Conroe, October 20 – Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley pulled the old “bait n’ switch” on the taxpayers of this community during the October 10, 2017, Commissioners Court discussion of the Tx-249 Tollway, of which Montgomery County’s government is paying for $73 million for a 3.6 mile tollway – the Decimation of Hope Highway – while the Texas Department of Transportation (Tx-DOT) is paying over $443 million for 15 miles of additional tollway from Pinehurst to Todd Mission.
The reason the road is a tollroad at all is because Doyal appeared before the Texas Department of Transportation hearing in Austin on June 27, 2017, and lied to them that Montgomery County citizens are “unified in support” for a tollroad! The real reason Doyal wanted a tollroad was he wanted a pretext to build the 3.6 mile portion for $73 million also as a tollroad project the bonds for which would finance his and Riley’s funneling that huge amount of money to the companies and individuals who are their primary political contributors and the organizers of their criminal legal defense funds.
Citizen opposition to the construction of the tollway mostly in vacant pastureland at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County is overwhelming. Doyal and Riley vehemently oppose a referendum to permit the voters of Montgomery County to decide the issue, because, as Montgomery County Tollroad Authority lawyer Rich Muller of Sugar Land admitted on April 11, voters would never approve construction of the Tx-249 Tollway.
There are many reasons that citizens oppose the Tx-249 Tollway. In the Magnolia area, citizen opposition is intense, because they oppose the additional traffic congestion that tollroads tend to cause.
In actuality, the Tx-249 Tollway is worse than any of us imagined. Muller explained why in a classic “bait n’ switch” during the Commissioners Court on October 10.
What is a “bait and switch”? The Urban Dictionary defines it as “They will ‘bait’ you in with offers of really good stuff, then ‘switch’ the offers around behind your back.”
When citizens have complained that they don’t want to pay tolls, Riley and Doyal have responded, “well then just drive on the frontage roads next to the tollroad so you don’t have to pay the tolls.”
Oops. They let the cat out of the bag on October 10, because they’re not building frontage roads!!!
Drivers will have not the option to use the non-existent frontage roads. As Muller explained, the right-of-way agreement is with Varde Partners, the Minnesota-based real estate development firm that’s a major political contributor to Doyal, and which gave property for the right-of-way from the Grimes County line to one-and-a-half miles south of F.M. 1486, in property assembled from Varde Partners and San Antonio real estate developer Rick Sheldon, another major Doyal political and criminal legal defense fund contributor.
Muller quietly noted, however, the agreement “gives the County the option but not the obligation to construct frontage roads. I want to make clear though that there is no obligation or funding for these improvements at this time from Tx-DOT, the landowners, or the County.”
Amazingly, the more than half a billion dollars Tx-DOT and Montgomery County will spend on this Tx-249 Tollway in vacant pastureland will include no frontage roads. Either Montgomery County citizens will have to pay the exorbitant tolls or they’ll have to go another way!
If Sheldon constructs a residential real estate development in the 5,850 acres he owns along the proposed Tollway route, then guess who will likely get the great honor and privilege of paying the many tens of millions of dollars for the frontage roads?!
That’s right…you, the taxpayers of Montgomery County.
Doyal and Riley have been promising you greater mobility with “no cost to the taxpayers,” the phrase Doyal and Riley have used repeatedly. Instead, they’ve switched the really good stuff (not that good) they’re selling to a multi-tens-of-millions-of-dollars road funding nightmare to which taxpayers may look forward in the future.
The Tx-249 Tollway decimates all hope.