When it comes to funding our highways, Texas drivers are getting a poor return for their tax dollars. Last month, San Antonio’s MPO voted to convert U.S. 281 north of Loop 1604 into an expressway but with strings attached – including toll lanes. The approved plan offers only two free lanes in each direction for a three mile stretch, and new lanes north of that three mile stretch will be toll roads.
Texas and San Antonio drivers deserve better. Adding three miles to an already bustling expressway that dead-ends into traffic lights in one of the fastest growing areas of Bexar County shouldn’t be contingent on public support of toll roads or managed bus lanes. It should be a public safety priority.
TxDOT is not meeting its obligation to taxpayers and Texas drivers. Instead, the state transportation agency has moved into the toll business, threatening to withhold tax dollars for highway improvements unless local transportation boards agree to finance their new revenue streams. This is double taxation and an abuse of power.
Sadly, my opponent, Senator Jeff Wentworth, has failed to stand up for Texas drivers and stop the toll road madness. Even more alarming, Sen. Wentworth wants to raise the gas tax and tie it to inflation, pushing the combination of state and federal gas taxes to fifty cents per gallon and beyond. This would hit Texas families and small businesses the hardest.
Texas drivers already pay a state tax of 20 cents per gallon every time we fuel our vehicles to fund highway improvements. The question remains – where is all this money going? TxDOT needs some serious reforming, and I don’t mean with a band-aid. Recent records show the agency’s executive salaries have risen dramatically despite the urgent need to cut waste and balance our state budget.
As a fiscal conservative who believes our tax dollars should go where we’re told, I will fight to make sure that revenues raised through the gas tax are not diverted away from improving our roads, highways, and bridges. TxDOT is one of the first places I will look for waste and abuse. Let’s stop the toll and tax madness.