Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"Our victory is no nail-biter; it’s about as convincing as you can get.”

Governor vs. citizens on TTC moratorium


Elaine Kolodziej
Wilson County News
Copyright 2007

Last week’s vote on HB 1892 has been widely hailed by rural Texans opposed to toll roads as yet another victory in their ongoing effort to stop the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC), at least in its present form.

“This goes to show ‘we, the people’ can do it. This is a stunning, stunning victory for the citizens of Texas,” said Kathy Palmer, vice chair on the Planning and Zoning Committee for St. Hedwig.

HB 1892 passed the Senate easily, and the House by an amazing 139-1. It places a two-year ban on the comprehensive development agreements (CDAs), including the TTC, through Sept. 1, 2009. CDAs or public-private partnerships, include the Cintra/Zachary consortium that plans to fund the TTC.

“The people of Texas have spoken,” said Terri Hall, regional director of San Antonio Toll Party, a non-partisan group organized to stop the “double-tax tolling” of existing freeways and rights of way.

“They’ve stormed the Capitol and the Legislature listened,” she said.

With the bill headed to the governor’s desk, one of three things can happen. He can sign it, veto it, or take no action, which means it automatically becomes law.

The governor, a staunch supporter of the Trans-Texas Corridor and CDAs, has until May 14 to veto the bill.

“If this governor is interested in reflecting the will of the people, he would be wise not to veto this bill,” said Hall. “Our victory is no nail-biter; it’s about as convincing as you can get.”

Information from the Web site said on Monday, however, that there are “signs that the Governor plans to veto HB1892.”

This would 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. With fewer votes in either house, the veto sticks and the bill dies.

Backers of the moratorium are prepared to continue their efforts to ensure that the veto is overridden.

“Now is the time to move forward and continue to fight.,” said Palmer. “We have won the battle, now we need to win the war.”

Gov. Perry also has raised legal issues including that of funding from the Federal Highway Administration. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has sent a letter calling for the Federal Highway Administration to remove this cloud of doubt from this legislation.

© 2007 Wilson County News:

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