Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Political appointees run amok: Rep. Krusee calls on FHWA-TxDOT tag team to thwart the public and legislative will of Texas


New Threat to TTC Moratorium?

April 25, 2007
Copyright 2007

CorridorWatch is offended by what appears to be an effort by the Federal Highway Administration to Thwart the Public and Legislative Will of Texas.

Representative Krusee has invited the Federal Highway Administration to offer opinion on HB1892.

CorridorWatch has just learned that in response to a request for opinion asked for by Rep. Krusee the Federal Highway Administration / DOT will deliver two letters to TxDOT's Executive Director today or tomorrow.

The first of two letters is described as a notice that current actions of the legislature may jeopardize access to federal funds. Specifically that provisions of legislation under consideration will run afoul of federal regulations tied to federal highway aid dollars.

TxDOT, in objecting to HB1892, suggests that passage of HB1892 might stop all Harris County projects and could even take federal funds away. CorridorWatch says, "baloney!"

The second letter is described as notice to TxDOT that allowing the NTTA to bid on SH121 may violate federal procurement regulations designed to ensure fair and open competition. They suggest allowing NTTA to offer a bid after the process has closed to other bidders is at issue. The opinion was expressed that for the NTTA to participate the process should be start over.

The NTTA however isn't just another private bidder, they are a political subdivision of the state. As such the state should always have the ability to reject all bids and perform the work itself.

What is the effect of FHWA objections?

It appears that this is just another smoke screen and does not present the roadblock that FHWA and TxDOT would like for it to be.

The subject bills already require TxDOT to ensure that counties comply with any covenant, condition, restriction, or limitation that affects state highway right of way, including those of the federal government. is offended at this effort by the FWHA to join TxDOT in an attempt to thwart the public and legislative will of Texas.

CorridorWatch believes that the FWHA should work with the state to achieve compliance, not threaten the legislature. CorridorWatch does not believe that TxDOT and the FHWA should dictate public policy.

Senate Committee is slow to report HB1892.

CorridorWatch is very disappointed that after passing by a 30-0 vote and having been certified for the local and uncontested calendar, that HB1892 has not been reported out of committee. Had this bill been promptly reported it might have appeared on the calendar tomorrow, now we are assured another week will pass.

© 2007

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