

    "It's a timing issue between the tag readers and the cameras that are in the lanes, so it's that software that links the two together where we have a glitch in that software," said Garcia.

    According to TxDOT, the software charges about 150 accounts double the required amount daily. That's out of about 192,000 recorded transactions.

    Davis said he is glad his proactive eyes caught the mistake; he just wonders how many others haven't caught the lack of cash in their account.

    "If someone is busy, they're just kind of skimming through, or they just don't check it at all, especially if they travel this all the time, that's a lot of money wasted," said Davis.

    If you think you've been charged twice, contact the TxTag office online or by phone at (888) 468-9824.

    TxDOT is working on the software system, and the agency will start looking at past transactions. Even if people have not contacted the agency yet, their accounts will be credited if they were charged incorrectly.

    This problem does not apply to SH 183A.

    © 2007 WorldNow and KXAN:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

    To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


    CTRMA: "The folks who were not going to get a TxTag voluntarily are being forced to make a decision."

    Tolls now enforced on 183A


    Veronica Castelo
    News 8 Austin
    Copyright 2007

    If you've received a "Notice of Toll Violation" in the mail, chances are you're one of thousands using the new 183A toll road in Williamson County without paying.

    Violation notices are being sent out now. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says about 15 percent of drivers are whizzing by the electronic tolls near Lakeline Boulevard. Last Wednesday, about 5,000 drivers used the toll road on Lakeline south and north without paying.

    The toll road open in March and was free to use until June, when it was half price. The full toll began in July. The CTRMA says they've waited until September to begin enforcing the tolls.

    "Once you've had three times through then we send you a notice with an administrative fee attached. It's a $5 fee. Then on top of that if you decide to get a TxTag we will waive the $5 fee," Steve Pustelnyk of CTRMA said.

    Part of the confusion stems from the fact that drivers pay at one booth, then a few blocks later find themselves illegally passing by the only electronic toll in Austin.

    The alternative to getting a TxTag is jumping off at one of the exits marked "free exit," like the one at Avery Ranch Boulevard. The only problem is that many of the free existing roads have been rerouted.

    "It's like a bowl of spaghetti. You just can't find your way out of where you're going. You end up elsewhere," Sal Costello of Texas Toll Party said.

    Costello is a vocal opponent of toll roads. He says it's part of a plan to get more people on board with toll roads and more money in the pockets of special interest groups.

    "People are getting pressured. I've gotten so many emails from people saying, I only got a TxTag because I'm forced to use a toll road now and I have to get TxTag to get a discount," he said.

    Pustelnyk says that's true to an extent. Highway 183A is an 11.6-mile, $238 million road that runs from 620 at 183 to south of the San Gabriel River. The portion near Lakeline Boulevard is the only part that exclusively accepts electronic payment.

    "With an all electronic road like ours, to a degree some people, the folks who were not going to get it voluntarily are being forced to make a decision," Pustelnyk said.

    Habitual offenders face penalties, like a $250 fine referred to a collection agency, but the CTRMA says they are willing to work with people.

    ©2007 TWEAN News Channel of Austin, L.P. d.b.a. News 8 Austin :

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    Blackland Coalition supports East Texas opposition to TTC-69

    Blackland Coalition meets Saturday

    Related Link: Texas 391 Commission Alliance


    The Cameron Herald
    Copyright 2007

    Blackland Coalition invites all persons concerned and opposed to the Trans Texas Corridor(s) (I35, I69, etc.) to a meeting on Saturday at Seaton Star Hall (SPJST Lodge 40). Seaton Star Hall is located 5 miles east of Temple on State Highway 53.

    The meeting will start at 7 p.m. Food and beverages will be available beginning at 6 p.m.

    Chris Hammel, president of Blackland Coalition will update the public on the many things that have taken place in the past months and what the future holds. He notes that because of the Blackland Coalition, more and more statewide grassroots organizations have been formed in organized opposition to the Trans Texas Corridor and in making consistent calls for fair hearings and legislative action. The group's opposition has sounded all the way to Oklahoma and beyond, where they have and continue to form active opposition to the TTC and the NAFTA highway system.

    Four small cities in Central Texas have formed the “Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission.” Mae Smith, president of this newly formed commission will be a featured speaker at the Blackland Coalition meeting. She will discuss the how and why small cities should form these groups to protect their communities.

    The last legislative session did result in some favorable actions to those opposed to the TTC(s). David and Linda Stall of Corridor Watch will outline what good did come out of the session. They will also give an update on the latest information regarding the East Texas TTC 69 project. Those hearings are tentatively scheduled for November and December. Blackland Coalition appreciates the efforts and support that East Texas opposition presented at the TTC 35 DEIS hearings last summer and everyone is asked to consider supporting them at the upcoming hearings in their area.

    Indy Texans founder and Blackland Coalition member, Linda Curtis will present a brief update on what that group has been doing to protect Texans and their rights. There is has been a lot of activity within that group and we can be of assistance. It is not required to be an Indy Texan member to do so.

    © 2007 The Cameron Herald:

    To search TTC News Archives click HERE

    To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE



    TxDOT warning of imposters


    Shelton Green
    KENS 5 Eyewitness News
    Copyright 2007

    Investigators have known drug smugglers are using fake Texas Department of Transportation trucks to move their goods all over Texas, but now officials know how extensive the operation is.

    TxDOT officials are supposed to be in charge of making sure Texas' 80,000 miles of roadway are in good shape.

    "We're the ones that are supposed to be driving down the highway at night or day, looking for problems and taking care of business," TxDOT spokesman Mark Bell said.

    In August, however, TxDOT was questioned about what kind of business workers were taking care of, after Department of Public Safety troopers found what turned out to be a fake TxDOT truck smuggling drugs.

    "Obviously, we hate the fact that it's tarnishing our image, because our employees are not doing that; it's the people impersonating our agency," Bell said.

    Investigators said the fake truck found in East Texas was carrying 1,000 pounds of marijuana. The driver was arrested.

    Troopers had been on the lookout after a TxDOT employee in South Texas stumbled across a fake TxDOT employee driving a fake truck weeks before.

    He noticed something about the truck wasn't right.

    "The individual had a TxDOT logo on the door, which was absolutely correct, but it was the reflective stripes on the side of the vehicle, as well as the back of the vehicle, and the numbering system (that was incorrect)," Bell said.

    Now, TxDOT is putting its employees on alert statewide.

    "TxDOT finding out about it immediately, let them know, feel free to pull over any of our vehicles at anytime. We'll make our employees aware of it. We certainly don't want the drugs hitting the streets, and we certainly don't want our employees being put in harm's way," Bell said.

    © 2007 KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News.:

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