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Wolff: I like tolls, if you won’t carpool or get on a bus, then you oughta pay

Wolff wants drivers to pay up to 50 cents a mile or $4,000/yr in new toll taxes
Wolff wants drivers to pay up to 50 cents a mile or $4,000/yr in new toll taxes
Terri Hall

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff wants you to pay up to 50 cents a mile in new toll taxes to drive San Antonio freeways. Tolls will cost the average family $2,000-$4,000 a year in new taxes on driving and Wolff has his fingerprints all over the deals that brought it to San Antonio.

First, Wolff lobbied for a new $10 hike in your vehicle registration fees from the Texas legislature last year - the only local fee hike that didn’t require a public vote first. This money goes directly to the county-run toll authority. Then, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) decided to offload part of the state highway system to local governments.

Rather than tell TxDOT to take a hike, Wolff brokered a back room deal with Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton to takeover some state roads from TxDOT and utilize half of the new fee hike to add toll lanes to I-10 in a financing package that includes tolls on US 281, and in return, TxDOT dropped $70 million in discretionary funds to extend the non-toll expansion on Loop 1604 West. However, all of Loop 1604 is targeted for tolls, too.

Wolff’s deal is double even triple taxation - local ATD sales tax, vehicle registration fees, and tolls. Highway 281, Loop 1604, and Interstates I-10 and I-35 are currently in the short and long-range plans to be tolled if Wolff gets his way. If tax money is used to build a road, it should be a freeway not a tollway.

In 2003 when Governor Rick Perry first secured legislation to slap tolls on Texas highways, even existing free lanes, Wolff bragged to the Transportation Commission publicly that he ‘likes toll roads, supports toll roads, and will continue to support toll roads.’ Wolff is forcing this on taxpayers without our consent and going before both the Texas legislature and the Transportation Commission to bring toll roads to Bexar County.

In 2012, when TxDOT identified $2 billion in unallocated funds, Commissioners Court, at the urging of Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, initially, passed a resolution to expand 281 and 1604 without tolls using the county’s TxDOT allocation and local ATD sales tax. But eventually, Wolff’s son, Kevin, took over to broker another backroom deal with TxDOT to expand Loop 1604 (outside Kevin Wolff’s district) without tolls but plans in his own district would include HOV-bus toll lanes on two-six lanes of 281 (including slapping tolls on 2-4 existing free lanes).

At the Commissioners Court meeting when the final deal was approved, Judge Wolff showed total contempt for the unsuspecting residents in these corridors who would now be faced with a punitive tax hike just to get to work: “...There are managed toll lanes, there's transit priority lanes that would have some aspect of a toll, if someone chooses not to carpool, chooses to ride by themselves, chooses to waste their gas, chooses to do all those things, (expletive), oughta pay. If they can't get on a bus or can't carpool, then don't get in the toll lane."

Watch it here.

Adkisson anti-toll hero
It’s time for new leadership.

No one has fought harder to keep our freeways toll-free than Tommy Adkisson. How has he been rewarded? The San Antonio Express-News has become a political tool for the Wolff family to disparage anyone who stands in their way, and they’ve been mudslinging and sandbagging Adkisson ever since. I, too, have personally been maligned, attacked, impugned, and drug through the mud in every way possible by that newspaper. As bad as that is, they’ve unleashed far worse on Adkisson.

Support Tommy Adkisson for County Judge. End the stranglehold of special interests and the Wolff family on our community. If you will not or cannot afford to pay 50 cents a mile or $4,000 a year or more in news taxes on driving, then the choice is clear. Nelson Wolff won’t put toll roads to a vote of the people, so make this county judge race a referendum on toll roads and vote for Tommy Adkisson. Your freedom to travel and personal financial welfare depend on it.