Sunday, April 15, 2007

CorridorWatch: "It's not over yet..."


Once Again It Is Time To Take Action!

The battle moves to the Senate and the new bill, HB 1892.

April 15, 2007
Copyright 2007

It seems like a very long road, but we are getting there and we need to keep marching and pulling together. There are only a few weeks left in the session.

The future of this effort again rests in the Senate, first the Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, and then the full Senate.

The opposition is counting on us losing interest and tiring of the fight. They are counting on us to tire and expend less effort every week of the session. We simply cannot do that. We need to increase our effort every week.

If your Senator is listed below please call their office and ask that they quickly send HB1892 to the floor with the strongest 2-year moratorium on private toll road deals possible.

If you don't know who your Senator is you can use Who Represents Me? to find out [CLICK HERE].

Senator Brimer

Senator Ellis

Senator Shapiro

Senator Shapleigh

Senator Wentworth

If your Senator is not listed above please call Chairman Carona's office and ask that he quickly send HB1892 to the floor with the strongest 2-year moratorium on private toll road deals possible.

Senator Carona

Your investment of less than one minute today can affect all Texas for the next 50 years.

It's Not Over Yet, But We Are Making Some Serious Progress.

The Texas House Took a Very Strong Stand.

We applaud the 137 members of the House of Representatives who passed HB 1892 and by doing so voted to step back and allow time for reconsideration before rushing into 50 year CDA agreements. We also applaud the 24 State Senators who signed on to Robert Nichols SB 1267 initiating the moratorium in the Senate. advocates the passage of HB 1892 and the 2-year moratorium.

After consideration of all the possible outcomes, we now advocate for prompt action on HB 1892 in the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, and equally prompt passage on the Senate floor sending the bill back to the House.

In our opinion this is the best avenue available to stop the progress of the Trans Texas Corridor.

Although HB 1892 carries with it additional legislative baggage, it also holds the most promise for tapping the brakes, and taking a pause to review the long term impact of CDAs, PPPs and the granddaddy of them all, the TTC, before a runaway transportation department agrees to give away millions in profits to private partners.

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, speaking for her moratorium language on the House floor, quoted advice she had received from a colleague, "you don't sell a producing well."

Rep. Wayne Smith's HB 1892, was a bill designed to give first right of refusal to counties and toll authorities to undertake toll projects themselves rather than having that project driven by TxDOT. It was intended to prevent unwelcome intrusion of TxDOT into counties with successful, profitable toll facilities, such as in Harris County. The Harris County Toll Road Authority reportedly enjoys $50 million dollars in annual net profits, which are reinvested into transportation projects benefiting Harris and surrounding counties. If those same projects were operated by a TxDOT private partner, vast amounts of profit would be siphoned off by the private partner for 50 or more years.

Only the Texas taxpayer pays for Texas roads. There is no free money and there are no free roads. We pay through gas tax, federal tax, state tax and in some cases toll fees. The question is: do we want to add an additional layer of private corporate profit to the cost of our roads.

© 2007

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