Toll-free Texas Day
Visit TruthBeTolled.com to watch Representative Larson explain how Bexar County was initially coerced by TxDOT into forming a toll authority (the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority). (cue video to 10:00 and watch through 12:11)
Alamo MPO shafts 281 commuters AGAIN!
Fails to turn toll lanes back to free lanes on 281 as promised
By Terri Hall
Jan., 26, 2015
Today, the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO) decided how Prop 1 funds would be spent on area roads. Notably absent, again, was Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff whose precinct encompasses the controversial toll project on US 281. His father, the County Judge Nelson Wolff, sent a letter to the Transportation Commission asking for Prop 1 funds to be used to turn toll lanes into free lanes on US 281 if Prop 1 passed, and yet there's a deafening silence from both Wolffs now that Wolff was re-elected county judge.
Rather than turn toll lanes back to free lanes on US 281 as promised and as its own policy requires, the board unanimiously chose to spend $124 million in new money that voters approved, which can only be spent on non-toll projects, to non-priority minor fixes to frontage roads on I-10 near Boerne and on Hwy 90. Neither project is on the state's 100 Most Congested Roads List. US 281 has been consistently on the list for years and even ranked the #1 most stressful road in the state per the Commuter Stress Index. None of the new funds will be used on major congestion relief projects that add capacity to major corridors - all of which are slated to be tolled.
Commissioners approve tolls for northside of San Antonio
Watch what happened on Fox 29 here.
(Note: The reporter mistook the agenda item where citizens' comment known as 'Citizens to be Heard' as the name of our group.)
Commissioners approve tolls
for northside of San Antonio
Reaffirm tolls on US 281, I-10 despite
more road money coming to fix non-toll
Freeway Plan Hijacked for Toll/Transit Lanes
Why a lawsuit?
The Original Gas Tax Funded Plan
The original gas tax funded plan for 281 included overpasses, expansion, and frontage roads. Public hearings promising the fix occurred in 2001, the gas tax funds became available in 2003. The improvements should have been built by now.
But then in late 2003 everything changed...
The numbers don't add up
Ten miles on 1604 West are being expanded NON-TOLL, with 5 overpasses for $200 million or $20 million/mile ($20 million was taken from 281 to complete this project on 1604). Yet according to the MPO plan adopted in 2012, TxDOT and local leaders want to charge taxpayers $440 million for an 7.3-mile expansion of 281 ($110 million in non-toll or $37 million/mile for the first three miles, and $330 million for toll elements throughout the 7.3 miles at $45 million/mile for a total cost of $60 million/mile for both the toll & non-toll elements).
One of the things driving up the cost is the 9 overpasses planned on 281. It's OVERKILL -- 9 overpasses in less than 8 miles! Some of the overpasses are planned at entrances to subdivisions of TxDOT employees are NOT a city or county road (they're private subdivision roads). The original expansion plan for 281 included 6 overpasses. While the consultants who did the environmental study on 281 argue the traffic volume warrants the overpasses, every subdivision is not entitled to their own overpass, and the use of frontage roads and turnarounds will facilitate needed travel across 281 in the absence of an overpass, just as it does south of Loop 1604 on 281. With 6 overpasses in 7.3 miles, no traveler will have to go far to get across 281.
Free lanes will be converted to toll lanes - a DOUBLE TAX
US 281 will only have 3 miles of non-toll main lanes (versus 10 miles of non-toll lanes on the 1604 West project), while north of Marshall Road, ALL six main lanes will be tolled. There are currently 6 non-toll main lanes until Evans Rd. and 5 non-toll main lanes to Stone Oak Pkwy., yet only 4 non-toll lanes will be available AFTER this toll project is implemented.
So two non-toll main lanes are being converted to tolled/HOV transit lanes, using millions in YOUR tax dollars to simply re-arrange the pavement. TxDOT and local politicians are attempting to get away with this by counting the merging lanes from the northern ramps of the interchange as part of the 'free lane' count, but, of course, those lanes are only available to those entering 281 from 1604.
So with a net loss in lane capacity, the free lanes will remain congested even with the welcome addition of overpasses. It's a way to force more cars into the toll lanes, by keeping the free lanes congested -- not to mention a massive DOUBLE TAX to charge Texans twice for what they've already built and paid for.