With primaries over, NCGOP doubles down in push FOR toll roads


It’s no surprise that politicians save discussion of controversial issues until AFTER they have safely secured another term at the public trough.  It appears the “honorables” on Jones Street are keeping that tradition alive.

I had heard that state Rep. Skip Stam had a real problem with accidentally sending business emails to people who they weren’t intended for.  Well, one of those emails ended up in our inbox (Click image to enlarge):



stam1FYI — Don D’ambrosi  is a Triangle area land-planning consultant.  

Attached to this email are talking points to be used in debating Tea Party sources opposing the installation of toll roads in the state.  At the 2013 NCGOP convention,  delegates passed a platform plank opposing toll roads.  That upset state speaker — now US Senate nominee — Thom Tillis to the point that he took his team back to Raleigh and rammed through legislation allowing for toll roads.    Sources at Gov, Pat’s NCDOT leaked word that they were seriously considering the implementation of toll roads to finance road maintenance and construction.  (Not much word about weeding out waste in current projects or cutting the gas tax to off-set the pain in the wallet toll roads will inflict.) 

Just before the primary vote, we got word that NCGOP insiders drafting a platform for 2014 are striking anti-toll road language from that document. 

Let’s get down to the meat-and-potatoes of The Gospel of Skip: 

[…] The Toll Road program is an important tool to be included in the measures for building public infrastructure.

Use of Toll Roads can greatly accelerate the implementation of crucial projects. In the case of 540 in western Wake County it has been estimated that this project was able to be constructed some 20-25 years earlier than it would have been if it followed traditional funding/construction processes.

With the 540 Toll Road in place existing motorists have been provided with an excellent alternative for reaching the RTP, Durham, RDU Airport and eastern NC in far less time and with much greater ease. Future residents will also be able to enjoy the benefits of this facility immediately upon their arrival.payup


Toll Roads give us the flexibility of following a new axiom which is “ Since we can clearly project the unquestionable need for improvements let’s go ahead and get it in place so it is there before we have a catastrophic failure of the existing , limited, facilities.”

Along with improving mobility (the ability to move safely and efficiently from point A to Point B and back again) having alternative routes in place also helps to meet our requirements to reduce air pollution from vehicle emissions.

Our region has long been under an air quality improvement mandate from the EPA. […]  Even with the addition of buses to reduce the number of idling vehicles there was no significant improvement as few people chose to use the bus. Further, the region’s steady population growth added new drivers to the mix at a rate that far outstripped any advantage gained by the limited number of people who chose the transit option.

Hmmmm.  An admission that concepts like light rail don’t work?  MORE: 

The only reliable fallback that we could take has been to expand and add new roadway facilities to provide much needed alternatives and keep vehicles moving so that no single area would be subjected to the long periods of inching vehicles with idling engines that would severely impair the air quality at that given location.Given limited state and federal funding that might provide for a few improvements over a 7 to 10 year time period, local governments have been confronted with having to build new roads completely on their own. This has required approval of bonds by the voters within the respective community, or a tax increase, or both. Even so, our communities still find themselves with the need to improve or construct even more roads.legislature


If the logic of the 540 toll road saving both time and money even with the payment of the tolls is proven, then the facility is notpunitive to those who use it. If the logic is proven that the toll road saves money by reducing fuel costs even after the tolls are accounted for then the facility cannot be discriminatory as the benefit is there for all. Further, if one’s personal time were valued at $10 an hour a reduction in commute time by at least 15 minutes each way is a $5 benefit. If the commute is reduced by 30 minutes each way there is a $10 realization in time. That is much more than the toll.

Of course, Stam included some arguments to use against those *awful* Tea Partiers:

[…] Are Toll roads punitive;

At 18.4 cents per gallon, the federal gas tax was last raised in 1993. Since then, it has lost nearly 40 percent of its purchasing power. The gas tax would need to be raised to nearly 30 cents per gallon to give it the purchasing power it had in 1993.

Similarly, while the North Carolina state gas tax is a combination of a flat rate plus a variable rate based on wholesale prices (capped since 2012), North Carolina has seen the power of its highway construction dollars decline 52% between 2002-2013.  This reduction of purchasing power at both the federal and state levels creates challenges to funding our infrastructure systems now and in the future.

Let’s not forget the shameful raiding of highway funds to pay for pork barrel projects to ensure legislators’ reelection bids.  MORE: 

The use of tolls is a central component to this nation’s transportation funding system.  Tolls establish a direct connection between the use of the road and payment for that use. For too long, motorists have falsely believed our roads are free. Our highways are not free nor have they ever been. However, it’s easy to see why that misperception persists. There is no direct link between paying the fuel tax and using the roads it funds. Tolling re-establishes that connection.

There are no free roads. There are only toll roads and tax supported roads. A toll is a user fee, not a tax. You only pay for a toll road when you use it. Every road needs maintenance and reconstruction, and that costs money.  No road is ever fully paid for. A road, just like a home, requires ongoing upkeep and maintenance.  Tolls provide a sustainable source of revenue for ongoing road maintenance and improvement.

It is a common misconception that the Interstates are “already paid for.” Infrastructure of all kinds needs routine maintenance, upgrading and eventual replacement. Though it cost $129 billion to construct, it will cost nearly $2.5 trillion over the next 50 years to rebuild the interstate system, largely at state expense. States are looking for new, sustainable revenue streams to support their highways, especially the Interstate highways. A growing number of states are exploring (or revisiting) the benefits of tolling as part of the options for renovating and upgrading their roadways.

Tolls are voluntary user fees. Drivers can choose to pay tolls or take alternative routes, whereas taxes are mandatory and charged to everyone. Yes, customers of toll facilities also pay taxes, but the taxes are used to fund non-toll roads. Since toll roads are primarily self-financed and do not rely on taxes, the customer is not paying twice for the facility. In fact, without tolls, taxes would be higher.

Do Toll roads discriminate;

Tolls are a fair and precise way to pay for transportation facilities because there is a clear and direct link between use of the facility and payment for that use.

A toll is a user fee, not a tax. If you don’t use the facility, you don’t pay for it. You only pay a toll when you choose to drive on a toll road for a higher level of convenience, reliability or safety.

Many surveys have shown that drivers of all income levels use tolled facilities and support having the option to use high-quality toll roads. A well-designed pricing plan can be less burdensome to low-income citizens than systems that are based on regressive taxes, such as car registration fees, sales taxes and the gasoline tax.

Do Toll roads alleviate traffic congestion;

Tolls provide money today for projects that can be built in the near future and meet demand for decades to come.

Tolls provide a dedicated and predictable revenue stream that allows toll operators to program capacity improvements as they are needed.

Today, most toll roads, bridges, and tunnels collect tolls electronically, which eliminates the need to stop and pay tolls at a traditional toll plaza.

Toll roads are generally safer than non-tolled roads due to better maintenance, pavement, and technology.  Toll operators employ state-of-the-art technology to monitor road conditions and have a financial incentive to keep their roads running as safely and smoothly as possible.

Toll roads tend to be less congested than tax-funded roads, where unrestricted access often leads to congestion. Toll roads also lead to time savings and congestion relief on nearby roadways by increasing the total road capacity available. Moreover, most toll operators are eliminating toll plazas and expanding their high-speed, automated tolling options. Most new facilities are being built as cashless systems, with no stopping or slowing down to pay a toll.

Do Toll roads cost $1.9 million more per mile to build;

Capital costs for the Triangle Expressway included:

·         Roadside Toll Collection System (RTCS) – $11.98M

·         Electronic Toll Collection System (ETCS) – $2.77M

·         Initial Transponder Purchase – $3.59M

·         Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) – $6.05M

·         Back Office System (BOS) – $3.57M

·         Consultants – $7.61M

Including only the RTCS, ETCS,and 60% of the Consultant Labor ($19.32M) which accounts for roadside toll equipment costs specific to the Triangle Expressway (18.8 miles), the roadside toll technology cost is $1.03M/Mile.  These project costs were included in the overall project cost and plan of finance.

 As of March 31, 2014, the Triangle Expressway has delivered $24,180,503.56 in actual revenue.  This is 22% above projections, project to date

It’s ironic that Stam mentions the Triangle Expressway.  ABC 11 ran a piece talking about how the Expressway is lightly used and not even coming close to paying for itself.  

STOP foreign owned toll roads in NC!

Stop I77 HOT lanes 50 year contract

Sen. Tom Apodaca, Chair

Sen. Chad Barefoot, Sen. Dan Blue, Sen. Andrew C. Brock, Sen. Harry Brown, Sen. Ben Clark, Sen. Kathy Harrington, Sen. Ralph Hise, Sen. Jeff Jackson, Sen. Brent Jackson, Sen. Clark Jenkins, Sen. Wesley Meredith, Sen. E. S. (Buck) Newton, Sen. Bill Rabon, Sen. Josh Stein, Sen. Trudy Wade

Boehner Rules Out Using Congressional Powers To Arrest Lois Lerner For Contempt



Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner refused to consider using the House’s constitutional authority to arrest disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner for being in contempt of Congress, noting it’s never been used before and should be left to Attorney General Eric Holder.

On Sunday, Boehner spoke with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo about next steps in the investigation into the alleged targeting of conservative nonprofit groups by the IRS. As head of the tax revenue service’s nonprofit division at the time, Lerner has repeatedly refused to testify before lawmakers — leading to last Wednesday’s vote holding her in contempt of Congress.

“The contempt charge has gone to the attorney general,” Boehner explained, “and it’s up to the attorney general, Eric Holder, to prosecute this, and to assign someone to prosecute the case. Now, will he do it? We don’t know. But the ball is in his court.”

But Bartiromo noted that the House has its own powers to arrest those found in contempt of Congress.

“There’s a provision in the Constitution that has never been used,” Boehner admitted. “And uh, and so — that’s uh — I’m not quite sure that we want to go down that path . . . It’s never been used.”

The Speaker couldn’t explain why the provision has laid dormant — “I’m not the historian here” — but said he’s “not sure that it’s an appropriate way to go about this.”

“It’s up to Eric Holder to do his job,” Boehner asserted.

Thom Tillis is in violation of the 2013 NC GOP Platform

Thom Hagan

The 2013 NC GOP platform under Article 2 [The Economy] section 8 reads, “We oppose any plans for, or legislation in favor of, High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes”. This statement was added to the platform from the floor of the convention on Saturday June 8. The following day at the Executive Meeting a resolution was being debated to further oppose High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes. Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis chose to speak to oppose this resolution.

Tillis said in part, “But the net effect of this resolution to send a message to the Governor that you want to kill one of his three major initiatives that have come out this year. It’s not like he’s going to put HOT lanes all over the place. We’ve got a resol, we’ve already passed a bill that will not allow tolls to be put on existing roads. In other words the lanes that are already there that have already been paid for by taxpayer dollars and gas taxes cannot be tolled. It’s against the law. I also supported that bill I believe it’s House Bill 267. They cannot be tolled.

This is about trying to find a way to collect revenue that we don’t have. That the house and the Senate cut the gas tax. You wanted it cut, we cut it. The effect of that is hundreds of millions of dollars over time that we’ve got to make up somehow. As we move forward, as the state grows, as we add another million people over the next ten years, we’ve got to find a way to have infrastructure that allows businesses and industry and everybody else to grow. Without that this state will not grow. Moot only. (11:09)The HOT lanes, the proposal in the Governor’s budget is to consider corridors where they believe the economics are right to enter into private public partnerships to build roads. ”

Note that Tillis endorsed HOT lanes as a private public partnership – this is crony capitalism and a facet of how Agenda 21 is being implemented.

Thom Tillis should have been censured by the NC GOP for openly being in violation of the party platform. Instead he became the Republican candidate for the US Senate.

Tillis supported HOT lanes by revealing that Gov. Pat McCrory is also in favor of them. Pat McCrory should also be censured by the NC GOP for openly violating the party platform.

Rand Paul’s position on Obamacare is revealing

On April 27th I received an email from Rand Paul himself via rand.paul@randpacusa.com. It’s in the format that he and his father use to solicit funds non stop – it’s a fund raising email disguised as a petition. In this case I was asked to sign a petition to “Repeal Obamacare”. This petition may be found here


The same site has a different page begging for donations to “Help Rand Paul Repeal Obamacare” here

This page even includes a free video from Rand speaking at the GOP convention in August 2012.  In his address Rand emphatically asserted that ALL of Obamacare  is unconstitutional.

However the narrative of Rand’s opposition to the PPACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, has dramatically changed. Rand is not even regurgitating the RNC talking point on Obamacare, which I think was first uttered by Willard “Mitt” Romney, i.e., Obamacare needs to repealed and replaced. Now Rand is conceding defeat – he does not expect Obamacare to be repealed.

Hot Air reports the Hill’s account of what Rand said at Harvard on Friday April 25:
“I think it’s going to be difficult to turn the clock back. People get assumed and accustomed to receiving things, particularly things that they get for free,” he told a crowd of students at Harvard’s Institute of Politics on Friday…
“I think one of the practical things you might be able to do, and I think the public at large might accept this, is to make ObamaCare voluntary. You make it voluntary, basically you get rid of the coercion,” he said, presumably by eliminating the penalty those without insurance are required to pay, known as the individual mandate.
He said he may keep some parts of the law, like the subsidies to help poor Americans afford insurance, or the Medicaid expansion — two of ObamaCare’s more popular provisions but potentially its more expensive.
“Does that get rid of the subsidies? Not necessarily, or the Medicaid. But I think also we’re going to find out we can’t afford to have everybody on Medicaid, we can’t afford to have everybody on subsidized insurance,” Paul said.

Back in September Fox News reported Rand stating,
“I’m acknowledging we can’t probably defeat or get rid of Obamacare,” he said. “But by starting with our position of not funding it, maybe we get to a position where we make it less bad.”
Some Senate Republicans, including would-be 2016 presidential rivals Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, have said they would vote to refuse to pay for the health care law, even if it meant shutting down portions of the government. Paul has called closing down the government “a dumb idea.”

The very best that can honestly be said about Rand at this point is that he’s just another politician. Rand is not only contradicting himself regarding the repeal of Obamacare – he has the audacity to lie as a fund raising tactic to repeal that which he said in 2013 and last month in April will not be repealed.



Have Republicans finally surrendered on ObamaCare?

Paul:  ‘Difficult to turn the clock back’ on O-Care


Treasonous agenda of the Council on Foreign Relations

First published: 06/17/2005 at 1:00 AM

by Devvy Kidd


“In Defense of the World Order … U.S. Soldiers would have to kill and die”– Aurthur Schlesinger Jr., July / August ’95 Foreign Affairs, CFR’s flagship publication
Lou Dobbs’ show on June 9, 2005, was an eye popper and even Lou couldn’t contain his shock:
Lou Dobbs, CNN Anchor: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, an astonishing proposal to expand our borders to incorporate Mexico and Canada and simultaneously further diminish U.S. sovereignty. Have our political elites gone mad? We’ll have a special report. Blood … Now, incredibly, a panel sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations wants the United States to focus not on the defense of our own borders, but rather create what effectively would be a common border that includes Mexico and Canada.”

Christine Romans, CNN Correspondent (voice-over): On Capitol Hill, testimony calling for Americans to start thinking like citizens of North America and treat the U.S., Mexico and Canada like one big country.
For constitutionalists like myself, this is treason talk and Lou Dobbs should be thanked by the American people for exposing this evil plan. The fact that it is even being discussed in the U.S. Congress is putrid. The Council on Foreign Relations is an organization whose mission is to redefine American policy and slide this republic into a one-world government – a nightmare beyond what most Americans can’t even imagine. Rear Adm. Chester Ward was a member of the CFR for 16 years and later warned the American people as to the true intentions of this treasonous operation:

The most powerful clique in these elitist groups have one objective in common – they want to bring about the surrender of the sovereignty of the national independence of the United States. A second clique of international members in the CFR comprises the Wall Street international bankers and their key agents. Primarily, they want the world-banking monopoly from whatever power ends up in the control of global government.

Former Congressman John R. Rarick warned:
The CFR, dedicated to one-world government, financed by a number of the largest tax-exempt foundations, and wielding such power and influence over our lives in the areas of finance, business, labor, military, education and mass communication media, should be familiar to every American concerned with good government and with preserving and defending the U.S. Constitution and our free-enterprise system. Yet, the nation’s right to know machinery – the news media – usually so aggressive in exposures to inform our people, remain conspicuously silent when it comes to the CFR, its members and their activities.

The CFR is the establishment. Not only does it have influence and power in key decision-making positions at the highest levels of government to apply pressure from above, but it also finances and uses individuals and groups to bring pressure from below, to justify the high-level decisions for converting the United States from a sovereign constitutional republic into a servile member of a one-world dictatorship.

Who are some of the past and present members of this anti-American operation? Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Porter Goss, Alan Greenspan, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, Gen. Richard B. Myers, Henry Hyde, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., Sandra Day O’Connor, George Soros, Christopher Dodd, Diane Feinstein, Gerald Ford, Bill Frist, Newt Gingrich, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Katherine Harris, Teresa Heinz, Antonia Hernandez – President of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Gen. John P. Jumper – current Air Force chief of staff, Joseph Lieberman, John McCain, Rupert Murdock, David Rockefeller, Diane Sawyer and Tony Snow.

Popular “conservative” radio talk-show hosts attack anyone who dares to suggest the provable agenda of organizations like the CFR or United Nations. Better to attack the messenger than the message. Most popular mouthpieces on radio or television today have never spent one minute doing the research I have over the past 15 years. Perhaps Dan Smoot, a former member of the FBI Headquarters staff in Washington, D.C., who specialized in this field was nothing more than a kook when he warned, “The ultimate aim of the CFR is to create a one-world socialist system and make the U.S. an official part of it.” Before any American decides to poo-poo the CFR and their diabolical agenda, they might wish to read some of the writings by Barry Goldwater on this issue.

Our beloved republic is being wrested away from we the people by sitting presidents and Congresses since 1913. It is being done right out in the open, and yet, the American people don’t seem to be taking their freedom or liberty seriously because they continue to vote back the same scoundrels, crooks, communists, socialists and sellouts into office. America is under attack by forces who wish to destroy this republic, our way of life, our independence, our lives, liberty and freedoms.

Before you can fight an enemy, you must know who your enemy is and the game-plan. If you play the game, the game will play you. I encourage every American to do the hard research and in November 2006 – clean out Congress, our state legislatures and any other elected office where the current incumbent is violating their oath of office and betraying our republic.