- Dan PatrickLieutennant Governor
- Lois KolkhorstState Senator
- Joe PickettTexas House of Representatives District 79
- James MorrisExecutive Director TXDOT
END EGREGIOUS FINES, FEES AND PENALTIES BY TOLL ROADS THROUGH LEGISLATION or LITIGATION.
The State of Texas, the Governors office and indeed the entire state legislature has perpetrated a crime against the citizens of the Great State of Texas!
This petition is the result of the backlash building against Toll Roads in Texas. It's happened to you...FINES from the Toll roads that leave you feeling helpless! You are horrified to learn that a few dollars in Toll Road use fees have turned into hundreds or even THOUSANDS of dollars in fines and the toll authority won't work with you. You may have even been sued, lost your ability to register your car or even been arrested?
A Convoluted system of Toll Roads in Texas exists with more than 5 different agencies each billing you for use of "their" roads. You can drive around Houston (for example) and be billed by at least 3 different toll agencies. Worst of all many toll roads in Texas are operated independently of government in Austin by private-public partnerships created through political wrangling by state legislation more than a decade ago. This has left Texans with public-private roads masquerading as State Highways.
That's right folks, roads that are privately owned while the State of Texas has stopped building anything with our Tax money! These quasi-government agencies are managed by elected officials and private business owners and together they are lining the pockets of fat-cat businessmen with your money. Roads are supposed to be built with tax dollars paid in as Gas Tax but Austin is diverting Gas Tax money
True harm is coming to Texas citizens in the form of egregious fines , harassment, loss of driving privileges, an inability to register vehicles. These and other grievances are being brought by citizens against the current legislated Toll Road system through legislative change or direct litigation.
The ultimate tool to let the state know that we, the citizens of Texas no longer support Toll Roads is to petition for a referendum to hear our grievances. State lawmakers MUST agree to listen to our grievances and correct the problems through substantial legislative change to the operation and revenue collection of all Toll Roads in Texas.
If the State will not listen and act, we are prepared to file what may become the largest Class Action Lawsuit in Texas History and seek legal remuneration including injunctive, compensatory, special and incidental damages from the state.
Texas Toll Roads are bringing harm to Taxpayers in the form of actual financial harm, frustration, anger, and other harms at an unprecedented level.
WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND:
1. There should be one tolling agency statewide.
2. Legal Loopholes must be closed to prevent abuse by the "private" for-profit part of Toll road operations. Their nature is in conflict with your right to drive. A set of laws that CLEARLY define, limit and control Toll Roads must be established.
3. The power to fine, sue and charge excessive fees must be severely limited and prevent economic harm against Texans created by the Legal Loopholes that are used against us.
4. The creation of protections (A Bill of RIghts) for Citizens against Toll road atrocities.
5. A Clear and concise operating charter for Toll Roads with a moral duty clause that makes it illegal to work and establish any Toll Project or operating guidelines that would bring economic harm against a Texas Citizen created by the system itself.
6. The exposure of profits, peoples names and other information by Regional Mobility Authorities.
7. The the abolition of any and all future toll roads.
8. Stop diverting Gas Tax money to other programs.
9. The classification of a "toll" as a "Tax" by admission of the State.
10. The immediate development of a Gas Tax plan to pay for roads and "Sunset" (eliminate" toll roads within 5 years.
Citizens are sued in an administrative court where the plaintiff (Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson law firm is paying for the Judge to hear the case on behalf of themselves, a private for profit law firm with a very disturbing history of fraud, deceit and other crimes.
http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/debt-collector/texas-politics/ . These are the people who your state sends you to to sue you! They are in business to make a profit. Administrative judges they use are often paid 2 to 3 times the normal pay for a judge at this level and the preponderance of the evidence agrees that citizens are found guilty in more than 95% of all cases. Most cases are won on technicality and the penalty does not match the crime making toll road fines a clear violation of the;
The 8th amendment of the constitution of the United States and the section 13 of the Texas State Constitution which bar the collection of excessive fines. The state of Texas has created legislation that allows it to outsource toll violations and assess unbelievably egregious fines against its' own citizens in a manner that is harmful to citizens. That harm is not chartered within the state constitution. All laws are to be chartered for the benefit of the people not against them. This situation was created when;
Put simply, the system harms citizens financially and therefore violates the Texas Constitution and the United States Constitution. The State lawmakers, our employees, have created a system that prosecutes citizens for even accidental infractions on our toll roads that are prosecuted by private law firms, not the State of Texas additionally;
The toll violation system clearly violates the Due Process Guarantee contained within the Texas Constitution, The state may have failed to meet its' evidentiary burden by any citizen from a civil penalty and administrative reprocessing fees applied against a vehicle owner under the under the process authorized by law.
More specifically this means that private citizens are being sued by someone other than the State of Texas for toll road violations. Many complain of never receiving notice which violates their right to due process. Once the charges are sent to the third party collection firm, they assess egregious fines and fees that harms citizens egregiously because the fines are more than 50 times the actual toll charges. This is far beyond anything allowed by consumer credit lawsuit.
By its very nature, a private law firm has a conflict of interest in filing lawsuits on behalf of the State against private citizens in administrative courts. Furthermore, the private lawfirm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP as well as other firms use "administrative Courts" to sue private Citizens which are essentially courts for hire by the lawfirm. And Linebarger in particular is a nasty one!
All Tolling authorities are required to operate under TXDOT but TXDOT does not have total control over the independent agencies that toll all of us and this lack of defined, well written legal rules allows too much leeway within each toll road agency to operate independently.
Reciprocal agreements between agencies are completely inadequate to protect citizens, causing thousands of tax paying citizens to be sued, spend too much personal time dealing with toll issues and no clear means of resolving issues in a timely or easy manner. When someone using a different tolling agency has a tag malfunction, fines are assessed immediately and the burden of proof of innocence is pushed back onto the taxpayer citizen who must fight to have the fees removed, taking substantial time or concede and pay fines that are automatically assessed.
This is insanity in the 21st century. Each agency has no way to look up the license plates of other agencies. They also do not attempt to re-bill 3 times as they do with their own customers. They will instead often waive some fees if you agree to get an account with that agency essentially bribing you to leave your old agency to reduce the fees easily. This is unacceptable. It may even violate the FTC Deceptive Trade and Practiced Act. It can cause harm to any company or agency or individual who travels as you cannot have two tags on your windshield or they will potentially both read. What is a citizen to do? They are to demand the State fix this issue. The issue is that the private parties operating the toll roads each want their money!
Toll road revenue is being used to build new toll roads to collect even more fees from citizens of the State of Texas. Tolling should not be allowed to perpetuate itself by making loans to other tolling agencies to build more Toll Roads. As an example, HCTRA loaned $20 million dollars to another http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/Harris-County-OKs-20M-loan-for-MoCo-toll-road-5997311.php that it earned from fees on the Beltway 8 Toll Road in Houston! If the Beltway 8 project is paid for, per the advertisement on the bond sold to the residents of Harris County, the Beltway 8 Toll Road was to become Free once paid for!. Yes, it was supposed to be free once paid for. Harris County has NOT kept its word with the citizens of the City of Houston. This is treasonous and malicious intent to defraud. Beltway 8 is a cash cow for the City who continues to increase taxes. Harris County is making money hand over fist off of tolls yet they continue to raise property taxes...why? Because it is never enough and nobody is stopping them!
Gas Taxes could lower toll road fees, pay off other debts or improve schools but instead it is being funneled to Toll us even more. Toll Roads are a form of Double Taxation. The State of Texas continues to abuse Gas Tax revenue by channeling it to non-road projects. This is a serious breech of the definition of the what the Gas Tax is for. We must stop the legislation in the State of Texas from earmarking Gas Tax money for special projects that have nothing to do with roads! Using a Gas Tax uniformly taxes all citizens for roads instead of an undue burden for those that live in a city. Texas gas tax has not changed in decades and remained steady at 20 cents per gallon - yet we have the 2nd largest state in the union and an enormous road system to maintain. Most other states are at 27 to 30 cents per gallon. So we are diverting Gas Taxes away from Roads.
Representative Doug Miller introduced SB 1110 (in 2013), that heists property taxes (through appraisal increases) for transportation projects and expands the use of Transportation Reinvestment Zones (TRZ) from strictly FREEways to toll roads, rail, transit, and dedicated bike lanes. WE"RE DIVERTING GAS TAX AWAY FROM TOLL ROADS AND THIS GUY WANTS TO TAKE YOUR PROPERTY TAXES TO MAKE UP FOR THE TAX SHORTAGE ON ROADS - THAT ARE BEING TAKEN FROM GAS TAXES. ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL.
Harris County has commandeered our Freeway lanes for additional revenue which should be a crime. Toll Road fees are egregious. They are charging as much as $400 per month for a driver to travel to and from work downtown and back to Katy 5 days a week. That is more than the cost of a new Honda Accord per month! It is egregious.
Toll road fines are an abomination. Current Legislation does not go far enough TXDOT, NTTRA, HCTRA, TXTAG the State of Texas ETC MUST give everyone a chance to voice their complaints and seek relief in the form of compensatory, injunction and punitive damages against all of the agencies, their law firms and private tolling companies. It is vital that you speak up and express your concerns to drive corrective action against one of the most corrupt and abusive institutions within the state by signing this petition.
Another complaint observed is the "License Plate" issue where citizens buy new cars and have a hard time getting the actual metal plates after purchase. For example: Buying cars out of state. If your plate is not associated with your account within 30 days, you will be fined and sued under the current law. Fines are higher than allowed under Federal Credit laws that consumers are protected by. These federal laws include the Fair Debt Collections Act, Deceptive Trade and Practices Act and the FCRA or Fair Credit Reporting Act, as well as others.
Texas also has strict debt collection practice laws but none of them adequately provide extension for protections for toll road operations. Unless we collectively stand firm and sue, they will continue to harm citizens and cause thousands of hours of lost productivity to corporations across the state dealing with the extreme incompetence, negligent and even hostile activities conducted against private citizens. Additionally most Texans do not recognize that Toll Roads are become more mainstream than tax-money paid construction projects. There is a serious issue with the growth of Toll Road construction even with the increased revenue from taxpayers and toll revenues. Toll Roads are getting first priority for construction in potential or needed growth areas instead of Tax funded projects because the state is not spending tax money on roads as they should!
This means that the State is earning greater revenue by tolling your ability to drive instead of using the money they collect in your taxes to pay for construction and maintenance of roads.
All together, these and other issues MUST be dealt with swiftly by WE THE PEOPLE before they get out of hand. What kind of world allows a free highway to install toll booths only for the overpasses and the rest stays free? Why is it that inter-agency cooperation does not protect your ability to drive without fear of penalty on other agency roads? Please take a moment to tell us what you have experienced AND to let us know how we can stop this together. Together we can greatly change the oversight and toll road authority ability to tax, charge and build toll roads and help keep driving free or reduce the cost of driving by strong legislation to keep the tolling authorities and legislators in check.
- Lieutennant Governor
- Governor of Texas
- State Senator
- Texas House of Representatives District 79
- Executive Director TXDOT
Governor of Texas Greg Abbott
Lueutennant Governor Dan Patrick
State Senator Lois Kolkhorst
Texas House of Representatives District 79 Joe Pickett
Executive Director TXDOT James Morris
Federal Trade Commission – Consumer Protection Division
Toll Roads are NOT citizen Friendly and Texans are growing increasingly unhappy about it. There are MAJOR flaws within current legislation that allow Toll operators to ABUSE citizens and run amok. These “exploits” manifest themselves by treating citizens as criminals and result in true emotional and economic harm. The result – Angry Texans demanding change!
We are writing you to bring attention to a series of very specific “exploits” or “loopholes” that Texans seem to repeatedly fall “victim” to. These exploits fall into two categories: Inter-agency and Intra-agency. All are a result of inadequate legislation to protect Texans from harm.
Inter-agency exploits - Regional Mobility Authorities such as NTTA, HCTRA, SATA etc. operate independently, virtually in a vacuum. Texans experience these problems because tolling agencies do not treat all Texans (and visitors to our state) the same as their own customers.
Intra-agency exploits - are very similar but they are experienced less frequently but the result is the same – Texans left feeling helpless or outraged.
We believe that the problems that Texans experience as a result of poor legislation and poor operating regulations are immoral, unethical and illegal on multiple levels. As a result, we have asked Ken Paxton to issue an opinion on these issues and to investigate the “exploits” which we have mentioned. Ken Paxton has a first responsibility to fully investigate these allegations on behalf of Texas Citizens.
I have proposed to TXDOT Executive Director James Bass that we have a referendum that includes James Bass, Transportation Committee Chair Joe Pickett, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, Terri Hall of T.U.R.F., you and myself as representative of a growing group of more than 12,254 Texans who have signed our petition. James Bass has agreed to host this meeting. The goal of the meeting is to avoid litigation by bringing these problems to light in order to drive swift legislative changes that bring an end to these abuses.
- It is time for Toll Road Reform!
12,274 Texans - The Petitioners
Texas Toll Road Class Action Lawsuit started this petition with a single signature, and now has 17,353 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.