Saturday, February 12, 2011

Houston: $26.5 million in toll road collections used to pay off Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation

Sports agency seeks help on loan at Reliant

County’s landlord for stadium is asking for more time, lower installments


Houston Chronicle
Copyright 2011

In another sign of financial distress at the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, the agency has asked for more time and lower installments to pay back a county loan used for the Texans' practice facility and additional parking around Reliant Stadium.

The debt goes back 10 years, to when the Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. — the county's landlord for Reliant Park — borrowed $19.1 million from Texans owner Robert McNair to buy the land for the practice field and parking spaces.

The Sports Authority, created by the city and county to manage $1 billion in public debt on Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium and the Toyota Center, agreed to back up the corporation with loan payments — if it had money left over from stadium and ballpark debt payments.

When the McNair loan came due five years later, neither the corporation nor the authority had the money.

The authority asked the Harris County Commissioners Court for help. The court came through with $26.5 million in toll road collections, which the authority used to pay McNair.

The authority's first payment to the county is due this month. On Jan. 25, however, Sports Authority executive director Janis Schmees wrote to Commissioners Court asking for some slack.

The authority collects $5.2 million in rent from the Rockets annually. It used that money to make payments on the Toyota Center parking garage until it was paid off last August. The authority now plans to channel that money toward the Toll Road Authority loan. Schmees had asked the court for permission to hold back $500,000 a year to cover operating expenses for the next five years, with a promise to repay all of the money with interest by 2020.

The payment relief was on Tuesday's Commissioners Court agenda, but was withdrawn after questions from County Judge Ed Emmett.

"We will repropose it" before the next payment is due in August, Schmees said. The Sports Authority will make its full payment this month.

"They are, for all intents and purposes, facing bankruptcy in a few years if they don't adjust their cash flow, and it wasn't even their fault," Emmett said. "They will come back at some point and start talking about how do they get themselves out of the financial jam."

The Sports Authority's cash squeeze results from the 2008 downgrade of its insurer for more than $100 million in stadium bonds.

Under the financing developed for the stadium, the bonds were purchased and converted to a bank loan due in five years, resulting in massive increases in debt payments. Meanwhile, hotel room and car rental taxes declined because of the national recession.

Bettencourt not a fan

"The $26 million should have never been loaned from the Toll Road Authority to the Sports Authority. All that is doing is putting the taxpayers on the hook," said former tax assessor and Sports Authority critic Paul Bettencourt. If the authority defaults, he said, the county may not be able to recover the toll road money.

"When you loan people money who don't have money, you'll end up holding the bag at the end of the day," Bettencourt said.

Although the state Transportation Code limits the expenditure of money taken in by the Harris County Toll Road Authority to transportation-related uses, there are no such restrictions on lending toll money, said Douglas Ray, an assistant county attorney. From a legal perspective, the loan is an investment, he said.

The Toll Road Authority will get a 7 percent annual return on its investment per the terms of the loan. At present, the Toll Road Authority is to receive payments from the Sports Authority totaling $47 million in principal and interest. The amended schedule proposed by the Sports Authority would add a year and $1.5 million in interest.

Funds needed for parking

The Commissioners Court also helped stadium landlords last year when it drew on the county's own hotel room tax money to contribute $4 million toward stadium debt payments that the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. could not cover last year.

Willie Loston, executive director of the Sports & Convention Corp., said the original McNair loan was necessary to provide parking to accommodate the expanding scope of the Reliant Stadium project.

The original cost of $367 million swelled to about $449 million as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Texans requested extra features.

"My recollection is that there was a sense that the Sports Authority would have (cash) flows to either pay it off or certainly that the mechanism of refinance would be there to be able to extend the loan," Loston said.

For its part, the Sports Authority was careful to state in the loan agreement that McNair would be paid on time only if there was money left over after baseball and football stadium payments and after money for the then yet-to-be-built Toyota Center was protected.

The Sports Authority may need extra time to pay back the county for money it borrowed for extras at Reliant Park 10 years ago. How it got behind:

• May 2001: The Harris County Sports & Convention Corp., a county-created landlord for Reliant Park, borrows $19.1 million from Texans owner Robert McNair. It uses the money to buy land for a Texans practice field and more parking. The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, created by the city and county to manage $1 billion in local sports venue debt, agrees to back up the corporation.

• September 2006: The McNair loan comes due. Neither the corporation nor the authority has the money. Commissioners Court uses $26.5 million in toll road collections to pay off McNair, and gives the Sports Authority five years before it has to start making payments.

• June 2008: The insurer of more than $100 million in authority bonds is downgraded, triggering a conversion of the bond into a bank loan that collapses the payback period to just five years, hugely inflating the Authority's debt payments.

• February 2011: Now in a serious cash crunch, the Authority's first payment to the county is due. The Authority sends a letter to Commissioners Court asking for lower payments and an extended term of the loan. The request is put on the court's agenda, then withdrawn. The authority will make this month's payment, but its executive director said she'll ask again for some slack before the next payment comes due.

© Houston Chronicle:

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“If the bondholders are getting both the yield of a private sale and the tax breaks of a public sale, that implies the deal is high-risk.”

Corinth pressed on I-35E widening

County says project funding hinges on cities’ endorsement


By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
Denton Record-Chronicle
Copyright 2011

CORINTH — Denton County leaders have asked the Corinth City Council to join other Denton-area cities along Interstate 35E in endorsing a plan that would bring in a private developer to widen the highway from the Bush Turnpike to U.S. Highway 380.

County transportation consultant John Polster told the City Council that even if the Texas Department of Transportation devoted all the funding it had for the next decade, it would not be enough to pay for the nearly $5 billion project.

For TxDOT’s entire Dallas District, only about $800,000 is available to build new roads or widen existing ones, Polster said. Denton County has about $500,000 available from its own bonds and the tolling of State Highway 121 for the project, he said.

Even though the county and the state don’t have the money to widen the road, developers such as the Spanish toll firm Cintra consider the project lucrative, he said.

A private developer could charge anywhere from 15 cents to 80 cents per mile in privately managed lanes to recover its investment in the project.

People could still drive in one of the four free lanes, or on the frontage road, but if they wanted to get to their destination faster, they could pay the variable toll to travel in the managed lanes.

“They [the managed lanes] guarantee a travel speed of 50 mph,” Polster said.

In other words, the more congestion there is, the higher the variable toll to guarantee the free flow of traffic in the managed lanes.

Polster also told the council that, while the toll lanes would run the entire length of the expansion, the majority of the revenue from the managed lanes would be expected between the turnpike and State Highway 121.

But the kind of project Denton County is proposing — a public-private partnership — got kicked to the curb by the Texas Legislature in 2009. A few projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were grandfathered in, including the reconstruction of Interstate 635, the North Tarrant Express and the DFW Connector, popularly known as the Grapevine Funnel.

In order for the Legislature to revisit the funding mechanism for Denton County, state representatives are looking for endorsements, such as city council resolutions, of the concept, Polster told the council.

Council member John Booher questioned why — funding model aside — Corinth should endorse a project that would change the exit ramps and make it difficult to stop in the city.

Polster told him that the design for the managed lanes would require that drivers travel certain lengths uninterrupted for safety and mobility, but he would look into the design changes and report back.

Booher questioned whether public officials could make an informed decision about the deal, since some of the funding assumptions are private. Toll road developers conduct the research on the profitability of variable tolls but consider their research methodology proprietary, Polster said.

In an interview Friday, Booher said he felt the council wasn’t given enough information about the way the bond package would be set up.

“If the bondholders are getting both the yield of a private sale and the tax breaks of a public sale, that implies the deal is high-risk,” Booher said.

He questioned whether the county would really be protected if the bondholder couldn’t make the payments, even though county leaders have said they could sell the road to another investor.

“If the business model fails, why would someone else buy it, without the county taking more of the risk?” Booher said.

The Corinth council is expected to take up the matter at its regular meeting Thursday.

© Denton Record-Chronicle:

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Friday, February 11, 2011

"The idea of building the Trans-Texas Corridor may be dead today, but removing the codes ensures that it stays dead."

Kolhhorst, Hegar hope to bury Trans-Texas Corridor


The Gonzales Cannon
Copyright 2011

AUSTIN--State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and Sen. Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) on Friday filed legislation to bring a formal and final close to the Trans-Texas Corridor by removing all remaining references to it from state law.

Filing identical bills in both the House and Senate, the lawmakers said the legislation is necessary because although the financial tools to build the Trans-Texas Corridor have already been removed, the underlying legal code which enables the building of it at a later date has not.

"There are still over a hundred references to the Trans-Texas Corridor still found in our state's law books," Kolkhorst said. "The idea of building the Trans-Texas Corridor may be dead today, but removing the codes ensures that it stays dead."

As Chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission, Sen. Hegar and his fellow Commissioners have dealt extensively with statewide transportation issues through their review of the Texas Department of Transportation.

"It is important to remove all remaining mention of the Trans-Texas Corridor from our state's Transportation and Tax Codes," Hegar said. "Although the victory of putting a stop to the TTC has already been accomplished, this bill will ensure that it can never be built in the future."

The lawmakers have been working closely with the Texas Farm Bureau, who have listed the bill as one of their top legislative priorities.

© The Gonzales Cannon :

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Texas eminent domain bill benefits utility companies, the oil and gas industry and other special interests, including private toll road investors

Critics say bill dupes property owners

Fast-track legislation's backers say it curbs eminent-domain abuses


Houston Chronicle
Copyriht 2011

AUSTIN — Critics hope to slow down a fast-tracked bill that supporters say will strengthen the rights of property owners facing eminent domain proceedings that sailed through the Senate this week by a 31-0 vote.

Opponents insist the bill, designated as emergency legislation by Gov. Rick Perry, benefits utility companies, the oil and gas industry and other special interests, including private toll road investors still eager to build a Trans-Texas Corridor.

"After four previous attempts to protect Texas landowners from eminent domain for private gain, lawmakers either can't get it right or won't get it right," said Terri Hall, founder of a grass-roots group called Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, or TURF. "Texans deserve to be told the truth and to be given true protection from eminent domain for private gain, not have their lawmakers tell them they have it when they don't."

Hall and other critics hope to slow down the fast-track legislation in the House, where it also will receive scrutiny from a Houston state representative who hopes to resolve a long-running eminent-domain dispute between the Texas Medical Center and surrounding neighborhoods.
Property rights at issue

It was Perry's support of a Trans-Texas Corridor project, with its reliance on eminent domain to acquire right-of-way, that riled rural property owners and the Texas Farm Bureau, and provided ammunition to the governor's erstwhile political opponents, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White. Both accused Perry of ignoring private property rights by pushing what would have been a multibillion-dollar network of toll roads and highways affecting some half-million acres of farmland. The 450,000-member Texas Farm Bureau endorsed Hutchison over Perry in the GOP primary last year, but now supports the governor for his commitment to the Senate bill, sponsored by state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and its companion piece in the House by state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth.

Perry, who vetoed similar legislation in 2007, praised the Estes bill.

"I commend the Texas Senate for passing SB 18 as we continue the effort to strengthen private property rights in our state," the governor said. "Property ownership remains an essential freedom for Texans, and we must strengthen our eminent domain laws to further protect property owners."

Melissa Cubria, a research and policy analyst for the Texas Public Interest Research Group, would agree with the latter statement, if not the former. "Language in the bill enables government and private entities to commingle," she said in an e-mail. "Governmental entities can create private corporations and act on their behalf, thus blurring the line between public and private - a consequence of private toll road deals such as the ones used to finance the Trans-Texas Corridor and other private toll roads that have since emerged. The lack of distinction between private and public entities unravels most of the landowner protections built into the bill."

'Buy-back' provision

Estes disagreed.

"Senate Bill 18 does not enable or provide for government and private entities to commingle," he wrote in an e-mail. "Senate Bill 18 makes several key revisions to current law, including requiring that condemning authorities make a good faith offer before condemning procedures begin, prohibiting the taking of private property unless it is for a public use, improving notice and disclosure by condemning entities, applying condemnation rules to all condemning entities, and providing property owners with the opportunity to buy back property at the original purchase price if the taken property is not used for its public purpose in 10 years."

Under eminent domain, government entities and certain legally authorized private entities, such as pipeline companies and utilities, are allowed to acquire property for public use after fairly compensating the owners. If the property owner and entity cannot agree on a price, the entity can file suit to condemn and acquire the property at what is supposed to be fair market value.

The bill now goes to the House, where state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, will try to attach language to eliminate the Texas Medical Center's eminent domain powers.

"Anyone who is in the ring around Medical Center Inc. is concerned that the medical center will use the power of eminent domain to take their houses if they want to expand," Coleman said.

A similar effort failed in 2009.

© Houston Chronicle:

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

"Texans deserve to be told the truth and given true protection from eminent domain for private gain..."

SB 18 sails through Texas Senate

Does NOT protect landowners from eminent domain for private gain


Terri Hall
Ellis County Press
Copyright 2011

Today, the Texas Senate passed Governor Rick Perry's fast-tracked 'emergency' eminent domain bill, SB 18. The grassroots don't think the bill goes far enough because it still fails to protect to landowners from Kelo abuses (ie - blight, economic development, foreign-owned toll roads). It looks great in parts of subsection "b" only to undo it with all the exceptions under subsection "c." The bill continues the authority of private entities to benefit from eminent domain in the name of a laundry list of various "public uses." (See the bill's loophole-laden language below)

Sen. Leticia Van De Putte questioned some of the vague language in the bill and asked, “Doesn’t this open it up to lawsuits?” to which she got no assurances that it wouldn’t.

Many lawmakers are telling Texans that SB 18 takes care of Kelo and addresses their concerns when the plain reading of this bill says otherwise. Eminent domain for private gain became the centerpiece of the public blowback to Rick Perry’s Trans Texas Corridor and push for foreign-owned toll roads across Texas.

“After four previous attempts to protect Texas landowners from eminent domain for private gain, lawmakers either can’t get it right or won’t get it right. Either way, it’s unacceptable. Texans deserve to be told the truth and to be given true protection from eminent domain for private gain, not have their lawmakers tell them they have it when they don’t,” noted TURF Founder Terri Hall.

“Texans know they can’t trust Rick Perry on eminent domain, this bill proves the leopard hasn’t changed his spots. With quotes like this one from the bill's author, Senator Craig Estes, in the Star-Telegram February 6, lawmakers may just encounter a Trans Texas Corridor-style uprising:

‘Every word in there has been carefully crafted,’ said Estes, whose district includes Parker, Wise, and parts of Denton and Collin counties. ‘Nobody is 100 percent happy, which means it's a pretty good bill.’

Accordingly, Estes said he will fight any amendment to ward off even the slightest change that could unravel the compromise.

‘I don't care if your amendment turns lead into gold. It's not going to happen if I can help it,’ Estes said. ‘Any bill can be made better, but when you have all the major interest groups on board, let's don't let perfection get in the way of something that's good for Texas."’

In committee Estes quipped that SB 18 was a special interests bill, then tried to back-track and say all Texans are a "special interest." An eminent domain attorney who represents landowners in eminent domain cases said this bill was a "lobbyist's dream."

The grassroots want language in the bill that would prevent ANY eminent domain for private gain, no exceptions.


By: Estes, Duncan

S.B. No. 18



relating to the use of eminent domain authority.


SECTION 1. Chapter 2206, Government Code, is amended to read as follows:





PARTIES OR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES. (a) This section applies to the use of

eminent domain under the laws of this state, including a local or special law, by any

governmental or private entity, including:

(1) a state agency, including an institution of higher education

as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code;

(2) a political subdivision of this state; or

(3) a corporation created by a governmental entity to act on behalf of the entity.

(b) A governmental or private entity may not take private

property through the use of eminent domain if the taking:

(1) confers a private benefit on a particular private

party through the use of the property;

(2) is for a public use that is merely a pretext to confer a private benefit on a

particular private party; [or]

(3) is for economic development purposes, unless the economic development is

a secondary purpose resulting from municipal community development or municipal urban

renewal activities to eliminate an existing affirmative harm on society from slum or

blighted areas under:

(A) Chapter 373 or 374, Local Government Code,

other than an activity described by Section 373.002(b)(5), Local Government Code; or

(B) Section 311.005(a)(1)(I), Tax Code; or

(4) is not for a public use.

(c) This section does not affect the authority of an entity authorized by law to take private property through the use of eminent domain for:

(1) transportation projects, including, but not limited to, railroads,

airports, or public roads or highways;

(2) entities authorized under Section 59, Article XVI,

Texas Constitution, including:

(A) port authorities;

(B) navigation districts; and

(C) any other conservation or reclamation districts that act as ports;

(3) water supply, wastewater, flood control, and drainage projects;

(4) public buildings, hospitals, and parks;

(5) the provision of utility services;

(6) a sports and community venue project approved by

voters at an election held on or before December 1, 2005, under

Chapter 334 or 335, Local Government Code;

(7) the operations of:

(A) a common carrier pipeline [subject to Chapter

111, Natural Resources Code, and Section B(3)(b), Article 2.01,

Texas Business Corporation Act]; or

(B) an energy transporter, as that term is

defined by Section 186.051, Utilities Code;

(8) a purpose authorized by Chapter 181, Utilities


(9) underground storage operations subject to Chapter

91, Natural Resources Code;

(10) a waste disposal project; or

(11) a library, museum, or related facility and any

infrastructure related to the facility.

(d) This section does not affect the authority of a

governmental entity to condemn a leasehold estate on property owned

by the governmental entity.

(e) The determination by the governmental or private entity

proposing to take the property that the taking does not involve an

act or circumstance prohibited by Subsection (b) does not create a

presumption with respect to whether the taking involves that act or


To view the entire bill, go here.

© Ellis County Press:

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More bogus eminent domain reform in Texas: SB 18 represents special interest’s dream come true.

Eminent Domain "Reform" Bill is the Trans-Texas Corridor on Steroids


Texas Public Interest Research Group
Copyright 2011

“Officials fast tracked legislation masked as eminent domain reform through the Senate today without giving the public adequate opportunity to participate in the process. Cloaked in the guise of eminent domain reform, Texas State Senators rammed through legislation that will benefit utility companies, the oil and gas industry, real estate developers and even private toll road investors before it ever has the opportunity to work on behalf of the citizens and landowners of Texas.

“There are so many loopholes in SB 18, it is hard to know where the bill begins and ends. On the first page, language in the bill enables government and private entities to com-mingle. Governmental entities can create private corporations and act on their behalf thus blurring the line between public and private—a consequence of private toll road deals such as the ones used to finance the Trans-Texas Corridor and other private toll road that have since emerged. The lack of distinction between private and public entities unravels most of the landowner protections built into the bill, which are only enforceable depending upon the category the entity belongs to.

“Another major issue with SB 18 is that despite having worked on this bill for four years, lawmakers still failed to adequately define critical terms that will help enforce and strengthen landowner protections while including pages upon pages of excessive legalese. Terms like "public use,” “private benefit,” and “blighted areas” are left open to arbitrary interpretation, which will almost certainly lead to lawsuits. Both Senator Estes and Duncan, authors of the bill, acknowledged that eminent domain may come up again next session after lawsuits have been filed and problems have arisen.

“So if SB 18 doesn’t actually reform eminent domain and will continue to create legal challenges for landowners and unnecessary legal expense for the state, then what’s the rush? What is the emergency? Why not just get it right the first time?

“There are a few probable reasons lawmakers rammed this bill through without receiving adequate public input. As Senator Estes said in a legislative committee hearing, this is a special interest bill. Similarly, a legal expert on the issue who represents landowners in eminent domain cases and who reviewed the bill, agrees that this legislation is a special interest’s dream come true.

“SB 18 is a phony attempt to appease landowners, whom for years have been outspoken and vocal against profit-driven eminent domain practices that enable private entities to repurchase land for economic development. Sound familiar? SB 18 is the Trans Texas Corridor on steroids—minus the private toll roads of course—but we can expect to see a bill to reauthorize those coming down the pipeline any day now.”

© Texas PIRG:

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To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE


"More bad news for those of us seeking real eminent domain reform...these protections are largely meaningless."

Texas Senate Passes Bogus Eminent Domain Reform Bill

Texas Senate Passes Bogus Eminent Domain Reform Bill


Marc Scribner
Copyright 2011

Here’s some more bad news for those of us seeking real eminent domain reform, rather than style-over-substance feel-good legislation. Here’s the Dallas Morning News uncritically reporting on the eminent domain “reform” bill’s passage by the Texas Senate:

Legislation aimed at strengthening the rights of property owners in eminent domain cases in Texas won unanimous approval in the Senate on Wednesday.

The measure, which goes to the House, passed the Senate in similar form two years ago, but fell victim to an impasse in the House that killed scores of bills in the final days of the last legislative session.

Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, author of the proposal, said his aim is to “restore balance” in the eminent domain process where a government agency or other entity takes private property for a public purpose and compensates the landowner.

Despite previous changes in the law, Estes said the “deck of cards is still stacked against private property owners” because the eminent domain process “does not always properly recognize the true value of a private landowner’s interest.”

Among the various provisions in the bill is language that would allow the original landowner to repurchase his property if no progress toward public use of the land occurs within 10 years of when it is acquired by the governmental entity.

That’s some nice rhetoric. Unfortunately, these protections are largely meaningless. The bill allows takings for recreational facilities as defined under Section 49.462 of the Texas Water Code, for instance. So if the government is attempting to condemn your property to make way for a bike trail, good luck getting a court to grant you injunctive relief.

The bill also fails to reign in blight condemnations. Declaring a property or area blighted has been an urban renewal trick common throughout the country since the Supreme Court’s 1954 Berman v. Parker decision. In most states, including Texas, governments or their agents can declare entire areas blighted, even if your property is in phenomenal condition. Furthermore, government entities in Texas can condemn property under Chapter 374 of the Local Government Code if officials believe knocking down your house is somehow a means to “preventing an area susceptible to blight from becoming blighted.” A real reform bill would have addressed abuse of blight standards and prohibited area blight condemnations.

The bill also includes a provision that requires that the government offer to sell the condemned property back to the property owner at the price the owner was compensated at the time of condemnation if the property is not put to public use within 10 years. However, property owners often must spend a considerable amount on legal fees when fighting eminent domain condemnation.

This means that a significant portion of the compensation settlement often has to be used to repay attorneys and other expenses, and that many owners can’t simply repurchase their property at the settlement price. This provision could have more teeth in terms of offering property owners protection if government entities in Texas were forced compensate owners at no less than 125 percent of market value (as Michigan requires under Article 10, Section 2 of the state Constitution), and then allowed property owners to repurchase their condemned properties at straight (100 percent) market value as assessed at the time of condemnation.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

"Aren't Rick Perry and Charlie Geren the ones who helped make Texas the eminent domain capital of the United States? "

What's the catch?


Star Telegraph
Copyright 2011

We wondered this very thing as we read the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article concerning SB 18 touting Rick Perry and Charlie Geren as supporters fast-tracking the bill. Aren't Rick Perry and Charlie Geren the ones who helped create the eminent domain capital of the United States?

Charlie Geren got House Bill 2639 passed without many knowing what it was. In an article we came across recently, he stated Kay Granger had asked for it. In the same article, her people promptly denied that. Remember what Kelo does the same thing-eminent domain for economic development. Think Trinity River Vision.

Rick Perry tried to force the biggest land grab in history (things are bigger in Texas), for the Trans Texas Corridor.

We received a couple of emails this afternoon explaining the catch...One simply said, Perry is trying to look more conservative for 2012. (Again, Lord help us).

The other is asking for your help. So, please help! Property owners in Texas thank you in advance.

YOU could be next.
Texas Senate to Vote on Eminent Domain bill
Calls Needed
The Texas Senate will vote on the fast-tracked eminent domain bill, SB 18, tomorrow. It's a railroad job. This bill does NOTHING to fix Kelo. This bill still allows eminent domain for "blight" and "economic development." Your Texas Senators need to hear from YOU! Texans need to say ANY eminent domain bill that fails to provide protection from Kelo is UNACCEPTABLE and a ruse!

In the meantime, ask your members of the House to put some language in the House version that will give landowners genuine protection from Kelo abuses as well as protection from stealing Texans' land in the name of a road project and handing it to a private, for-profit, foreign toll operator for 50 years using...

© Star Telegraph:

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To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE