Perry's freeway tolling authority Withholding Public Information.
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Perry's freeway tolling authority Withholding Public Information.

the Muckraker | August 29, 2005

One of Gov. Rick Perry's many new freeway tolling bureaucracies (Central Texas RMA) has produced and administered a very biased push poll - using our tax dollars. Several citizens over the last weeks emailed me about this 40 - 45 minute phone "poll":

Sal, On Thursday evening about 8:pm I got a call from a woman in New York City doing a survey which turned out to be about toll roads. During a 45 min period, - she asked close to 90 to 100 questions or more, about my opinions about toll roads, toll tags, pricing, and my awareness of and if I thought many of my friends and neighbors knew what the CTRMA was and how it functioned. She then asked why I didn't like the CTRMA. She ask my age, education level, and income, among other personal questions about driving to work, etc.

One of the main themes of what I did notice about the questions were that they seemed to TRY to lead the person being questioned to "logical conclusions"---ie.----"So therefore, you don't think that if people had to pay tolls to drive, it would keep more people off the roads because many would not be able to pay the tolls, and therefore Tolls would reduce much of the traffic congestion." Or another question, "Then how do you think the roads would be able to be paid for, if not through the income generated by Tolls." and the next question to follow would be something like, "How do you think they would be able to maintain the roads if not through the generation of money from Tolls?" ...And then the next question to follow would be, "Don't you think that tolling would be the cheapest way of generating income to pay for the roads?"
The poll is an obvious fishing expedition to find out how best to market the public highway tolls to taxpayers. They'd like to teach the masses that the RMA is the best thing since white bread. I have confirmed Wilson Research Strategies conducted the poll.

On 8/14 I sent a request for public information to the CTRMA Executive director Mike Heiligenstein:
mstein@ctrma.org, bcassidy@lockeliddell.com
CTRMA, With the rights granted to me under the Freedom of Information Act, I request to come to your office to look over the following:

Any and all CTRMA correspondence, including but not limited to, letters, facsimile transmissions, contracts, draft scripts, final scripts and e-mail messages between individuals, organizations or companies, that discuss any CTRMA survey, questionnaires, public relations or phone polls between the dates August 15, 2004 and August 14. 2005.

Thank You, Sal Costello
And, now Perry's RMA is dragging feet and hiding the ball: I received a letter from CTRMA saying they will not produce materials within the 10 days of the request, as provided by the law, but instead 4 weeks. They are also looking to WITHHOLD some of the docs. The letter the RMA sent to the AG's office asks to:
"withhold other responsive materials pending review by your (AG) office as to whether such materials are subject to exception to disclosure".
So much for open records. If you would like to see the 4 page CTRMA response letters - email me at Sal@TexasTollParty.com

 


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