Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rep. Nick Lampson warns political appointees at FHWA and TxDOT: 'Dont mess with Texas.'

Lampson Questions DOT Secretary over Texas Toll Road Interference

May 11, 2007


Congressman Nick Lampson
22nd District of Texas
Copyright 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. - During a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing today, Congressman Nick Lampson (D-Stafford) strongly questioned U.S. Department of Transportation (”DOT”) Secretary Mary Peters regarding DOT’s interference with a bill passed by the Texas state legislature concerning public control of state toll roads.

The Texas Department of Transportation ('TxDOT') had recently coordinated with the DOT”s Federal Highway Administration ('FHWA'), resulting in policy letters to TxDOT that highlighted certain policy disagreements with the state legislature’s bill, H.B. 1892, as passed. The bill now awaits a publicly acknowledged, forthcoming veto by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

“The federal government should not be interfering with Texas counties’ control over their own toll roads, and more importantly, should not be interfering with any state issue, period,” said Congressman Lampson. “I am pleased to be working with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison on this issue so that we can protect matters that are rightfully within the jurisdiction of the Texas state legislature.”

H.B. 1892, as originally passed, would allow for the North Texas Tollway Authority to bid on the development of toll roads on State Highway 121, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
This legislation, and FHWA’s subsequent letters, have major implications for several major toll roads throughout Texas, including Harris County.

At today’s Committee hearing, Congressman Lampson questioned Secretary Peters as to why the DOT issued multiple letters highlighting its views on this particular state legislature issue. These letters, in no uncertain terms, threatened to block federal highway funding for state roads if H.B. 1892 is implemented in its current form as passed.

“County officials are rightfully upset about the actions of Governor Perry, TxDOT, and the FHWA, and I will continue to work with them and my Texan colleagues in Congress to address their concerns in the future,” added Congressman Lampson.

© 2007 Congressman Nick Lampson, 22nd District fo Texas:

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