A quick word on the CAMPO vote (but by no means the only or last):

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The toll roads as proposed by TxDOT warrant and have my continued opposition. Monday night we heard eloquent statements from four other board members regarding the serious inefficiencies and inequities presented by the plan as proposed. Knowing that TxDOT will not give us the funding necessary to build the road infrastructure we need unless tolls are used as leverage, it is imperative that we as a board face these inequities head-on and do everything we can to blunt their effects.

That’s what the amendments that I offered are designed to do. In the face of a 14 to 5 loss, I lent my vote to the toll road plan Monday night to get those amendments passed. The margin by which they passed was the result of months of negotiation in which my vote was my only bargaining chip. Implementation of those amendments will take years of continued negotiation and our constant push for tax equity, local control and transportation policies that move people rather than money. I am gambling that a 15 to 4 loss with a heavily amended toll plan is better policy and better politics than a 14 to 5 loss with the TxDOT plan as proposed. Here are the differences:

TxDOT Plan as proposed:

  • TxDOT is in control of the toll road operations
  • No guarantee that toll roads wouldn’t be sold to private interests
  • Toll revenue intended to be used anywhere in the CAMPO region for any transportation project
  • No plan for free access to toll roads by high occupancy vehicles
  • No guarantee of maintenance and improvement of the non-tolled options around the toll way
  • Toll tax to continue irrespective of whether or when the construction debt is retired
  • No provision for removing the toll tax should gas tax revenue be increased

Toll Plan as amended:

  • CTRMA is in control of the toll road operations
  • Prohibition on selling toll roads to private interests
  • Toll revenue can only be used in the corridor from which it was generated except under rare circumstances requiring a 2/3 vote of the CAMPO Policy Board
  • Guaranteed and immediate free access to toll roads by high occupancy vehicles
  • Guaranteed maintenance and improvement of the non-tolled options around the toll way
  • Toll tax to be removed when the debt from building the road is retired
  • Toll tax to be removed if gas tax revenue or any other revenue preferable to toll tax becomes available

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