From Texas Public Radio:
If you want to know why San Antonio has said no to tolls so far, you start by talking to Terri Hall. She began rallying citizens more than a decade ago to fight a toll project on a congested stretch of Highway 281 between Loop 1604 and the Comal County line.
“All six lanes that you drive on today were going to be converted to toll lanes, so obviously there was a big backlash to that,” says Hall.
Her group—now called Texans for Toll-Free Highways, filed a federal lawsuit to block that project. It’s no longer slated for tolls. But Hall has watched toll roads pop up in places like Dallas and Houston in recent years.
“To open that Pandora’s Box in San Antonio, when we’ve already seen this kind of failure of this kind of social experiment, if you will,” says Hall. “We should not be spending billions of dollars on this kid of infrastructure that doesn’t work.”
Commuters from Austin’s suburbs have been living with toll roads for years now. Liena Garcia commutes from Leander. “I live about 45 minutes away from where I work,” Garcia says. “Without the toll, that’s about an hour.” Garcia says she’s saved time, but money is another story. She says she has spent about $80 a month on toll fees, but she’s at the TxTag customer service center in North Austin, trying to sort out the $4,000 in fees and fines she owes because bills were sent to an old address.