TxDOT pulls plug on tax dollars financing toll lane construction on I-35
(Photo Shutterstock/CrackerClips Stock Media)
If I-35 is going to have tolled lanes, they'll have to be built without any taxpayer money.
That's the word from TxDOT after Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. The Texas Tribune reports they told tranportation leaders in no uncertain terms that TxDOT could not use any taxpayer funds on toll lane construction, because it was unconstitutional as well as against the will of voters and lawmakers. This also affects Highway 183, a portion of the LBJ Freeway in Dallas and I-35 in San Antonio.
Voters approved two propositions in recent years that provide for highway building without tolls. TxDOT had been considering using an accounting trick to use federal funds along with tax dollars on the tolled lanes.
Transportation activist Terri Hall with Texans For Toll-free Highways says TxDOT has backed down, for now. "It is a big victory for taxpayers and especially for TxDOT to back down so quickly." She adds, "We are going to have to stay vigilant because I can't trust these guys as farther than we can throw them." Halll says Texans expect the billion of dollars they pay in gasoline taxes are to be used to build and expand highways that have no tolled lanes.