Lawmaker calls for Houston freeway truck ban

| Friday, February 22, 2002

A congressman from Texas wants to ban trucks and designate toll lanes on a busy Houston freeway to ease congestion.

U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) says in the Energy Houston magazine that federal, state and local officials should "have dirt moving by the end of this year," to expand the Katy Freeway. The expansion of the crowded West Houston thoroughfare, he says, could be cut from 12 years to six with toll lanes.

Culberson says he also is working to pass legislation for truck toll lanes, and to force trucks driving through Houston on to I-69 to further ease congestion. "I want to get trucks off west Houston's main thoroughfare and make them travel around the city to make our city roads safer," he says. "I will also increase railroad use to further eliminate trucks from using our streets."

OOIDA Vice President Todd Spencer says, "While this kind of rhetoric might sound great to the uninformed, the fact is truckers already pay a small fortune in state and federal taxes, specifically for highway maintenance and repair. When roads aren't maintained it is because too much of that money is being diverted for other purposes. The responsibility for this lies squarely with those making the decisions in state capitols and in the nation's capital.

"No one is impacted more than truckers by congestion and no one will work harder to avoid congestion than truckers," Spencer says, "but the reality here too is that when you have people, jobs, stores, and everything else, you're going to have trucks. If railroads could meet the needs of consumers, they would be hauling the freight right now."

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