An audacious plan to construct $1 billion in new toll lanes on several highways across the city's north side, the most sweeping toll road plan ever unveiled in San Antonio, will be unveiled to City Council tomorrow.
LOOK at the map of the roads THEY WANT TO TOLL:
And you'll be paying to build the roads you will then have to pay again to drive on.
The proposal calls for half of the $10 increase in the annual vehicle registration fee, which was quietly approved by Bexar County Commissioners earlier this year, following a classic 'back room deal' allowed it to pass the Legislature, will provide the seed money to raise $1 billion for the toll road plan.
Anti toll activist Terri Hall says the 'smoke filled room' deal was a classic sell out of Bexar County taxpayers.
"All the other local option vehicle registration fee hikes which passed the Legislature earlier this year, every one of them, requires that the increase first go before the voters for approval," Hall said. "Except for the one in Bexar County."
The money would go to building so called 'managed lanes,' tolled for you, free for carpools and busses, on Interstate 10 between La Cantera Boulevard and Ralph Fair Road on the far northwest side, on Loop 1604 from Bandera Road all the way to Redland Road, and on 281 from Marshall Road to the Comal County line.
Also included in the plan are non tolled overpasses on 1604 from Potranco Road to Highway 90.
"The managed lane concept is typically a freeway within a freeway where a set of lanes within the freeway is separated from the general purpose lanes," says the report on the toll plan to be submitted to City Council. "A principle management strategy for non general purpose lanes can include allowing free use of the lanes for high occupancy vehicles and paid use of the lanes with a toll."
That is government gibberish for, you have to pay to build the lanes with higher annual vehicle registration fees, and then you have to pay again to use the lanes, unless you're a car pool or a Via bus.
The concept of managed lanes as a mechanism to cut down on highway congestion has been totally discredited ever since a University of California Berkeley study in 2004 concluded that not only do managed lanes, sometimes called 'diamond lanes' not reduce highway congestion, they frequently lead to increased traffic jams and are a complete waste of taxpayer money.
"HOV loans have never proven to unclog freeways, ever," Hall said.
City staffers say they are 'not recommending any action' on the proposal, which was floated by the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority, which is Bexar County Commissioners Court.
Hall says the proposal is outrageous.
"They're using our tax money to build a toll road, and then they are going to charge you again to drive on it," she said. "Vehicle registration fee hike is a tax hike. It is public money. It should be used to build free capacity on our highway system, not toll capacity. And that is the most offensive thing about this entire proposal."