Friday, June 19, 2009

Perry vetoes bill that would have banned toll road propaganda

Perry Vetoes Toll Road Promotion Bill

would have prohibited TxDOT from using your tax money to get you to like toll roads

Keep Taxes Moving


By Jim Forsyth
Q101.9 News
Copyright 2009

Governor Rick Perry vetoed several measures approved by the Legislature on Friday, including a measure designed to prevent TexDOT from using tax money to promote toll roads, 1200 WOAI news reports.

The measure, sponsored by State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio) would have prevented the Texas Department of Transportation from using state tax money to ‘engage in marketing, advertising, or other activities for the purpose of influencing public opinion about the use of toll roads or the use of tolls as a financial mechanism.’

The bill was a major priority of the anti-toll Texas Toll Party and other anti toll groups.

“Marketing toll roads as a user fee based alternative to congested highways is important to relieving congestion on Texas highways and keeping Texas moving,” Perry said in his veto message.

Perry said he was also concerned that the bill would prevent TxDOT from marketing ‘toll tags’ and other toll road related merchandise.

Perry also vetoed Senate Bill 488, which called on operators of cars and pickup trucks to stay more than four feet away from so called ‘vulnerable road users,’ including bicyclists, pedestrians, two truck drives, highway construction workers, even people on horseback.

The measure called for a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail for violators.

The measure was praised by San Antonio bicycle riders, who told 1200 WOAI news that they are frequently sideswiped by cars which refused to share the road.

Perry said the ‘vulnerable users’ included in the bill are already protected by other pieces of legislation, and he said he objected to the fact that protections were granted for pedestrians, who are required by law to yield the right of way to motor vehicles, except at a marked crosswalk.

“The operator of a motor vehicle is already subject to penalties when he or she hit’s a bicyclist, person on horseback, or pedestrian, regardless of whether the person hit is a ‘vulnerable user’ or not,” Perry said.

The governor also vetoed a bill pushed by Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) which would have allowed public transit to use highway shoulders during peak traffic times in order to maintain their published schedules.

Perry said allowing busses on the shoulders of highways would leave no room for emergency vehicles.

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