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Texas Legislator Fights Toll Roads
Texas state legislator introduces a proposed moratorium on new toll roads.

Garnet Coleman
Texas state Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) is fighting back against the increasing use of toll roads in the state. On Monday, the House Transportation committee began consideration of Colman's measure that would impose a moratorium on new toll roads until September 1, 2009.

"Texans already pay for state highways through the gasoline tax and now they're being asked to pay twice with tolls," Coleman told KTVT-TV. "So clearly, the public is being nickeled and dimed."

Coleman believes it is more effective and efficient to use gasoline taxes to pay for road construction than to use tolls, which require an extensive and expensive collection infrastructure. Coleman's point is supported by a Texas Transportation Institute study that found the Texas Department of Transportation had exaggerated numbers to make toll roads appear to be the only option for lawmakers. The study found indexing the gas tax to inflation could raise the needed funds for expanding road capacity.

Article Excerpt:
By: Coleman H.B. No. 998
AN ACT relating to a moratorium on tolls by the Texas Department of Transportation.


SECTION 1. MORATORIUM ON TOLLS BY TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. The Texas Department of Transportation may not impose a toll for the use of any portion of a highway or roadway in the state highway system that did not have a toll in effect on or before the effective date of this Act.

SECTION 2. EXPIRATION. This Act expires September 1, 2009.

SECTION 3. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2007.
Source: State Bill Would Halt New Toll Road Construction (KTVT-TV (TX), 2/17/2007)

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