Saturday, February 24, 2007

House Bill 1881 would will repeal the Trans-Texas Corridor from the transportation code

Kolkhorst bill would halt highway proposal

February 24, 2007

The Huntsville Item
Copyright 2007

AUSTIN — Two bills have been filed by state Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst of Brenham which would terminate the state’s controversial Trans-Texas Corridor highway proposal.

If passed, House Bill 1881 will repeal the Trans-Texas Corridor from the transportation code, effectively killing the proposal by removing the enabling legislation which would have served as the foundation for any future corridor project.

“I’ve been fighting against the Trans-Texas Corridor for several years, and it’s not because I want to stop progress,” Kolkhorst said. “We need to look at new ways to fund roads, but this isn’t it.

“Some toll systems work, such as Harris County, but many do not. Plenty of people share my concerns about these private toll roads and how they’ll threaten communities, violate our property rights, and create an unregulated transportation monopoly. My bill allows Texas to scrap the Trans-Texas Corridor plan and start over.”

Kolkhorst said she has received literally hundreds of calls, comments, letters and e-mails against the Trans-Texas Corridor over the past few years.

She also has worked with the anti-corridor group and received an A-rating from group.

Additionally, Kolkhorst filed House Bill 1880, which prohibits any public pension fund from investing in a private toll road project, such as the Trans-Texas Corridor.

The bill cuts off billions of dollars of funding that private toll road vendors, both foreign and domestic, would attempt to use in order to raise equity.

“No public money from a public pension fund should be used for a private toll road," Kolkhorst said. “It’s risky to invest our retiree pension funds into an unproven investment, especially with a foreign company. Texas doesn’t need a middle-man to build a road.

“Private companies should not leverage taxpayer dollars and then turn around and ask taxpayers and the public to give up oversight of a toll road project.”

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