SafeClear morphing back into $afeClear

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One of Bill White’s crowning achievements as mayor, the SafeClear program, is in the news again, and it looks as if it will be heading back in its original direction: making money!

The city’s 6-year-old free towing service on local freeways will start costing motorists $50 per car under a plan expected to come before City Council soon.

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“We can no longer afford to pay for this program,” said Councilwoman Sue Lovell, who chairs council’s transportation committee and helped work out the new arrangement with city-contracted towing companies.

Then can the program. Citizens can’t afford it either. Remember the real intent of the revenue generating program when it was concocted? Repair referral$ on the west-side, and revenue from selling impounded cars on the east-side. And remember what happened when it was enacted?

Woman dies trying to stop towing of her car

Eyewitnesses say a driver lost her life Monday night because she didn’t want to have to pay for a Safe Clear tow off the East Freeway.

Panic is what happened.

Here’s Councilmember Sue Lovell: “We don’t want your cousin coming. We don’t want someone who’s not trained coming,” Lovell said.

Councilmember Lovell has the means to ensure that she can pay the $50 break-down tax which means her car wouldn’t end up in an impound lot racking up fees before being auctioned off.

Here’s Councilmember Melissa Noriega: “It was free originally we were making people do this, and we can’t do it anymore. But we have a tow that’s far below market value,” said City Council Member Melissa Noriega.

No, it was not free originally. It cost citizens $75 when former Mayor Bill White and Houston Bicyclist Bob Stein rolled it out.

And remember what proponents of the original revenue-generating program said in defense of it when began: If you don’t have a perfectly functioning car that never breaks down, then you should not be driving on the freeways, because you are inconveniencing more well-off folks. Stick to the feeder roads.


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About Anne Linehan 2323 Articles
Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.