Texas is following the same model, though Governor Rick Perry is fond of comparing Texas as better than California in every way, his transportation policies are incurring massive taxpayer debt and they're building toll roads that will be in a sea of red ink for a generation or more!
California: Toll Roads Generate $1.7 Billion In Red Ink
Analysis shows two Southern California toll roads were unsustainable from the very beginning.
April 12, 2013
The debt load accumulated by the toll roads in Orange County, California is unsustainable, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pacific Research Institute. Researchers Donna Arduin, former budget director for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow at PRI, examined the financial status of the publicly owned Foothill-Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency's 241 toll road and the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency's 73 toll road.
Advocates insist tolling is a superior transportation funding mechanism because it is based on the concept of "user fees" -- those who use the toll road are the ones who pay for it. This concept has gone out the window with the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) toll roads, which the report found use an estimated $1.7 billion in taxpayer subsidies. Worse, the roads are deeply in debt.
Experts: State’s turnpike corruption ‘the worst such case’
By Brad Bumsted
Thursday, April 11, 2013
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Turnpike scandal is the worst of its kind in the nation in recent history, experts say.
“There's been nothing as systemic, as enduring and widespread,” Peter Samuel, publisher of Tollroadsnews.com in Frederick, Md., said of allegations in a state grand jury report last month.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said the investigation continues; the grand jury had concluded that eight people, including a former Senate Democratic leader and former top turnpike officials, used the agency as a “cash cow” to raise campaign money for lawmakers and gubernatorial candidates. Campaign donations and gifts paved the way for rigged turnpike contracts in a pay-to-play scheme, the grand jury said.
Obama Plans to Sacrifice Ordinary Americans Yet Again in “Public/Private Partnership” Infrastructure Scam
March 31, 2013
Apparently Obama’s idea of a Holy Week sacrifice is to feed American citizens to rapacious bankers, this time through the device of “public/private partnerships” to support infrastructure spending. Some NC readers were correctly alarmed by a speech by Obama on Friday on using public/private partnerships to fund infrastructure spending. This is not a new idea; Obama first unveiled it in his Statue of the Union address. But it is a singularly bad idea, that is, if you are anyone other than a promoter of or investor in these deals.
Toll Roads and Double Taxation: The Left and Libertarians Converge
By Rachel Alexander
Toll roads are appealing to many on the right, because the fees don't look like taxes; motorists are charged for the voluntary action of driving on a specific road. Toll roads appear to be run by private entities, not the government. Also known as turnpikes, they are becoming an increasingly popular way to raise money to build roads, instead of increasing gas taxes which have traditionally paid for highways. Gas tax revenues only have about one-third the buying power they did a decade ago, insufficient to build new roads or maintain existing ones. There are now 5,244 miles of toll roads in the U.S., operating in 35 states.
Link to article here.
Cintra’s credit woes, speed limit hike adjacent to toll road spell trouble
By Terri Hall
March 29, 2013
It’s been a rough road for Cintra, Spain-based global toll operator, ever since it opened its first privately-operated tollway, State Highway 130, in Texas last fall. Yesterday, the Texas Transportation Commission voted to increase the speed limits on US Highway 183 to 60 MPH through Mustang Ridge and up to 65 MPH on the southern leg that runs through Lockhart, on the freeway that now serves as the frontage road to Cintra’s high-speed tollway. When SH 130 opened, the Commission increased the speed limit to the fastest in the country - 85 MPH - while also lowering the speed limit on the adjacent freeway, US 183 from 65 MPH down to 55 MPH.
The public fury was swift and Caldwell County Commissioners passed a resolution requesting that the Commission return the speed limit on US 183 to 65 MPH. TxDOT claimed it was ‘studying’ the speed limit situation, meanwhile SH 130 experienced its first fatality due to the dramatic difference in speed when a car on the tollway collided with a car getting onto the tollway from the dramatically lower speed frontage road that’s now US 183. The speed differential was believed to be the cause of the fatal accident.
Broken promises? Texas lawmakers fail to end gas tax diversions
By Terri Hall
March 28, 2013
Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, and House and Senate budget writers have so far failed to end diversions from the gas tax and help fix the structural road funding shortfall in the budgets passed last week. Perry, Dewhurst, and Straus all promised to end diversions of the gas tax in an effort to enact truth in budgeting -- to ensure taxes collected for a specific purpose actually go to fund that purpose.
The Texas Constitution restricts the use of state gas tax revenues to "...the sole purpose of acquiring rights-of-way, constructing, maintaining, and policing such public roadways..." Yet lawmakers continue to raid the gas tax to fill holes in the budget for non-road purposes like funding public pensions and benefits for state agencies other than the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
Transportation commission lowers truck tolls on Texas 130, raises speed limits on its frontage roads
By Ben Wear
March 28, 2013
The Texas Transportation Commission unanimously decided Thursday to lower truck tolls on Texas 130 for the next year and to increase the speed limit on the tollway’s frontage roads near Mustang Ridge and Lockhart.
Starting Monday, all vehicles will pay the same toll rates on Texas 130 for its full 90-mile run from north of Georgetown to Seguin, about $17 for the entire trip (or 25 percent less for those with an electronic toll tag). Likewise, all vehicles will pay the same rates on Texas 45 Southeast. Larger trucks with more than two axles currently pay two to four times what cars and small trucks pay, and they will do so again starting in April 2014 unless the Texas Department of Transportation decides to continue the discounts.
Light 130 traffic prompts credit review of toll debt
By Ben Wear
March 26, 2013
The privately operated section of the Texas 130 tollway south of Mustang Ridge is attracting about half the predicted traffic, according to Moody’s Investor Service, prompting it to investigate downgrading credit ratings for more than $1.1 billion in debt attached to the toll road.
Meanwhile, toll rates for trucks on the entire length of the tollway, from Seguin to north of Georgetown, will likely be lowered for one year to encourage more traffic. That move is expected to put a dent in revenue, however.
This rail plan is part and parcel of the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC). It's also no coincidence that this uptick in interest in rail occurs when several bills have been filed in the Texas legislature to give TxDOT the authority to enter into controversial public private partnerships (the financing mechanism of the TTC) to build the rail components of the TTC without the radioactive name.
TxDOT to hold meetings about potential rail corridor to Oklahoma
by BAILEY MCGOWAN
Posted on March 26, 2013
The Texas Department of Transportation will hold three meetings in the North Texas area over the next two weeks looking for input on the possibility of a Texas-Oklahoma passenger rail.
The possible 850-mile stretch of rail would go from Oklahoma City to South Texas in order to alleviate some of the heavily condensed traffic along roads like Interstate 35, according to Mark Cross, an information specialist for TxDOT.
Senate approves budget, warned of transportation 'fiscal cliff'
By Peggy Fikac Austin Bureau
San Antonio Express-News
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
AUSTIN — Texas senators highlighted efforts to restore education funding and keep up with health services for the poor as they approved a $195.5 billion state budget Wednesday.
But Senate leaders warned there is much work yet to be done to meet the state's needs.
Texas faces a “fiscal cliff” on transportation that remains unchanged by the budget, said Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands. Some advocates, meanwhile, pushed to put more money into public schools and other programs as Senate Bill 1 advances.
$3 billion plan would end tolls on Texas 130
By Ben Wear
Austin American Statesman
March 20, 2013
How could the state lure people away from Interstate 35 and onto the Texas 130 tollway several miles to the east? State Rep. Paul Workman has a $3 billion answer to that question: make it free.
The solution proposed in House Bill 3682 by the Austin Republican, whose district doesn’t include Texas 130, likely faces more political hurdles than there are miles in Texas 130 — 90. Some lawmakers Wednesday referred to it as a “statement” bill, in effect no-hope legislation filed mostly to make a point.
- Washington voters eliminate new toll roads, unelected boards raising toll rates
- Texans say 'No' to more tolls, road debt
- Texans ask for leadership to enact NEW vision for road policy
- When all else fails in the Texas legislature - toll, toll, toll
- MoPac toll project bid comes in under estimates
- Cintra's concession fees go to feeder roads to SH 130
- Texas DMV selling driver's personal information
- Stealing from Peter to pay Paul? Toll Authority buoys Harris County from rising healthcare costs
- Eminent domain abuse: Soccer field owner fights off horse park
- Republicans try to sell Texas Capitol to developers for commercial development
- The wave is coming: Trade and debt will overwhelm Texas absent new funding
- Video nails lawmakers with road debt, presses them to stop tolls
- Washington citizens seek ballot measure to ban freeway tolls
- TxDOT tells lawmakers of funding crisis
- U.S. building more highways, letting old ones crumble
- Virginia's 495 Express Lanes attracting much less traffic than needed
- Perry calls for end to diversions, Rainy Day raid for roads
- Transportation chairmen want existing vehicle sales taxes to boost road funding
- Lawmakers mull tax on electric cars
- Alamo toll agency lays off nearly all its workers
- Boycott success? TxDOT keeps Cintra's early traffic data on SH 130 secret
- Victory: Ohioans reject sale of Ohio Turnpike
- TxDOT says it needs $4 billion more for roads
- State leaders taking Texas off fiscal cliff with road debt
- Street car draws criticism in Virginia
- Orange County toll system falling short of paying its debt
- Brits face threat of yet more toll roads
- Priorities for the 83rd Texas Legislature
- Virginia governor proposes repeal of gas tax
- Austin toll authority manages to hit age 10 despite opposition
- NTTA wants ability to seize cars for failure to pay tolls
- Toll authority wants its own courts, power to jail
- North Texas bureaucrats drive transportation-toll regime
- Highway Robbery: How P3s extract private profits from public infrastructure
- Houston toll system an unaccountable slush fund
- Cintra snags P3 for Hwy 460 toll project in Virginia
- Austin tollways require double taxation to be profitable
- Oregon officials eye road use tax on hybrid, electric cars
- Editorial: Lawmakers must get serious about funding transportation
- WARNING: DFW officials seek two more P3 toll roads
- Caddell: Three-quarters say America no longer run by consent of governed
- Trans Texas Corridor alive & being built
- Book Review: I-69, the Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway
- Tolling Texans: Impact of Trans Texas Corridor lingers
- Tolling Texans: More cities plan toll lanes
- Tolling Texans: Toll projects spread as state funds lag
- New Chair won't rule out gas tax hike
- Time to re-think VA's public-private transportation act
- Cato scholar slams street car as obsolete 'fantasy'
- Government waste taking us off fiscal cliff
- Putting lipstick on the P3 pig - 'availability payments'
- Loop 1604 could be handed to private toll operator for 50 years
- TX lawmakers vote to sell-off 20 roads to private entities
- Highway Trust Fund needs to be cut 92%?
- VA Residents protest toll lanes on I-395
- Reasons to be wary of public private partnerships
- Legislators pass law to use property tax to build TOLL roads
- Trans Texas Corridor update: Hwy 59 gets I-69 designation
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Latest Press Releases
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