Thursday, August 9, 2007

Critique on 'Raising Your Voice' from "The American Dream"

Hello. I agree that if all young voters were to vote, we would be able to make a great impact on the election turnout. However, we all know that most people our age aren’t interested in voting simple because politic isn’t one of our priority at the moment. Most college students do think that politic are boring and the idea we get that politicians are all corrupted comes from the movies we watch. Most movies these days portray government officials as the bad guys so this gives young people the impressions that they could not be trusted. The right to vote is a choice and willingness to vote requires personal motivation. Most college students don’t vote because they lack the motivation and having the belief that by not voting, it wouldn’t affect them. This is one of the major misconceptions because voting does affect every single one of us, maybe not directly but it would affect us in some way. I believe that until all young voters are aware that each vote would make a difference and we all feel the need to participate in making an impact in our own lives, the percentage of young votes turn out would still be low.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Toll or tax?

Have you ever been told that toll roads are needed in Texas? In my opinion, they are not. Toll roads are designed to profits TxDOT, while putting an immense taxation on hard-working Texans. Governor Perry had asked the Texas Department of Transportation to develop new ways to finance the roadways. This is the first step to call for pro-toll legislation which allows more power for TxDOT. The information on toll way being the only solution to creating and improving Texas roadways is misleading.

Many of the toll roads use pre-existing roads such as Highway 290, 71, and 183. These roads have always been free and should remain as free roads. Majority of Texas residents have the misconception that TxDOT is operating with their interests at heart, but that is not the case. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars goes to the agency but yet we don’t know where it all went. There are still many roads that have never been improved. In addition to that, TxDOT keep requesting more and more money.

Officials had promised citizens that there will be no new taxes, but if toll fees not taxes then what is. And yet, government officials are pushing for more toll ways. According to the 2004 plan, any existing roads set to become toll roads would have free frontage roads built alongside. This not only won’t improve the condition of traffic, it would produce extra congestion. If the pre-existing freeways are turned into toll ways, it would be the same as demanding drivers to pay a toll on roads that were built before by their tax dollars.

Therefore, I believe that Texas citizens should stand up against any more pro-toll proposals. We shouldn’t have to pay toll on something we have built with our tax dollars before. And last of all, we have every right to know where our tax dollars go and who really benefits from it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Driving solo? Don't rule out HOV lanes

The Metropolitan Transit Authority is proposing to convert its High Occupancy Vehicle lanes in Houston to High Occupancy-Toll lanes, where buses and carpools ride for free alongside toll-paying solo drivers. This means that single-occupant cars would be allow to use HOV lanes if they pay a toll. The whole point of HOV lanes are to encourage people to carpool, take the bus, conserve resources and to ease congestion on regular toll way. In theory, an HOV lane moves more people per lane at a higher speed while moving fewer vehicles. I believe the Texas Department of Transportation would be making a big mistake if they do decide to approve this proposal. Many people would be outraged with just the idea of having more cars on the road let alone allowing single-occupant cars on these HOV lanes. According to Carlos Lopez, TxDOT director of traffic operations, the proposal does not appear to be based on revenue expectations. However, many people would see it that is all about money. Since we are all in a financial crisis when it comes to transportations because of the increasing gas price and on top of that, toll rate. To single-occupant drivers, it might seem like a good idea for them to be able to get to where they want quicker with the HOV lanes, but they need to see the bigger picture. It will lead of congestion and other commuters who uses carpool or buses everyday would have to suffer along. Everyone wants to keep focusing on what's beneficial to them, and no one seems to care how much other people are going to have to pay.

For the complete article: Driving solo? Don't rule out HOV lanes

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Transportation Taking Its Toll on Texas Drivers

Which way do you take to get to and from work or school? Do you take the highways? Or the toll ways? Since the toll ways have been opened, thousands and thousands of people travel down those paths each day to avoid traffic and traffic lights. Many of those drivers have already own a TxTag, which pay their tolls electronically – without having to slow down or stop at a toll booth. Devices above the toll lanes read an electronic signal from the tag, and toll charges are automatically deducted from a prepaid toll account. This method saves drivers time and eliminates the hassle of searching for change and the wait time at toll booths. A good number of drivers still resort to the old-fashioned way of stopping at toll booths and paying by quarters. However, many drivers who use the TxTag lanes without having a TxTag are unaware of the fact that they will be billed for their toll way violations. In my opinion, the public should be made more aware about toll ways rules and violations. I believe that these toll ways are made not only to help drivers save time, but they are also made to put a toll on the drivers' pockets.

For the complete article: Tollway design generating rash of violations