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Wolff: "We're not using local fees to fund tolls"

By: Marissa A. Wagner

(San Antonio, Tx.) State transportation officials have earmarked more than $800,000,000 to expand three major highways in Bexar County.

However, Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff says the total is actually closer to $1.3 Billion, as the portion of funding that would go towards building toll roads, or managed lanes, only accounts for about a third of the overall transportation plan.

"No existing lanes will be converted, there will be as much capacity today that is free; it will remain that way. You know, we're not taking any roads and turning them into toll roads," said Wolff. 

Several people against expanding San Antonio roadways with tolls, including the group Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) have spoken out against the plan, citing it will be a double or even triple tax on Bexar County tax payers.

However, Wolff said the project will be funded by a low interest rate loan from the state, and not from local tax dollars such as Regional Mobility Authority (RMA) fees of Advanced Transportation Dollars (ATD).

"What we're doing is we're doing it through a loan with really good interest rates from the state itself, that we have to pay back," said Commissioner Wolff. "And once we've paid back the loan on it we essentially have a toll lane ready to roll."

Wolff told the 550 KTSA Morning News with Trey Ware this actually saves local taxpayers a lot of money.

"If we as a community by ourselves tried to do Interstate 10, our cost of funds would increase by more than $100 billion," said Wolff. "Whereas if we have the state do what's called a SIB loan, we save that cost of funds."

The expansion will include Interstate 10, U.S. Highway 281 and Loop 1604, and construction is slated to start by early next year.

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Locations : AntonioBexar CountySan Antonio
People : Kevin WolffMarissa A. Wagner
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