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Bob View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Feb 2007 at 12:55pm
from www.tollroadsnews.com

Now we do know who some of our allies are! We need to contact them.


2007.02.09
POLITICS
Anti-toll privatization lobby formed by Washington lobbyists
A number of Washington lobby groups are combining to oppose toll road concessions under the rubric of "Americans for a Strong National Highway Network." (ASNHN) Major joiners are American Trucking Associations, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Triple A (AAA), and American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA), an umbrella group. AAA made no statement today but the other groups each put their spin on the coalition effort.

The coalition claims to be working "to advance the rights of American motorists to travel on safe, reliable public roads; (to) maintain a robust national highway network for the efficient transport of goods and the military; and to hold government accountable for ensuring financing is transparent, motivated by public good and dedicated to transportation purposes."

However the thrust of their propaganda is the socialist notion that all this is only possible under government ownership and operation. And much of it is couched in old marxist stereotypes of sinister money power and chaotic capitalism versus benevolent government and its enlightened and orderly planning.

The Owner Operators and Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) claims to have "spearheaded the formation" of the group and is the most strident in denouncing investor funded roads as "all about big business profit" which "short-changes the needs of the highway system."

"They want congestion" is the claim
OOIDA's Todd Spencer said the companies investing in roads "want to induce congestion on the roads they profit from, not reduce it."

His explanation: "Their profits are derived from high traffic volumes and high tolls. Remember, they are accountable to their shareholders, not to the public..."

(By that logic for-profit trucking should be subsumed into not-for-profit government supervised trucking cooperatives or better still into the American National Trucking Service, a benevolent US government monopoly. TOLLROADSnews)

Spencer calls toll concessions deals that "are akin to a pawn-shop mentality of hocking your assets for cash now, but paying much more down the road."

ATA wants to abolish toll roads
The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) statement is straight anti-toll. It declares: "The trucking industry supports the objective of a toll-free national highway system where funds to finance highway improvements primarily come from... the fuel tax."

On privatization ATA president Bill Graves: "The sale or lease of existing toll facilities generates revenue at great expense to taxpayers and the trucking industry and carries potential negative impacts on highway safety, security and the motoring public."

The ATA statement is surprisingly partisan quoting Democrat Representative Peter DeFazio attacking the Bush administration for a "rush" to promote public private partnerships and as based in "ideology."

AHUA sees sinister backroom deals and restrictions on safety improvements
American Highway Users Alliance in their statement refer to "rushed backroom deals" and "even provisions that restrict lifesaving capacity improvements on competing free roads."

AHUA CEO Greg Cohen concedes briefly there are some proposals "that serve the public good" but then develops this diatribe: "Citizens need to watch out for the proposals developed for only one purpose: making lots of money. Under the worst of these deals highway users and the public are ignored or purposely locked-out from negotiations while politicians salivate over filling state coffers with billions in fast cash. As part of these deals brokerage firms charge massive transactions fees and private road operators earn massive profits over time by scheduling toll increasing tolls and opposing competition. Is it no wonder that such deals have been greeted with voter disapproval. Yet the money is just too enticing for some public officials.

Cohen went on: "Government officials need to put their constituents first. The publicly owned and financed road system serves motorists' interests and must be expanded."

The AHUA CEO stated that "private investment can supplement taxes that fund new roads, express lanes and traffic bottleneck bypasses" but called for "critical review from highway users is essential..."

The tone is however captured by the headline all capitalized: American Highway Users Alliance Warns Against Dismembering Public Highway Network"

Letter to Sec Peters
The coalition released a jointly signed letter it had penned to US sec transport Mary Peters which repeats the claim that toll concessions could have "a detrimental impact" on the interstate system's safety and efficiency.

"If ensuring a profit for private companies and quick cash for state and local governments remain the top priorities, these plans could actually lead to a decline in safety and mobility on both the privatized roads and the parallel public roads, as private companies try to maximize their profits and prevent competition." It refers to non-compete clauses providing "built in assurances that traffic volumes will be kept high on privately built roads, eliminating the potential for market forces to drive the lessees to improve service on the highway."

Lobbyists favor lobby based funding - markets a threat
These Washington lobby groups normally favor the Washington-brokered system of political allocation of tax funds by six-year plans hashed out in the earmark pocked 'xyzTEA' process of monster legislation enacted years late and sustained by continuous lobbying. However their deployment here of marxist caricatures against movement toward a more market-based system drawing on the capital markets is unusually strident. TOLLROADSnews 2007-02-09


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOLLROADSnews is a journalistic venture of Peter Samuel, 102 West Third Street Unit 1, Frederick MD 21701 USA tel 301 631 1148 email petersamuel@mac.com

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darkprime View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkprime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2007 at 1:25pm
As long as they are willing to spend more on this cause than the toll companies, then there's hope this toll nonsense will be defeated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2007 at 1:26pm

You must see this 20 minute news conference video if you are interested in the tolling of the US highway system. Very good.

http://www.truckline.com/index
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2007 at 10:35am
If I recall correctly, we always assumed the truckers would pitch a fit when they learned that they would lose all access, ever, at any time, day or night, to the I-95 HOV lanes.

It is right there in black and white that "large trucks" would be prohibited from using the toll facility.

So that means more semis in the regular lanes with the regular folks, while the limo crowd sails along with better safety.

(I love all the crazy "Marxist" and "socialist" allegations in the article by this toll road blog-on (a blogging moron, i.e. [;)]). Is there a more Marxist group than all those independently owned rigs out there? Truckers are communists. Right. [:o)])
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n/a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2007 at 11:29am
We should be so luck to have these powerful lobbys on our side!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luddite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2007 at 8:39pm
Hear Hear Raymond.

Let's not forget my smart friends that Fluor has our elected officials on their side. HELLO! MCFLY! ANYBODY IN THERE? Those who own those who make the rules make the rules. How else can I say it? Fluor has McQuigg, Ligamfelter, Frederick, O'Brien, and all the rest of them in their pocket like so many nickels and dimes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote darkprime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2007 at 8:15am
And soon enough we won't have any nickels and dimes in our own pockets :(
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Mar 2007 at 10:08am
I've met McQuigg and Frederick and can say that they are not in Fluor/Transurban's pocket. They may be in somebody's pocket... maybe. But not the toll road maker's.

Now if you were talking about the Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania poiticians, well maybe then you would be correct. But them I do not know.

Our biggest supporter is our fellow slug Corey Stewart. He is definitely not in Fluor/Transurban's pocket.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luddite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2007 at 9:58pm
If you don't believe the special interest/lobbyists got to our politicians, or our politician's friends, relatives, churches, universities, boy scout groups, etc., then, you're not paying attention. Having Corey Stewart on our side with regard to HOT makes people feel good, but means about as much as having the support of my 103 year old grandmother. Something happens to the morality and constitution of citizens when they enter the VA General Assembly. Corey Stewart can do the most for us by continuing to push around the other dolts on the board of supervisors. Go Corey....but don't go to Richmond.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Apr 2007 at 1:36pm
Hey, is your grandmother a lawyer, a slug, and the chairman of the county board? You ought to be real proud of her!

I repeat: Corey, who hosted the biggest transportation forum in our county's history and got the "dolts" to sign a vote of no-confidence in the toll road plan, is the only hope we have.

If you are so cynical that you have abandoned hope... well, I don't believe you. You must have some hope, or you wouldn't bother to be on this board.
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