After Montgomery County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 in favor building a new toll, Commissioner James Noack, one of the dissenters, decided to take his case to the state, sending letters to Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Transportation asking them to prohibit tolling on the SH 249 extension.
Noack noted that Abbott campaigned strongly against new toll roads while running for governor in 2014, and asked him in the letter to follow through with his campaign promises:
“I’ve asked the Governor to do everything in his power to keep [SH] 249, in Montgomery County, from being tolled,” Noack said. “During his campaign trail, Governor Abbott has stated he will fix Texas roadways without debt or taxes, I’ve asked him to make good on his pledge.”
The proposed new toll road will extend SH 249 through Montgomery and Grimes Counties. It is supported by political insiders, but is extremely unpopular with local residents in both counties. Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal’s push to put the county $73 million in debt to build 3.6 miles of the road when TxDOT has already said they will pay for the whole road has been particularly controversial.
In addition to the letter to Abbott, Noack sent a similar letter to the TxDOT Commission. Noack does not have an issue with TxDOT building the road, but requests that TxDOT not toll it, and does not want Montgomery County taxpayers to pay for it.
In both letters, Noack cited the Republican Party of Texas’ strong opposition of government funded toll projects, and called for Republican officials to abide by the platform. Three of his fellow commissioners, all “Republicans” support the toll in defiance to the platform.
“I am urging the taxpayers to ensure their voices are heard,” Noack said. “As residents of Montgomery County we must lead, not follow. The taxpayers must insist that TxDOT build, fund and maintain Texas 249, without a toll.”