"Senators and representatives...unlike Perry, won't be able to outrun this."
By STEVE SNYDER, Editor
The Navasota Examiner
Sorry I wasn't at the Trans Texas Corridor rally in Austin, or the hearing before that.
In Dallas, of course, we had the main line of the TTC proposed to go through there. And, that tied in with my previous newspaper group.
Gov. Rick Perry was in south suburban Dallas two weeks before Election Day last fall. Now, southside suburbanites had been wanting at least some sort of beltway, if not a full-blown freeway, for a decade or more, to match the Bush Turnpike on the north side, or at least approach it.
Perry said he had no problem speeding up a 20-25 year construction timetable to just a couple of short years ... if local leadership would sign on the bottom line to make this Loop 9 a part of the TTC. And, they did.
That gave Perry the cover of getting people in the Metroplex on his side. Well, he didn't get State Sen. John Carona on his side, obviously. And, he got less than 40 percent of overall voters to buy into his view.
I can't see how Perry can ram this through... either the I-35 or the I-69 proposal in this part of the state. Senators and representatives won't get lucky enough to be involved in four-way election contests, unlike Perry, and won't be able to outrun this.
Besides the problems with turning something that big over to a private company - even Texans have limits on privatization, if nothing else - it's just not needed.
First, using bonds rather than pay-as-you-go funding, we can address long-term highway needs in the state that way.
Second, on major interstates such as I-35, if we'd do things like enforce the "left lane for passing only" rule (I think anybody in the left lane driving under the speed limit should get an automatic ticket, myself), getting people off their cell phones while driving on a busy freeway (pet peeve), and so forth, we could do something to help traffic flow that way.
Third, if shipping from Mexico, whether it's in Mexican or American trucks, is really going to continue to grow that much, then maybe they need to pay a few more road tax dollars for highway growth. And, why should we have a TTC with rail automatically thrown in? Texas - and other states - haven't built freebie lines in the past.
Fourth, it sounded like residents will support a reasonable increase in gas taxes as part of the deal.
Anyway, I think there's a lot of things the state can do "around the edges" to improve transportation without building a monster like TTC. And, obviously, a lot of people agree.
Besides, Perry and Rick Williamson's Texas Department of Transportation have already spent $30 million on legal fees related to this. That's at a rate of more than $500 per hour. Heck, Perry and Williamson could already have been building some highways with that much money.
Contact Steve Snyder at email@example.com.
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