Toll Payer Protection Act
While the Texas legislature has recently made historic investments in transportation, it is nearly a billion dollars short per year of what is necessary to even maintain the current levels of congestion on our roads. Texas must utilize all possible revenue sources, without raising taxes, to address this escalating crisis before we truly put our booming economy at risk.
If we’re going to keep Texas moving and solve this crisis, we must create a new path forward for tolling that is clear, transparent, and has diligent oversight and accountability measures designed to protect the interests of taxpayers, commuters, and toll-users.
Texans For Traffic Relief believes no new toll projects should be constructed in the state of Texas without the following accountability and transparency measures firmly in place:
Click number each to learn more:
1. No governmental entity should ever construct or fund construction of toll roads without voter approval.
The communities impacted by the construction of a new toll road or toll lane should be empowered to weigh in before a project begins, and if they support it then it should move forward as quickly as possible.
This exact language appeared as a non-binding proposition on the Republican Primary ballot in March 2018 and passed with almost 90% of vote--meaning an astounding 1,377,530 individuals supported voter approval.
2. Toll billing, regardless of the entity responsible, must be transparent, accurate, and exorbitant administrative fees must be capped.
Aggressive collections tactics. Ridiculous fees and fines. Double billing. The litany of problems with toll billing in Texas is notorious. As such, the people have rightly lost faith in the billing process altogether.
Regardless of who builds them, roads are a public asset. TTR stands with the people in demanding that the billing process be reformed to restore confidence and ensure that these public assets are not runaway revenue streams.
3. To avoid perpetual tolling, tolls should come off the road when the project costs are paid back.
Texans deserve a light at the end of the tunnel. Moving forward, any new toll project must set a clear timeline for taking the tolls off the road.
4. No tolling on existing lanes should ever be allowed.
Without exception, if a lane was constructed with tax dollars and has been free to use since its completion then it should always remain that way. Tolls should only be an option on new lanes.
5. Proposition 1 and 7 funds should never be used to subsidize a toll lane.
When each of these propositions was on the ballot in 2014 and 2015 respectively, roughly 80% of Texas voters supported their passage. Between the two, Texas committed to dedicating over $4 billion to the state's highway funds for non-tolled roads. The will of the people was made clear and this money should only be used for the construction of free lanes.