Wednesday, May 09, 2007

HB 1882 could trigger another 'special interest' session.

Transportation Chair Says Deal Could Avoid Special Session

May 9, 2007

Keith Elkins Reporting
CBS 42 (
Copyright 2007

AUSTIN-- State Senator John Carona, R-Dallas, said he expects to know within 24-48 hours whether or not an agreement can be reached with Texas Governor Rick Perry on a transportation bill that is stirring rumors of a possible special session this summer.

Carona said members of his committee and the governor's staff were meeting "in good faith" and that a deal could develop within the next couple of days.

"We're very close now, and we should know between the next 24 to 48 hours whether we've reached the appropriate terms to sign off on a deal," he said.

Carona chairs the critical Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security -- putting him on the front line of the transportation infrastructure and toll road tug-of-war between legislators and Perry.

Below are Sen. Carona's remarks to CBS 42's Keith Elkins on Wednesday:

"House Bill 1892 -- the bill that is the subject of the governor's possible veto -- deals with a moratorium on toll roads and comprehensive development agreements, but it also deals with a number of other reforms in terms of how we go about financing these roads into the future -- who owns them, who operates them -- what the public ultimately will pay in terms of its toll rates.

"It's a controversial bill. And it does run counter to the governor's current transportation policy. By the same token it clearly reflects the will of the vast majority of people, not only across the state, but the will of the overwhelming majority of fellow legislators.

"We're working right now with the governor's office to reach compromise and consensus on the key issues so that a veto will not be necessary. The governor has mentioned that it's the one bill that could send us into a special session. None of us want to be here for a special session, but at the same time, our job... is to get this right -- to make sure that we're financing roadways in a fashion that is consistent with what the public wants -- and that we're not simply selling off the assets of this state to outside operators who really then could substantially raise the fees on these roadways and make for driving that is much costlier for Texans at large."

© 2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc.:

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