Citizens are irrelevant except to elect
Letter to the Editor:
June 13, 2002
My name is Sally Baptiste. I live in Orlando, Florida. I just read your two articles on "Show us one place where more roads and higher taxes have reduced congestion..." Citizens not under-taxed, just under-led" and "VDOT's Project from Hell - I-81 in Bristol".
I would like to thank your organization for reporting on the transportation problems. I would also like to request that your organization continue to play a key role in informing/educating citizens about the real facts that make up our transportation policies.
I apologize for the lengthy email, but I thought you should understand why I am asking for your continued assistance in this process.
The politicians are definitely not taking care of our business when it comes to transportation and they will never be honest with citizens about this fact.
The politicians will never admit that highways are the LEAST expensive form of transportation and the number one choice of Americans. The politicians are perfectly content to ignore citizens in support their special interest groups. The politicians are perfectly content to ignore the transportation facts and waste our tax dollars in the interest of their personal agendas.
About two years ago I decided to research the traffic issue for Central Florida. I couldn't understand or justify why I should have to pay an additional $100+ per month in toll road taxes on top of all the other transportation taxes I was already paying.
Central Florida currently has eight toll roads and one Interstate (I-4). The Interstate is currently the only freeway highway in Central Florida. The Florida politicians are looking for ways to add a toll to I-4 and assess me another road tax!! I finally said enough is enough is enough! It is time to stop this abuse!
It is time to force our elected officials to start representing citizens and be accountable for their performance (or lack of).
It is time to get our transportation policy under control and to eliminate the special interests groups and pork projects.
When discussing transportation and toll roads, it is important to note that almost all toll roads were built with the promise that the tolls would be removed (AKA temporary tolls).
The tolls were supposed to be a temporary tax to cover the initial construction. However in Central Florida, the FL Turnpike is now 45 years old, the BeeLine Expressway is 35 years old and the East/West Expressway is now 29 years old and the toll taxes are higher now than ever before.
Bottom line - toll roads have become a cash cow for the state of Florida and other states.
In the case of the BeeLine Expressway, the initial construction 35 years ago was only 6 million dollars!!
Through my research I also learned that the Florida gas tax money is used to pay for "general state expenses" and not the roads.
At the same time, the politicians have the nerve to whine about needing to increase the gas tax or assess more and higher tolls to pay for the roads!! This abuse of the motorist is an outrage and must be stopped!
It is also important to consider the true impact of the highway system in our society. Highways have a major impact on our economy, emergency services, defense and quality of life. I challenge any elected official to quantify the impact of removing 50% of the traffic from the highways.
What do they think would happen to our economy?
Thus, it is time to stop wasting transportation tax dollars on the various pork projects and start managing our growing traffic. The abuse and mismanagement of our transportation tax dollars is outrageous and must be stopped.
Most citizens do not know what TEA-21 is.
They don't know the true story about light-rail, high-speed rail and other mass transit.
Citizens have been severely brainwashed by the political spin on these boondoggles by the politicians and the special interest groups.
The only reason I know about this is because I have spent hours and hours researching and studying this subject on my own.
Rail has been proven over and over again to be a loser for public transportation. Amtrak is a perfect example of rail failure.
Yet, our "leadership" (or lack of) keeps spending more and more of our tax dollars on this boondoggle. Taxpayers will pay for these boondoggles for the rest of our lives while we continue to be stuck in traffic!
We (the taxpayers) are the ones that pay for this lack of representation and a lack of accountability on the part of our government. I have no doubt that special interest groups, personal insider information/financial gains by politicians, campaign funds, etc. are the reason for these pork projects and boondoggles.
Our Representatives have been replaced by a group of self-serving politicians. The politician does not worry about citizens or the overall well being of our society. They focus on their personal power and financial gains.
Citizens have become completely irrelevant. Citizens need to face the fact that we the people, no longer have any real representation and our transportation program/policy is one example of this.
In the interest of stopping this abuse and impacting change in our transportation policy, a group of anti-toll organizations have come together to form a national coalition.
The coalition includes Ax the Toll Road Tax – FL, go to www.guetzloenews.com , Citizens Against Tolls – New Jersey, go to www.endtollls.com , No More Tolls – DC, go to www.nomoretolls.org , and No Tolls Inc – IL, go to www.notolls.org.
The national coalition was just created and is in an organizational phase. We have created a web site www.notollsusa.org . You will see it is "under construction". Please forward this information on to the person(s) covering this issue and/or persons interested in becoming involved to fight this abuse and identifying real solutions for managing our growing traffic.
Again I ask Virginia News Source to continue to play a key role in impacting change and stopping this abuse.
It is through honest reporting and full disclosure of these facts that citizens will be able to learn about this abuse.
I support the "Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance" in their fight to block a tax increase for roads. Based on my research, motorists and taxpayers have already paid for the roads.
The money for the roads is already there if the politicians would stop focusing on their personal agendas and start serving the people they were elected to represent.
Citizens need to demand true representation and accountability from elected officials.
You may want to verify some of my information on transportation. I would recommend looking at the various web sites listed above and using "The Public Purpose" at www.publicpurpose.com. Wendell Cox is a one of nations leading experts and consultants on transportation and planning.
I also used information from the book "The Government Racket – 2000 and Beyond" by Martin L. Gross. I used many sources of information and my research is continuing.
Please forward any additional transportation facts that you may have on this abuse. I appreciate any facts on this subject.
For the record, I am a concerned citizen that is tired of being misled and defrauded by my government.
I do not believe that the government has the right to operate a scam (toll roads) or to swindle money from citizens. I do not receive any type of compensation for endorsing this book or these web sites.
I do not have any political agenda - I am not seeking any public office! My only purpose/goal is to impact change in our system, improve our transportation system and to stop this abuse.
Again, thank you for reporting the problems in our transportation system and I apologize for the lengthy email.
I have learned a lot about transportation and truly believe my fellow citizens need to be informed about the level of this abuse.
Please let me know if you would like any additional information on my research. Thank you.
Sally L. Baptiste