Truth Be Tolled: 281 Special Edition - New trailer for 2014!
The last line sums it up well... "You can't toll every road, that just doesn't make financial sense." Yet the drum beat goes on...
Check back for film availability... Thank you Storm Pictures for your incredible work documenting the effort over the years!
By Ben Wear
Austin American Statesman
November 20, 2013
A toll discount for trucks on Texas 130 has significantly increased big-rig traffic on that road since the program began April 1, likely luring several hundred trucks a day off of Interstate 35 through Central Texas.
Despite that, what was projected to be a yearlong pilot program on the entire 89-mile tollway likely will be discontinued on the southern 40 miles at the end of the month, and, in the next couple of months, it likely will cease on the other 49 miles of the highway. The reason: lost revenue.
This story continues on our new premium website for subscribers only. Continue reading/get access here.
Once again, the mention of swapping free Interstate 35 with the SH 130 tollway that's about to go bankrupt has raised ire across Texas, especially in Austin. It's yet another form of taxpayer bailout for private corporations.
Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle
by Wade Goodwyn
National Public Radio
December 17, 2013
Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion.
For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character. The best way to experience Austin traffic may be from inside the police department's new helicopter. Breathtaking in the late afternoon sunlight, the state Capitol and the University of Texas Tower glow like torches.
But tear your eyes away from the skyline to look down and — poof! There goes your pretty picture. Nearly everywhere you look, the roads are backed up with cars, pickup trucks and 18-wheelers crawling along.
At least there's one Republican out there willing to pull the plug on the corporate welfare known as public private partnerships...
Parnell wants to abandon public-private partnership to let state build Knik Arm Crossing itself
By Pat Forgey
December 18, 2013
JUNEAU -- Gov. Sean Parnell says the new plan to get the Knik Arm Bridge built is to remove the "private" from the public-private partnership concept that has until now been a key selling feature.
"It is a change from the road we were on, but it isn't a change in the project itself," said Michael Foster, chairman of the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority .
The Texas Transportation Commission Chairman, Ted Houghton, caused a firestorm of controversy over directing TxDOT to explore swapping free interstate 35 with the failing SH 130 tollway, forcing local traffic in Austin to pay tolls to use an interstate that today is free. Most lawmakers say 'No way!', but with TxDOT's powerful, illegal lobbying arm, it's only a matter of time. Yet another taxpayer bailout for private corporations looms...
Worsening Austin Traffic Prompts Talk of Toll Road Swap
By Aman Batheja
November 5, 2013
As congestion worsens on Interstate 35 through Austin, state leaders are seriously discussing a drastic response: tolling the highway's lanes in the city and making part of the nearby State Highway 130 toll road free.
“You’d move the free lanes out to 130 and the toll lanes to I-35,” Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton said last week at the commission’s monthly meeting. “I think that’s something that needs to be looked at — whether it’s legal; if it’s not, what you’d have to do to get it across that goal line.”
Is your car spying on you? GPS tracks ‘consumers,’ identity theft at risk
Data collection raises concerns
By Phillip Swarts
January 7, 2014
Consumers' locations and other data are at risk of being leaked by companies that run automobile navigation services like GPS, a report has found, putting the national debate on privacy behind the wheel.
Despite telling consumers they are collecting the information and seeking consent, companies do not always disclose what information is collected and how it is used. Companies are also inconsistent when it comes to giving drivers the ability to delete their information.
The ridiculous idea to swap the free Interstate 35 with the failing SH 130 tollway made news all the way up to the New York Times. You'd think that'd shame Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Transportation Commission into dropping the idea, but don't count on it unless the new Governor cleans house and brings sanity back to transportation policy.
Facing Limits on Financing Road Repairs
By ROSS RAMSEY
New York Times
November 7, 2013
Ross Ramsey, the managing editor of The Texas Tribune, writes a regular column for the Tribune.
Texas voters overwhelmingly told the state government to open a $2 billion account to finance water projects this week, a little beam of sunshine for conservative politicians asking their price-sensitive constituents to spend some money.
The supportive numbers for that proposition on financing the projects were healthy, but evidence of voters’ thrift was easy to find: In local elections on the same day, here in the middle of football season, voters that would have converted the once-beloved Astrodome into a convention hub and would have enshrined a district’s football teams — this time in the Katy school district — in a $69.5 million stadium of their own.
Incorrectly charged by TxDOT tolls
by ANDY PIERROTTI / KVUE News
November 26, 2013
AUSTIN -- A KVUE Defenders investigation has uncovered thousands of drivers incorrectly charged on toll roads operated by the Texas Department of Transportation over the past several years.
The issues involve tolls only operated by TxDOT, which include parts of Loop 1, State Highway 45, State Highway 130, and SH 45 SE.
Link to article here.
First foreign-owned toll road opens in Dallas
By Terri Hall
December 16, 2013
The first foreign-operated toll lanes became fully operational in Dallas over the weekend. Interstate 635 known as the LBJ opened the first 3-mile stretch of the public private partnership toll project to the public on Saturday. The expensive price tag won’t hit commuters immediately, since it opened at a big discount for the first six months as drivers get used to the variable pricing. To use the 3.5-miles of phase one it will cost anywhere from 15 cents up to 95 cents depending on time of day. However, the regular toll rates will cost between 10 cents PER MILE up to 75 PER MILE in peak hours.
Private Toll Road Investors Shift Revenue Risk to States
By David Mildenberg - Nov 27, 2013
Companies that build private toll roads are pressing states to assume more financial risk of traffic not meeting expectations, a change that benefits the operators while threatening to increase taxpayer costs.
Illinois and Indiana are among states offering set payments instead of the right to keep toll revenue, the standard financing method in the past. A similar approach is being used in Florida to expand highways in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for a bridge to Staten Island.
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