Monday, May 11, 2009

Rep Larry Phillips runs interference for special interest tollers

Checks against toll roads vanish in TxDOT bill


Robert T. Garrett/Reporter
The Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2009

There's a big huddle on the House floor about a possible glitch in the TxDOT sunset bill, which was expected to receive final approval today.

Some members fear that several amendments tacked onto the bill by toll-road critics -- a ban on "no compete" clauses, limits on how long tolls can be charged, more transparency -- might be voided by another floor amendment offered by Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman

Phillips' provision would extend for six years the ability to do "comprehensive development agreements." House Democratic Leader Jim Dunnam of Waco says some members fear the provision, by creating a new section of transportation law, could wipe out amendments designed to curtail toll roads.

Moments ago, Dunnam successfully asked the House to waive a rule so changes can be made with a simple majority, not a two thirds vote.

UPDATE: Phillips says there is no problem. He said some members fear his amendment revived the Trans Texas Corridor, Gov. Rick Perry's big vision of toll roads and pipelines criss-crossing the state. But Phillips says that while his amendment referred to the Trans Texas Corridor law, it wouldn't breathe new life into it. And there's no other "collateral damage" to other toll-related amendments, he said..

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