"SB 1267 includes several exemptions for projects in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and El Paso. "
News 8 Austin
The Associated Press
The Texas Senate has approved a bill placing a two-year moratorium on private toll road contracts and creating a panel to review the terms of such agreements.
Gov. Rick Perry had urged the Legislature not to act on the bill. The state's current transportation system involves public-private partnerships to build toll roads. He says that's needed if Texas is to keep attracting big companies and jobs.
Critics of Perry's proposed Trans-Texas Corridor and the state's contract with Spanish-American consortium Cintra-Zachry have made some lawmakers nervous about the project.
Sen. Robert Nichols supported the corridor as a commissioner. Now Nichols said he's concerned private toll road contracts hurt the state with penalties for building or improving publicly owned roads.
Nichols' concerns with the toll road contracts:
- Competition penalties that cripple the state when building new roads or improving current roads for 50-plus years
- A private tolling authority's ability to significantly increase toll rates
- The lack of local input into the process
- The lack of a clear formula to determine cost should the state need to terminate the contract early and "buy back" the road
The bill prohibits only private toll roads. Public entities may still pursue projects.
© 2007 The Associated Press:
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