Tuesday, May 08, 2007

CorridorWatch smells a veto, empty threats, and another 'bait and switch' brewing in the governor's mansion

Get Ready, We Smell a Veto


Copyright 2007

Every day we see more signs that the Governor plans to veto HB1892 - Thereby killing the CDA moratorium along with other controls it puts on TxDOT.

Can HB1892 remain veto proof?

It's far from automatic, but yes it can stay veto proof.

Overcoming a veto will require another vote in both houses of the legislature. At least 21 Senators and 100 Representatives must vote to overturn the veto upon the bills reconsideration. Any less in either house and the veto sticks and the bill dies.

Some political insiders are already predicting that the legislature will fold under the Governors' pressure. We give them more credit, but only if citizens like you give them the encouragement and support they need.

All Ayes focus on the Senate.

Sustaining a veto is a simple numbers game. In the Senate those numbers are smaller and the Governor has a four vote head start towards the eleven Nay votes he will need to kill HB1892. We must fight as hard to keep our support as the Governor will fight to tear it down.

Legal opinions are just that, opinions.

Watch for the Governor to claim legal issues require him to veto HB1892. Others say hogwash.

  • TxDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are working overtime to gin up legal objections to the moratorium bill. Here's a preview of their claims.
  • They will claim that unilateral county authority creates "likelihood" of violating federal regulations.
  • They will claim that stopping TxDOT from blocking county access to state highways conflicts with the federal oversight role of TxDOT.
  • They will claim that Texas cannot transfer control of highway land from TxDOT to a county without selling it.
As you might expect these legal challenges are not widely accepted outside the world of TxDOT. That not withstanding, TxDOT, the FHWA and the Governor hope they can create enough smoke to obscure the real impact of HB1892.

U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has already called on the Federal Highway Administration to remove the cloud over this legislation.

Don't get distracted by the legal smoke screen.

Misinformation and misdirection.

Have you heard that HB1892 won't effect TTC-35? We have and that's just a load of baloney.

Although that's what TxDOT told some CorridorWatch members we couldn't get them to go on record with that opinion. If you've heard TxDOT testifying before committees this session you already know they shamelessly twist, distort and wildly interpret the law to suit themselves.

There is no question that it is the clear legislative intent is that HB1892 will stop TxDOT from signing any TTC facility construction CDAs during the two-year moratorium. We can expect TxDOT to search for loop holes; and, they can equally expect CorridorWatch to challenge every attempt to circumvent the clear intent of the moratorium.

Bait and switch.

A bill on the desk is worth two on the calendar.

There are some indications that Governor Perry may offer his acceptance of the SB1267 moratorium bill in exchange for support being withdrawn from HB1892. Everyone should understand that would not be a compromise, it's a surrender. We need the full range of protections afforded by HB1892 that are missing from SB1267. Moreover it is impossible to take any assurances that SB1267 would ever become law. Let's not fall for this ploy. Let's all just say no and reconfirm our support for HB1892.

Will Our Senators and Representatives Continue Standing-Up For the People of Texas?

With your help we believe they will.

CorridorWatch will be watching and reporting.

What Should We Do Now?

It's time to contact the Governor's Office.

Don't let Governor Perry say that he has not heard support for HB1892 from the people. Please call today and politely ask that he not veto HB1892.

Governor Rick Perry 800-843-5789

Four State Senators Voted against HB1892; 11 Votes Will be Required to Sustain a Veto.

We cannot afford to have our Legislators, especially our Senators, succumb to pressure from the Governor to drop their support for HB1892.

Veto pressure is being applied today. If we do not help our Senators stay strong before the veto it may be impossible to have an impact after the veto.

There are only a dozen days left in which the Governor can veto the bill. During this time he will be working hard and counting votes. Once he has or thinks he can get those votes we will see him veto the bill.

Action today is necessary to keep our elected representatives focused on saving HB1892. If we lose them now it will be very difficult to get them back.

Do not let anyone talk you into believing that HB1892 has no effect on the TTC, it most certainly does.

Do not let anyone tell you that HB1892 will cost the State federal highway funds, it most certainly will not. But it will save Texans billions of dollars that will otherwise flow to private corporations instead of highway construction and maintenance.

Time is Critical . . . Call your Senator Today and ask that they stay the course and strongly support HB1892 if it is vetoed by the Governor.

When you call ask for the person that handles transportation issues for the Senator. Be clear that you are concerned that HB1892 will be vetoed and that if it is you strongly urge the veto be overturned.

If you know who your Senator is you can use the Scorecard to find his or her telephone number.

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

In Either Case It Is Very Important That They Get a Telephone Call From You on AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Your continued investment of minutes can save Texas for years.

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