Yesterday's 120 WOAI news report revealing a proposal by a top Texas transportation official to remove the tolls on the State Highway 130 toll road and place tolls on I-35 between San Antonio and Austin has, as you might expect, generated a flood of reaction from state and federal officials, and every single reaction has been negative.
U.S. Rep Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio), whose district stretches along I-35 from San Antonio to Austin, called it a 'bad idea.'
"I think toll roads should be separate roads," Smith said. "There is a reason fro those, if people want to pay more because they were save time, I think that is totally justified."
Smith said if the idea, which was floated by Texas Transpiration Commission Chairman Ted Houghton as a way to decrease the ever growing vehicle volumes on I-35, should get traction, he will move to block it.
"The whole idea behind 130 has been to have a separate road as a toll road, and if that is not working the way that it should, that is not the fault of people who are driving along I-35," he said.
Republican governor candidate Tom Pauken also blasted the idea, as did several members of the Texas Legislature.
Ironically, the road swap would be legal, because a bill introduced by former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to outlaw the tolling of existing federal Interstate highways, conveniently expired on October 1.