Image: Texas Transportation Commissioner Victor Vandergriff stands in front of a statue of a father Tom Vandergriff, who was a Mayor of Arlington and democrat Congressman.
Conroe, December 26 – Thanks to some truth, during the December 19, 2017, Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting, from Texas Transportation Commissioner Victor Vandergriff, who oversees the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), an amazing compromise solution has shone through for the Decimation of Hope Highway, the $95 million, 4.5-mile, Tx-249 Tollway that Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley have pushed on Montgomery County citizens so that Doyal and Riley can funnel millions of dollars to their favorite political contributors and criminal legal defense fund contributors.
What’s the compromise solution? Montgomery County should stop its work on the Tx-249 Tollway from Spring Creek to Pinehurst and give the project back to Tx-DOT immediately.
What Vandergriff admitted: if the Tx-249 Tollway isn’t built, it’ll be an expanded and free farm-to-market road instead, because TxDOT knows that Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and leading legislators oppose more tollroads
After the Doyal-Riley show ended during the Commissioners Court meeting, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack asked Vandergriff, “I spoke with TxDOT Regional Director Quincy Allen who said the Tx-249 road would be built whether Montgomery County does it or not. Isn’t that true?”
Vandergriff undercut Doyal’s and the Charlie Riley Band’s entire staged presentation by answering Noack truthfully, “Yes, but it would be more like a farm-to-market road like what Grimes County will get than a tollroad.”
Vandergriff, of course, referred to the fact that the Grimes County Commissioners Court and its legislative representatives fought the tolling of the Tx-249 extension through Grimes County, because its citizens so ardently opposed more tollroads, just like the citizens of Montgomery County oppose them.
Vandergriff’s admission that TxDOT would likely build the road as a free farm-to-market road – like F.M. 1488 – revealed that Doyal and Riley have been lying to Montgomery County citizens all along in their statements that the Tx-249 Extension and expansion would only occur if Montgomery County went forward with the project as a tollroad financed from revenue bonds.
Now, it’s clear: #1, TxDOT would build the 4.5 mile connector expansion of Tx-249 from Spring Creek to Pinehurst, even if Montgomery County didn’t do so; #2, the connector would be a free non-toll road because the TxDOT Commissioners understand the opposition of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and other state leaders to more tollroads.
Who would win in this scenario?
If Montgomery County’s freespending County government turned the Tx-249 Tollway project back to TxDOT, Doyal has admitted that the County would receive reimbursement for the $13 million in general revenue tax funds Doyal and Riley have already spent on the project, funneling that money mainly to Halff Associates, the engineering firm of Bobby Jack Adams, Doyal’s best friend and business partner, and to Jones & Carter engineers, some of the most ardent political supporter$ of Doyal and Riley and their criminal legal defense fund.
The giant winners in the scenario of Montgomery County turning the Tx-249 project back to TxDOT would be the citizens of Montgomery County. The citizens would get their $13 million back from TxDOT, according to Doyal.
The citizens wouldn’t have to drive on the expanded and extended Tx-249 as a tollroad along the 4.5 miles from Spring Creek to Pinehurst. It would be a free road!
Riley staged two interesting commenters during the pro-tollroad show he and the Charlie Riley Band displayed on December 19. One of them was a fire chief who said the expanded road was important for fire trucks. The other was Precinct 5 Chief Deputy Constable Chris Jones, who looked very uncomfortable and had no facts or figures whatsoever, but said, “We need the road expansion for law enforcement.”
Let’s assume that Deputy Jones and the fire chief were telling the truth. Then, clearly, law enforcement and fire departments would be far better off with a non-tollroad than a tollroad. There’s a good reason you don’t seek emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks and police vehicles, on tollroads. Tollroads have limited access and restricted longitudinal mobility. Therefore, an expanded free farm-to-market road would provide better safety for emergency vehicles and those citizens who rely upon them.
Who would lose in this scenario?
There are two Montgomery County citizens who would lose in this scenario of turning the Tx-249 Tollway project back to the state: Craig Doyal and Charlie Riley, who wouldn’t have the opportunity to continue the circle of funneling money to their favored vendors, who funnel money back to them through political contributions and legal defense fund contributions.
There’s a reason we shouldn’t care about the vendors themselves. First, they’re part of the corruption. Second, they’re not even Montgomery County citizens!
It’s time for Doyal and Riley to stop lying to the few citizens of the Magnolia area whom they’ve convinced that Montgomery County needs another tollroad.
Thanks to the truth of Victor Vandergriff and Quincy Allen, both of TxDOT, it’s time to STOP the folly of the Tx-249 Tollway, the Decimation of Hope Highway.