"Make sure the voice of the people is heard throughout the Capitol."
"Who’s in charge?" Showdown on Trans-Texas
March 01, 2007
Gina Parker Ford
Two big events are happening this week relative to the Trans-Texas Corridor.
At 1:30 p.m. Friday, Texans from all walks of life will be descending on the Capitol to tell our lawmakers the TTC is bad for Texas.
Some will come on horses, some on tractors and many more on motorcycles — all united together against wasteful spending, questionable tactics by Gov. Rick Perry and a virtual double-tax on our roadways through toll fares levied by a private business.
As David Stall, founder of Corridor Watch, notes, “It’s about revenue, not transportation.”
At the same time, thousands of acres of land will be condemned, taking valuable property away from Texas land owners.
There is hope, however, in the policial process.
One of the best political appointments this year occurred in the Texas Senate when Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst chose Dallas Sen. John Carona to lead on transportation issues.
Carona has never been one to shy away from his convictions. Dewhurst realized that the rising tide of concern in the public regarding toll roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor needed to be addressed.
Carona and Dewhurst are working to open the doors of state government and give the public a greater voice in how their transportation dollars will be spent and allocated.
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security, Carona will hold critical hearings today in Austin to review state policy regarding toll roads, the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor and public-private partnerships in the area of road and highway construction.
These are the first hearings in perhaps a decade that will review state transportation policy with a critical eye and allow the public to voice its concerns.
It also amounts to a showdown between Carona and Ric Williamson, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission.
Williamson recently snubbed Carona as the senator attempted simply to get an appointment to discuss transportation issues.
State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said he did not understand why the Senate Transportation chairman could not get a meeting with an agency head whose job relies on Senate confirmation.
“Who’s in charge here?” Patrick asked.
Today’s hearings may be the public’s best chance to have its concerns heard about the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Transportation policy in the Texas House is controlled by State Rep. Mike Krusee of Round Rock, an ardent supporter of toll roads.
Krusee appears to be no less strident in his zeal for the double taxation of our roadways, even though voters sent him a clear message opposing his policies last November when he won re-election with just 50.4 percent of the vote, defeating an underfunded Democrat by just 2,300 votes.
Four years earlier Krusee won re-election in the same district with more than 64 percent. That was before he began promoting toll roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Supporting Sen. Carona in today’s hearings is crucial if our state Legislature is to understand fully the importance of reforming state transportation policy to meet the needs of taxpayers rather than special interests.
Texans, they are your roads, your tax dollars, and your future.
Make sure the voice of the people is heard throughout the Capitol.
Fortunately, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Sen. Carona are giving the people a voice in this process.
Waco attorney and business owner Gina Parker Ford is active in the Republican Party of Texas.
© 2007 The Waco Tribune-Herald:
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