May 4, 2015      1:03 PM
Anti-toll road efforts fail to gain traction in the House
Moves that might have previously led to heated debates barely amount to a whimper these days
Opponents of toll roads continue to be thwarted in the Texas
House despite a coalition of North Texas Tea Party lawmakers who
continue to push bills and amendments.
If Rep. Jonathan
Stickland, R-Bedford, had even a shred of credibility with his colleagues, it
is possible he might have gotten further with an amendment last week that
struck local match requirements as a metric to prioritize state transportation
projects. But only a handful of his colleagues joined Stickland in his efforts
to ban toll roads.
“In recent years, local match requirements have meant
tolling,” said Stickland, who has the North Tarrant Expressway in his
district. “Local government can rarely cobble together the effort to leverage
state funds for state highway projects.”
Transportation plans are measured in 5-year increments on
a 30-year horizon. That means, for instance, the Capital Area Metropolitan
Planning Organization in Central Texas is on track to approve CAMPO
2040, which would lock initial choices for tolled, transit and road
projects for the next 25 years. Those choices give local government certainty
to pursue right-of-way purchases and beginning planning.
By Kimberly Reeves