By Ben Philpott
Pflugerville residents were excited about the opening of the State Highway 45 toll road in 2006. The congestion-free highway and its connection to Highway 130 to the east would give them quicker access to a major road. City officials like Victor Gonzales, now the mayor pro tem, hoped the road would provide economic development and tax revenue along its exits. Then the Texas Department of Transportation, which was supervising the construction, came calling.
“They asked us to contribute $6 million to the opening of a ramp which was already there,” Gonzales said. “And all they had to do was just clear some areas and make it accessible to the exiting traffic.”
That’s a story that has become more and more common across the state, according to Bennett Sandlin, who heads the Texas Municipal League, a lobby group for municipalities of all sizes.