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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