Saturday, May 12, 2007

"Lawmakers say they have to vote for their constituents."

Lawmakers could be in special session over toll roads


News 8 Austin
Copyright 2007

Toll roads could be cause for lawmakers spend an extra 30 days at the Capitol.

With Governor Perry and legislators at odds over what to do about toll roads, lawmakers could end up spending extra time in session unless they find a solution.

The proposed compromise bill would put a two-year moratorium on toll roads, as well giving local governments more control over road placement.

"I think we're going to get there, but you never know we could be here this summer," Rep. Bryan Hughes of Minola, said.

In a last ditch effort to get his point across, Governor Rick Perry brought his business to the forefront Friday. Legislators heard from private business leaders who say without new toll roads area growth will be stifled.

"South Texas cannot sustain its transportation and economic needs" bill opponent Judy Holly said.

But some folks that Perry didn't invite showed up to ask for a hold on toll roads. They support a bill to block toll road construction for two years because they say lawmakers need time to sort things out.

"We have a rogue agency. TxDOT is out of control. We have a lack of leadership," Linda Stall of the group Corridor Watch said.

Lawmakers face the threat of special session if they can't reach an agreement about toll roads.

Though Perry and lawmakers are at a crossroads when it comes to transportation, they are moving in the same direction when it comes to not wanting a special session.

Lawmakers say they have to vote for their constituents.

"When the legislature has expressed its will clearly what our constituents want us to do, we have to stand by that," Hughes said.

Perry has until midnight Wednesday to decide on what to do with the bill. He has said he plans to veto it, but lawmakers are hopeful that a compromise can be reached.

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