"Some Metroplex officials worry that state lawmakers will consider the money to be surplus cash and spend it on nontransportation needs."
By GORDON DICKSON
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
A state official has asked for a legal opinion as to whether $3.2 billion in proceeds from the Texas 121 toll road north of Grapevine can be moved to a North Texas bank.
The North Texas Tollway Authority paid the money to the Texas Department of Transportation in exchange for the right to collect tolls on Texas 121 for decades to come. The money is to be used on other Dallas-Fort Worth transportation projects, including highway expansions and commuter rail.
The money is deposited in a state treasury account. But some Metroplex officials worry that state lawmakers will consider the money to be surplus cash and spend it on nontransportation needs.
Transportation Department executive director Amadeo Saenz has asked the attorney general’s office for a legal opinion as to whether the money can be shifted to a bank in North Texas, under control of the Regional Transportation Council, a 40-member planning body.
In his June 19 letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott, Saenz said his staff and the Texas Transportation Commission "want to transfer the funds if the legal authority exists to do so."
GORDON DICKSON, 817-685-3816
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