Conroe and New Caney, February 11 – Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark placed a resolution on the February 13, 2018, Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting agenda to remove the tolls on the State Highway 242 flyovers, but freespending liberal Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal opposes the move because he wants to toll citizens in order to fund a third flyover for northbound traffic to head east.
“It’s time to give the taxpayers a break,” Clark told The Golden Hammer. “Judge Doyal has promised the citizens of Montgomery County that no matter what we’re supposed to get repaid the more than $13 million in general revenue funds the County has fronted for the TX 249 Tollway. Doyal has said we’d either get the funds back from the issuance of revenue bonds or from TxDOT if they take the project over and reimburse us for what we’re already out-of-pocket. Those funds are where the money should come from in order to fund the eastbound flyover. I’m sick and tired of Doyal and his allies, including James Metts, who keep wanting to find new ways to tax the citizens, whether it’s tolls or higher property taxes. Here, we have funds readily available. The flyover debt is paid. They need to stop tolling people now.”
Clark also explained that it’s very obvious that the tolling on the flyovers has caused congestion at the two intersections. “The northbound frontage road congestion is terrible, because people aren’t using the flyovers to avoid paying the tolls,” Clark said. “Instead, they’re turning left from the frontage road. The same congestion problem exists on the other flyover but going the opposite direction.”
Clark’s resolution reads, “CONSIDER AND DISCUSS 242 FLYOVERS RELATING TO THE REMOVAL OF TOLLS AND TXDOT ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY OF BOTH FLYOVERS.”
Clark explained, “I’ve been consistently against tolls and tollroads. I don’t think we need to be in the tollroads business. We need to move towards dissolving the tollroad authority. That’s a fundamental difference between me and Judge Metts who is Doyal’s ally and will work with him to continue to create more tolls and taxes.”
“The debt has been paid. It’s a 15 second ride. There’s no reason to have people pay. I’m against tolls, because we’re already paying too much in taxes and shouldn’t have to pay tolls as well,” Clark said.
As a result of the bond debt defeasances Commissioner Noack had proposed from funds from the Pass-Through Toll Revenue received from the state, the County government has paid $6.370 million from the debt service fund and completely defeased the Series 2009, Series 2010, and Series 2012 Bonds that financed the SH 242 flyovers.
On January 25, 2018, County taxpayers paid off all of the debt associated with the SH 242 flyover project.
During calendar year 2017, the flyover tolls totaled $1,233,736.20, or an average of $102,811.35 per month. In 2015, when the County government had projected the revenue for the tollroad during that time period, the projections were approximately $194,028 per month for calendar year 2017. Therefore, the actual toll revenue was approximately $92,000 per month less than the engineering projections. The tolls are $0.50 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and $0.25 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Montgomery County Judge candidate Mark Keough made clear during a candidate debate on January 23, 2018, that he also supports removal of the flyover tolls.