Open Records Request Reveals Gov. Perry's Plan to Privatize and Toll Already Funded Public Highways is in Deep Trouble.

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Open records request reveals only 13% think it's reasonable to pay for Gov. Perry's Freeway toll plan - a first in the U.S., to privatize and toll public highways. Texas Comptroller's investigation found double taxation and toll rates equivalent to $20 a gallon! - while freeway toll authority board members give NO BID contracts to themselves and their friends.

An open records request made by TexasTollParty.com founder, Sal Costello, revealed an extensive push poll conducted in August 2005 by Wilson Research Strategies through Gov. Perry's Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA).

GOVERNOR PERRY is taking 100% tax funded highway projects and turning them into toll roads at the last minute. (Read more at bottom).

The $57,600 survey, funded with Central Texans’ tax dollars, included a phone poll of 1,060 people who live in the Central Texas area. Each telephone survey included 35 questions and lasted 35 to 45 minutes. The push poll questions ranged from if respondents had toll tags to if they think charging "higher tolls during rush hour to discourage unnecessary trips" was a good idea. As if traffic congestion isn't enough incentive to keep joyriders off the road.

A whopping 78% said it's a bad idea to convert existing highways to toll roads. 68% oppose charging higher tolls during rush hour to discourage unnecessary trips. Only 13% said they'll pay the 15 cents per mile or more CTRMA states they will charge.

PROMISES MADE

From spring of 2004 to early 2005, Gov. Perry's CTRMA repeatedly promised the public and CAMPO (elected leaders like Mayor Will Wynn and Judge Sam Biscoe who voted YES to the plan twice since last year) that the public highway tolls would cost Texans the U.S. average of 12 to 15 cents.

PROMISES BROKEN WITHIN A YEAR

The fact is, the actual average cost per-mile in the US is 9 cents. The CTRMA's poll showed that people would be willing to pay .093 per mile. However, the CTRMA's website today shows they have increased tolls from 15 to 18 cents a mile.

COSTS PER MILE EXPOSED AND CONTINUE TO ESCALATE

Since early 2005, local officials like City Councilmember Brewster McCracken found TxDOT documents that show the true costs of the double tax tolls will be much higher than 15 cents a mile - McCracken has stated that TxDOT's own studies show 71 to the airport will be 64 cents per mile (the highest toll rate in the nation) PLUS whatever extra will have to be charged to build a $100 million intersection that is less than half a mile long! We could expect a toll rate of $1-$1.25 per mile on 71. That is the equivalent of a gas tax increase of $20/gallon. AND, the Comptrollers report on the CTRMA shows one at $1.00 a mile!**

One of the most telling responses of the push poll is #20, as it shows how the toll plan has unraveled during the last year.

#20. In your opinion, what is a reasonable price per mile for use of a toll way?

Less than 5 cents..........37%

Between 5 and 10..........20%

Between 10 and 15.......10%

Between 15 and 20.........4%

Between 20 and 25.........5%

More than 25 cents.........4%

Refused to Respond........20%

RMA's in other parts of Texas, such as San Antonio are also asking the same "How much will you pay" survey questions. San Antonio has police on hand, apparently ready for double tax toll rage, as they hand out questionnaires at intersection of an already funded loop 1604. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/traffic/weblogs/archives/2005/09/poll_on_tolls.html

In another tax funded CTRMA poll, the public responses gave negative personifications of the toll plan, such as:

"She's heavy set and bossy, her breath smells like smoke and convenience store coffee. She's cold and calculating."

"A teenager with their hand out for money and always hungry and always wanting to borrow the car."

TRADITIONAL TOLLS vs. PERRY DOUBLE TAX TOLLS:

Traditional toll roads have been welcomed by the public because they are designed and built as whole new highways that compliment existing freeways, therefore, the public can choose to use a toll road or a freeway. Those traditional toll roads are funded primarily with investor dollars.

"Double Tax Tolls" are public freeways funded with our tax dollars that are shifted to tollways. This plan to privatize and toll public highways is the first for our country.

Sal Costello, Founder of TexasTollParty.com said, "GOVERNOR PERRY is taking tax funded existing highway projects that are on the verge of completion and turning them into toll roads at the last minute. Gov. Perry calls it 'innovative financing'. We call it Highway Robbery. Tolling public expressways holds Texans hostage when they drive to work, school, and shop."

The Governors first RMA in Texas came under fire last March when Comptroller Carole Strayhorn released an 85 page report exposing the new toll authority's double taxation scheme, lack of accountability, and CTRMA board members giving no bid contracts given to themselves and their friends (http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05/).

Contact:

Sal Costello

512.371.9926

Founder of TexasTollParty.com

** http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:hA7Zrvgvyx0J:http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05/chptr1.html+%22averaging+%241+per+mile%22+standard+comptroller++%22central+texas+regional+mobility+authority%22&hl=en

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