Monday, January 12, 2009

"Legislators seem hell-bent to push through various TTC 'tributaries' at a huge cost to the Texas community."

81st Texas Legislative Session Off to a Bad Start Before It Begins

Do you have that bad taste in your mouth again? You should.


Peter Stern
Somervell County Salon
Copyright 2009

The Legislature begins its 81st session tomorrow and already Transportation Chair Sen. John Carona is extending private toll road contracts for 6 years.

Is this the same guy in 2008 who flipped when then TxDOT Commissioner Ric Williamson (who died last year) arrogantly refused to open discussion on toll activities and contracts with the Transportation Committee? Is this the man who promoted a moratorium on private toll road contracts?

What exactly is going on?

What is happening is that Sen. John Carona is setting the pace for the legislature to go more lenient with TxDOT and its previous questionable actions, contracts and activities during the past 7 years, under the guise that the agency now has more ethical management and that for some reason, previous private toll road contracts should be honored and extended.

Sorry, Sen. Carona and other legislators, Texans do NOT want toll roads and certainly we don't want such roads privatized whereby 80 percent of the revenues from tolls go back to the road corporation. That's just NOT cost-effective in the long run.
  • The first order of transportation business is to repeal the law that permits elected officials to divert any gas tax revenue to other interests, e.g., Department of Public Safety and to higher education (UT).
  • The 2nd issue is to unfreeze the gas tax and to permit an indexing as per the inflationary and/or cost-of-living adjustment rate.
  • The 3rd item for consideration is to increase the gasoline tax.
  • The 4th focus on the transportation agenda must be to consider other sources for building and maintaining Texas roadways.
Under no circumstance must the legislature consider toll roads except as a last resort when the previous 4 items have been approved and more revenue is needed.

While Texans are told that Gov. Rick Perry's pet project, the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) is dead, legislators seem hell-bent to push through various TTC "tributaries" at a huge cost to the Texas community. Tolls are new taxes! Toll costs are manipulated by the state and privateers. Toll revenues are diverted to other interests. Generally, tolls remain after roadways are purchased over time. Consequently, tolls are infinite taxes that we pass along to future generations.

TxDOT is still under investigation for fraud and criminal activities. Legislators must review all other options before continuing TxDOT's questionable old ways and certainly toll roads are NOT the first choice of providing the financing for our current and future road needs. All other options must be reviewed first.

Read more on Rep. Carona at:

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