Conroe, April 12 – State Representative Mark Keough, who is the Republican nominee for Montgomery County Judge after a landslide win over lame duck incumbent Craig Doyal, expressed his support for a non-tolled TX 249 Extension. The tolled version, which Doyal and Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley have attempted to force upon County residents without any voter referendum, is better known as the Decimation of Hope Highway for the cronyism and massive overpayments involved with its construction.
Keough referred to the vote of Montgomery County voters – and voters statewide – in favor of Proposition 2, that no government entity should ever construct a tollroad or finance a tollroad without voter approval first. Montgomery County voters approved Proposition 2 with 91% in favor. Voters along the proposed TX 249 Extension route approved the proposition with some of the highest margins in the entire State of Texas.
Keough issued the following statement early this afternoon:
“For many months I have discussed at great length the need for HWY 249 to be extended from Spring Creek (Harris County Line) to Pinehurst in West Montgomery County. I have taken the position that this road should be built with existing state gas taxes and available state funds, and in order to maximize traffic congestion relief it should not be tolled by the state or any other entity including Montgomery County. Tolls are not only a form of double taxation but are also a hindrance to the relief of traffic congestion as more people will opt for the free lanes this is evidenced by the existing toll flyovers at HWY 242 and Interstate 45 which are rarely utilized and leaves the intersection with major traffic congestion to this day.
“I have also been in touch with TxDOT officials over this time period to discuss my concerns and desire for the citizens of Montgomery County to receive our full share of state funding for these additional lanes at no further or continued expense to our citizens including no tolls this section.
“The Texas Legislature through the passage of SJR 7 in 2015 and what became Proposition 7 on the ballot later that year, of which I supported as a Texas House member, was ratified by the voters of Texas in November 2015. Prop 7 along with other legislative initiatives in 2015 and 2017 placed billions of new dollars into the coffers of TxDOT to address the growing infrastructure needs across Texas with the caveat of no new tolls. These new funds were above the baseline appropriations for TxDOT and were intended to speed up the construction of several projects that were left on wish list.
“I echo and applaud the efforts of Senator Brandon Creighton who has also been working towards the same goals for the Citizens of Montgomery County for many months and who has made prioritizing transportation infrastructure a major issue across our County and region. I also applaud Commissioner James Noack for his leadership on this issue by being the voice for the citizens of Montgomery County and pointing out multiple options for constructing this extension at no cost to the county tax payer and without tolls.
“I call upon TxDOT officials to heed the call for no new toll roads that our Governor, Lt. Governor, Texas Senate Members and the Texas House Members have made a priority when issuing new appropriations. Which voters across Texas have also made no new toll roads a priority when approving Prop 7 in 2015 and Prop 2 earlier this year. I look forward to working with TxDOT and other stakeholders as I complete my term in the legislature and transition into the role as the next County Judge of Montgomery County, to get this project completed quickly and ensure that our citizens are not be double taxed to use a road they’ve already paid for through other means of taxation.”