The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe and Magnolia, December 8 – The Montgomery County Toll Road Authority’s (MCTRA) quarterly financial statement, which will cast a shadow over today’s Commissioners Court meeting, continues to show severe mismanagement and poor financial operations. Despite glowing projections and promises from MCTRA President and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, from tollroad lumber profiteer and Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts, and Big Government advocate and Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador, MCTRA is barely breaking even on its tollroad operations.
Under Riley’s leadership, MCTRA and its questionable TX 249 Tollway has shown humpy financial results.
MCTRA was actually losing money during the first six (6) months of 2020. On $1.8 million of revenue, Riley’s, Metts’, and Meador’s tollroad operations lost over $559,000. The third quarter results, however, were more positive and allowed the risky operation to report a year-to-date profit of $172,172, on $5.395 million of revenue, or 3.2% net.
In comparison, the Harris County Toll Road Authority, which, from a financial perspective is a well-managed operation, enjoys a net profit of fifty-four percent (54%), even after payment of financial expenses. The difference, however, is that MCTRA is a part of the Montgomery County government, which suffers from terrible management and complete corruption in purchasing and vendor relationship procedures.
MCTRA operates the TX 249 Tollway in Montgomery County, a stretch of road also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.
Ginger Russell, Republican Precinct Chair for the Voting Precinct 74, which straddles areas close to the Tollway, told The Golden Hammer in an exclusive interview, “The Republican Party opposed construction of the TX-249 Tollway. Grimes County got their TX-249 extension as a freeway. As a tollroad, where very few people travel on it and do everything they can to avoid it, the TX-249 Tollway has become little more than a road obstruction for people trying to get to and from their homes and work.” Russell added, “We all expected they’d lose money, so this terrible financial report is no surprise.”
The tollroad is 3.1 miles long, and was one of the most expensive stretches of road constructed in American history. The enormous interest and fiscal charges, which swallow eighty-six percent (86%) of total revenue, are the camel’s share of funds flowing through MCTRA coffers.
This poor financial statement is certainly not MCTRA’s first. For the previous Fiscal Year, the MCTRA financial statement revealed an operating loss of $1,634,233 from the tollroad operations which Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, former County Judge Doyal, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador had repeatedly promised would be “huge money makers for the citizens.”
On total revenue of $5,095,937 for the first nine months of 2020, MCTRA spent $4,384,000 on interest and financial charges, $559,592 on toll contract services (paid to the Harris County Toll Road Authority), $254,720 for services, $24,500 for capital outlay, and $904 for supplies.
Riley’s criminal legal defense fund came primarily from vendors and real estate developers with land along the TX-249 Tollway. Metts’ lumber business had a lucrative $3,000,000-plus contract with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for the lumber removal portion of the TX-249 Extension in Montgomery County. Former Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal also received his criminal legal defense costs from tollway vendors.
Riley fiercely lobbied for TX 249 to be a tollroad, even though Montgomery County citizens wanted the road extension to be a freeway and even though TxDOT made clear it would build the road as a freeway, if Montgomery County had not picked the project as a tollroad. Grimes County conservative activists and elected representatives successfully lobbied TxDOT to construct the Grimes County portion of the TX 240 Extension as a freeway, rather than as a tollway.
Riley did not return several calls requesting comment.