The Texas House today passed a highway planning bill which puts Loop 1604 back on the list for toll roads for the first time in seven years, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Lawmakers approved a bill which lists 15 specific roads in Texas which would be eligible for 'public private partnerships' which would all private firms to build toll lanes on 1604 under a fifty years contract and then set the tolls, similar to the agreement for State Route 130 between Seguin and Austin.
"These are sweetheart contracts, they charge toll rates of up to 75 cents a mile or more," anti toll activist Terri Hall of Texas TURF told 1200 WOAI news. "This also prohibits any taxpayer or public official from having any say over how high that tax rate gets."
Loop 1604 was added to the list at the last minute by State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio).
Supporters say the bill does not guarantee that any new lanes will be tolled, but Gov. Perry is a major supporter of public private partnerships to build infrastructure projects.
Hall said under current state law, the contractor has the right to prevent major improvements of other roads within a five mile radius of it's toll road, to try to push traffic onto the toll road.
"They get to dictate what free roads get to be expanded or not, and if they do expand those free roads, we are going to have to pay a penalty to the private operator for having done so," Hall said.
Hall says 'nobody in Bexar County' wants toll roads on Loop 1604, but local politicians 'sold out the people.'