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TTC docs to be released

Ready to learn more about that boondoggle known as the Trans Texas Corridor? Pull up a chair, because the state is releasing some documents that will tell you more than you know now. For the most part, the crucial bit is right here:

The report also predicts the initial cost to motorists when the first sections open around 2014. Cars and small trucks will pay about 15.2 cents per mile, or $56.24, to travel the entire route. Truckers initially will pay 58.5 cents per mile for a cost of $216.45 to travel the entire route. Final toll rates will be set when the state negotiates contract terms on each section of the toll road.

Let’s do a little math here. The full route is 370 miles. How many miles per gallon does your car get on the freeway? We’ve got a Saturn coupe that exceeds 30 MPG on the highway, and a Subaru Outback that gets between 25 and 30. But let’s say you’ve got a Hummer, and that 370 mile trip would take you 20 gallons of gas (18.5 MPG). At that crappy level of mileage, the gas tax would have to increase by $2.81 per gallon to match the toll price. Let me say that again: That toll equates to $2.81 per gallon extra in gas tax. If we simply doubled the existing gas tax – from 20 cents per gallon to 40 cents per gallon, which would make ours the highest gas tax in the country – you’d have paid an extra $4 for that 370 mile trip.

Four dollars versus fifty-six and change. What a deal, huh?

I’ll say it again: If this were the only proposal on the books, I wouldn’t be so worked up about it. But it’s not. This is far from a one-off, it’s the wave of the future if Rick Perry gets his way. Sooner or later, the plan is that your favorite road will be tolled, too. If you want to start paying two orders of magnitude more per gallon for routine trips, pay no attention to this issue.

Link via Eye on Williamson. Meanwhile, the Statesman says that by releasing these documents and thus dispelling whatever secrets the TTC’s opponents may think they contain. I think this is an accurate assessment of that:

Jason Stanford, a spokesman for Chris Bell, Perry’s Democratic opponent, said putting out the documents will not change the candidate’s opinion about the corridor deal.

“Even if it’s not a secret deal, it’s still a really horrible deal,” Stanford said. “This is a titanic land grab that benefits a foreign company. I don’t know what these documents could show that would make that worse.”

What’s bad about the TTC is not what we didn’t know. It’s what we did know. People at those public meetings around the state weren’t fired up because of a conspiracy theory. They were mad about losing their land for a benefit that’s highly unclear to anyone but Cintra/Zachry. There’s no secret about that. Link via South Texas Chisme.

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