Coalition wants Abbott State Legislature to pass “citizen friendly” toll road reforms to help working families

Mar 8, 2021

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Coalition wants Abbott State Legislature to pass
“citizen friendly” toll road reforms to help working families:
Stop criminal penalties for unpaid tolls remove tolls once road is paid for!

(March 8 2021 – Austin, Texas) Today, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom ( Texans for Toll free Highways PAC and Grassroots America We the People PAC, announced support from a coalition of 169 influential grassroots political leaders calling for Gov Abbott and the legislature to pass two top toll road reforms supported by the Republican Party of Texas Platform 1) remove tolls when a road segment is paid for and 2) reform toll billing and collections to end criminal penalties and excessive fines/ fees that punish working Texans.

The Coalition wants an end to:

  • toll system expansions multi leveraging scheme s that add costs to highways
  • extension of pay off dates for toll debt, increasing financing costs to taxpayers
  • the running of Tex as public infrastructure by foreign corporations; and
  • criminal penalties (blocking vehicle registration, impounding cars) and unfair fines fees on drivers

The Coalition hand delivered its letter askin g state leaders to support bills SB 756/HB 1117 State Senator Kolkhorst/ State Rep. Shaheen) to remove tolls once the debt is paid and SB 1000 State Senators Hall and Kolkhorst to de criminalize unpaid tolls and cap excessive toll fines/fees.

The Coalition points out, “When governmental entities have the power to keep adding more and more toll lanes to their ‘systems’ they deceptively construct a scheme whereby the public is told the original road or segment is never truly paid off. System financing ensures tolls will stay in place longer than necessary because toll agencies are allowed to continue to obligate toll revenues for other projects in perpetuity a blatantly unconstitutional act* forced upon Texans by governmental entities.” [*violates Texas Constitution Art. 1, Sec. 26, PERPETUITIES AND MONOPOLIES

Over 2 million Texas drivers have been put into collections over unpaid toll bills by TxDOT alone [source: TxTag Troubles: Nearly $1 billion added to TxTag accounts as billing woes continue,” KXAN TV News, Aug 2018] With thirteen other toll agencies across Texas, toll fines are far reaching and can financially ruin many drivers through billing errors, expired payment cards or delayed toll bills.

Many Texans are prohibited from working i f they have a criminal record e.g. healthcare and law enforcement Since an unpaid toll bill in Texas i s considered a criminal misdemeanor [Section 372.110(b), 372.111, 372.112,], this wrongly imperils many Texans’ ability to stay on the job!

“Considering the economic devastation heaped upon families workers, and small businesses by the COVID 19 shutdowns and restrictions it’s more vital than ever to r epeal criminal penalties and cap excessive fines t o help working families keep food on the table,” insists Terri Hall, Founder/Director of TURF and Texans for Toll free Highways. “A misdemeanor can prevent many workers from keeping their jobs. We cannot afford to jeopardize Texas jobs because of ridiculous toll fines and inept billing!”

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