Bexar County at the Toll-Crossroads!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
December 10, 2009
Veteran State Senator and Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee stated just this past October, "As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security, I can attest that the only near-term answer to the transportation funding dilemma we are facing is to raise and index the gas tax. Stopping the diversion of gas tax revenues for other legislative purposes, as is long overdue, will not alone solve the problem.
"The motor fuels (gas) tax is a credible source of transportation funding for at least the next 20 years. Based upon careful study, it is by far the most fiscally conservative way to build our Texas roads. The persons who most often criticize it are politicians doing their level best to avoid any sort of "tax increase" on their political record. Where, fellow drivers, is the statesmanship in that?"
The real problem with tolling existing roads is the never-ending tolling and noncompete agreements that preclude the alternative free routes which compete with the toll roads and diminish their financial viability. Related to the noncompete agreements and equally unkind are the comprehensive development agreements (CDA's). If we at the MPO were to pass the proposed Long-Range Plan for our transportation system's Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) the list below is just a sampling of the roadways that are proposed for tolling:
- Hwy 90 (from 410 to 211)
- I-10 (from 410 to Kendall County line)
- Loop 1604 (just about the entire loop, not just the north half)
- 281 (from 1604 to Comal County line)
- I-37 (from 410 south to Atascosa County line)
- Bandera Rd (from 410 to 1604 still appears despite amendment to remove it)
- interchange at I-10 & 1604
- interchange at 281 & 1604 (northbound ramps)
- interchange at 1604 & 151
- interchange at 1604 & 90
- interchange at 1604 & 1-35
- interchange at I-35 & 410
- Kelly Pkwy/Spur 371 (US 90 to SH 16)
- ALL of I-35 (from Atascosa to Comal County line)
A retired mechanical engineer curious about methods of funding Long-Range plans of other MPO's took time to call the Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Directors of the below listed cities. The bigger city MPO's did not respond to his calls. The MPOS below are programming their Long-Range Plans using traditional funding methods (gas taxes, registration fees and state bond monies, etc.), not tolling and CDAs. Furthermore, they do not agree with the premise that there will be no money for new roads from traditional funding sources come 2012 since the 2012 budget has neither drafted nor adopted yet.
- Wichita Falls
- Bryan College Station
Summoning the courage to properly steward the financing of Texas roads and long overdue mass transit with conventional methods must be a top priority!