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Highway Expansion

Is the Lord For or Against a Texas County Road Bond? Opinions Mixed

Things are really getting heated in Montgomery County, Texas, just outside Houston, over a proposal to issue $350 million in bonds to maintain and expand roads. Like fire-and-brimstone heated.

Earlier this week, at a county commissioners meeting, volunteer Mary Hammer Menzel referred to road bond opponents as "tools of satan" in her opening prayer, reports the Montgomery County Courier.

Menzel apparently has strong opinions about which side of the debate God is on. At the previous meeting, she also led the opening prayer, saying, "Father, I want to lift up this road bond to you and just ask you to help the people realize this county has got to have ways to get around," according to the Montgomery County Police Reporter. Menzel appears in a television ad supporting the road bond, saying, “I am for the road bond and the Lord is too.”

Laura Fillault, a road bond opponent, did not take kindly to this week's prayer. "I'm not a tool of satan," she said. "I didn't appreciate that part of the prayer... It's a road bond it's not a satanic ritual."

Those who intervened didn't do much to bring the conversation back down to earth. County District Attorney Brett Ligon was next to the podium, to discuss National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Ligon indicated he's for the road bond despite what Jesus would do. "Jesus's main mode of transportation was walking," he said. "I don't think any of us want to walk anymore, we do need to move forward."

Can we take this as a sign of how disconnected from reality the Texas road-building situation has gotten? The state continues to expand roads as though it can afford to have everyone drive everywhere.

The Texas Transportation Commission wants to devote $315 billion to roads over the next 20 years, though it only has about $160 billion to spend. Last year, voters elected to raid the state's rainy day fund to spend it on highways.

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