Friday, April 27, 2007

CorridorWatch: "To veto this bill would be the grandest act of arrogance imaginable."


CDA Moratorium Bill (HB1892) has PASSED in the Full Senate 27 to 4

The next stop for HB1892 is the House.

April 27, 2007

Copyright 2007

HB1892 has been passed with the addition of more restrictions, tighter controls and oversight on Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDA); increased public access and notice; and, the creation of rural and corridor planning organizations.

CorridorWatch applauds the Senate's effort to provide Texas with greater protection from bad CDA deals, increased public disclosure, and more opportunities for public input in the process. These are the very issues that CorridorWatch co-founders David and Linda Stall testified on last Wednesday before the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee.

Krusee-FHWA hand grenade a dud.

CorridorWatch was first to report House Transportation Chairman Krusee had requested an opinion from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) specifically on HB1892. The resulting threat letter from FHWA through TxDOT appears to contain more pro private CDA rhetoric than legal substance.

CorridorWatch is offended by the overt attempt of a federal agency to exercise questionable influence over the state legislative process. It appears that it is their intent to dictate state policy.

Floor amendments adopted today fully resolve any potential issues, if they ever really existed. The grenade fizzled.

Representative Wayne Smith now controls the bill.

HB1892 is the much expanded offering of Representative Wayne Smith. Since it is his bill, he controls where the bill goes from here. If Rep. Smith objects to the bill as it has returned from the Senate, it will be sent to Conference Committee where it could be delayed or drastically altered. However, if Rep. Smith concurs with the bill as it presently reads, it will go to the House floor for a final vote. If passed by the full House on the floor, it would be sent to the Governor for signature, veto, or become law automatically if he takes no action.

The Texas Senate sends a very strong message to the Governor, Texas Transportation Commission, and the Texas Department of Transportation.

The collective voice of the Senate has said enough is enough. TxDOT is pushing too hard, pushing too far, and too fast. If the Transportation Commission won't rein in TxDOT it is becoming very clear that the Legislature will.

David Stall of CorridorWatch says, "this is the price the Commission and TxDOT will pay for creating a culture of arrogance and flaunting the will of the people and the legislature."

The House can join the Senate and amplify the message, making it louder and crystal clear.

We trust that Rep. Smith will concur and put the bill to a quick vote. Doing so will ensure that enough time remains to overcome a veto should the Governor take that action.

"To veto this bill would be the grandest act of arrogance imaginable. This is not an obscure or misunderstood piece of legislation. Tens of thousands of Texans know exactly what this bill is about and they want it passed. The Governor should take pause and respect the will of the people," said Stall

Another Call To Action.

CorridorWatch will encourage its members to contact their State Representatives to ensure continued strong support for HB1892. According to Stall, "There have been a lot changes to this bill and our Representatives need to know that the moratorium bill they sent to the Senate has returned with several new protections and deserves even more vigorous support."

Transportation Reformation Act (SB1929) Passes Senate Committee

Subjected to another handful of amendments, SB1929 was finally passed out of committee.

After having been left in committee overnight this bill was taken up by the Committee at the Chairman's desk on the floor Thursday. With several amendments that amount to not much more than minor corrections and adjustments SB1929 was passed. Senator Nichols cast the only no vote.

Now the bill will land in the House Transportation Committee where is will likely get the cold shoulder from Chairman Krusee.

Fortunately, those provisions of the bill that would most significantly address concerns and issues related to the Trans Texas Corridor have already been attached to HB1829 and will therefore bypass the House Transportation Committee.

© 2007

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