I won't debate whether Houston want's visitors or not, don't have any idea what their attitude is with respect to that.
However, their tollways have nothing to do with visitors. The tollways in Houston circle the city and are mainly built for locals trying to get from one part of the city to another. None of the Interstate highways have tolls on them.
IH10 through Houston is 8 or more lanes all the way through, 10 lanes for much of it. The other Interstates are multiple lanes and they are constantly enlarging and improving them so that people passing through have as good an experience as possible.
The secret to passing through Houston while traveling is the same as passing through any major city, don't try it during rush hours. There are five million people in the Houston area, all trying to get somewhere at the same time. Time your travel to be on those roads after most of them have gotten there.
IH610 is a loop built in the 1970's to circle the city at that time. It is used by locals for local traffic. It is not a loop in the common meaning of the word. Most people think of loops as a way to avoid a city. IH10 is a far better choice for passing through the city.
While the Houston traffic can certainly be challenging at times, I much prefer passing through Houston to much smaller cities like Fort Worth, Austin, and Baton Rouge.