A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“The shortest distance between two points is always under construction” (6/27)
Money Taking Agency (Metropolitan Transportation Authority or MTA nickname) (6/27)
“If I had a dollar for every existential crisis I’ve ever had…does money even matter?” (6/27)
“Keep your cymbal jokes to yourself. We’ve heard them all a Zildjian times” (6/27)
Better Quickly Exit (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway or BQE nickname) (6/27)
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Entry from April 14, 2009
Texas Road Fairy

The Texas “road fairy” can build new roads in the state without raising taxes or charging tolls. The “road fairy” is a fiction, of course.

There is one citation of “road fairy” from 1986, but the term appears to have been commonly used at TxDOT (the Texas Department of Transportation) since 2004.


23 September 1986, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “(Democratic Governor Mark) White Nets $750,000 at Dallas Gala”:
“The road fairy doesn’t build roads.”

Austin (TX) Chronicle (July 9, 2004)
Toll Road Plan Remains in Fast Lane
But Gerald Daugherty (of all people) wants to slow road-building down

BY KIMBERLY REEVES
(...)
And after years of trying to convince citizens that there is no Road Fairy that can build highways without taxes or tolls, state transportation leaders say Austin has run out of options.

Google Groups: austin.politics
Newsgroups: austin.politics, austin.general
From: Keath Milligan
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004 13:14:54 -0500
Local: Fri, Jul 16 2004 1:14 pm
Subject: Re: Toll Road BACKLASH - Recall Petition Drive Gains Momemtum

You are absolutely right, there is no free lunch. And as Bob Daigh and other toll proponents like to say, there is no “road fairy” either. Austin’s bobbleheads have bungled transportation issues for decades and this is more of the same. 

Kilgore (TX) News Herald (November 9, 2005)
TxDOT commissioner says I-69 is dead
WESLACO, Texas (AP) Texas must find money to pay for an interstate highway linking the Rio Grande Valley to commercial centers in Mexico and Canada and other road projects without relying on federal funds, state officials say.

Neither the federal government nor Texas have the amount needed to complete Interstate 69, a 1,600-mile highway connecting the three North American Free Trade Agreement countries, Texas Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton told South Texas officials and business leaders on Tuesday.

“I-69 is dead in the state of Texas,” Houghton said. “The road fairy has been shot.”

Amarillo (TX) Globe News
Web-posted Friday, July 21, 2006
Amarillo ‘Road Fairy’ is dead
Projects will cost millions more than available

Karen Smith Welch

The estimated $844 million in improvements to Amarillo highways and Loop 335 that will be needed by 2030 will cost $581.7 million more than is available to fund them, according to a report approved Thursday.

“The Road Fairy is dead,” Harold McDaniel told members of the Amarillo Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Committee, a planning group composed of officials from the city of Amarillo, Potter and Randall counties and the Texas Department of Transportation.

The Road Fairy phrase has become common vernacular among state transportation officials because federal and state funding for transportation projects - traditionally generated by gasoline taxes - has not increased in more than a decade, said McDaniel, the Amarillo MPO director.

San Antonio (TX) Express-News
Web Posted: 11/19/2007 2:00 CST
Texas road plans now in fast lane
AUSTIN — South Texans tired of waiting for new lanes to ease traffic congestion now are on the road to relief.
(...)
Backers have said traditional funding sources can’t meet the needs. The state has encouraged local approval of tollways with the prospect of state funding.

Williamson said officials are “not waiting for the federal road fairy to show up” and are “not waiting for the miraculous change in the state’s philosophy” necessary to increase the gas tax.

Texas Monthly - BurkaBlog
Thursday, March 5, 2009
TxDOT under fire
posted by paulburka at 3:38 PM
(...)
COMMENTS
March 5th, 2009 at 4:40 pm
Anonymous says:
Ok, Jeff, since you had some big macho comments, what’s your idea to build the billions and billions and billions in infrastructure this state needs, if you take toll roads off the table. Wait for the road fairy to come? When you attack toll roads, you think you’re attacking the Governor, when in fact you’re attacking dozens and dozens of local officials — both D and R — who rely on and advance toll roads in our urban and metro areas to relieve congestion and improve air quality. So, you know what I consider “arrogant” and “stupid?” Attacking a solution without offering a better alternative.

Austin (TX) American-Statesman
BEN WEAR: GETTING THERE
Lege is missing a road fairy
With lawmakers wary of both tolls and taxes but wanting roads, magic might be the only option.

Monday, April 13, 2009
The Texas Road Fairy surfaced again last week.

Well, not the actual fairy himself (or herself). Rather, what popped up were more mentions of the apparently timid creature. The fairy, to my knowledge, has never been spotted in the flesh, or whatever it is that covers fairies.

In fact, the salient characteristic of the road fairy seems to be doubt about its existence. As in, “There’s no road fairy, so we have to build toll roads.” Or, for those on the other side of the debate, “Unless you believe there’s a road fairy somewhere out there, we need to increase the gas tax.” Or for the truly confident and ecumenical: “There’s no road fairy to save us. We need to build tollways and raise gas taxes.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, April 14, 2009 • Permalink