Was TX Sen Carona's Bravado about Toll Roads Just a Phony-Baloney Show for the Angry Public? Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Was TX Sen Carona's Bravado about Toll Roads Just a Phony-Baloney Show for the Angry Public?

22 March 2007 at 12:36:08 PM

Peter Stern wrote about this earlier today, that the TX Senators decided to *freeze* the bill to *freeze*, as in a 2 year moratorium, toll roads.

The chairman of the Senate's transportation panel, despite being one of more than 125 legislators co-sponsoring legislation to shelve private toll road contracts for two years, said Wednesday he won't give the measure a vote in his committee.

"I don't intend to move it," said Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, chairman of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee. Carona has repeatedly criticized Texas Department of Transportation policy and officials in recent months and is among 25 Senate co-sponsors of SB 1267, the moratorium bill by state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville.

Carona is trying to work out a large compromise transportation bill with toll policy supporters and has struck a more conciliatory tone in recent days. Carona aide Steven Polunsky said that although Carona thinks that some sort of controls on private toll road contracts are in order, a two-year freeze might remove the only option available to get some badly needed road projects done.

I do see that the Lege is supposed to vote on some related bills today, that would apparently rein in some of TxDot's authority. Here's part of what is GOOD.

Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, carried four of those bills, including one that would outlaw private road contracts with the state and another that would require that toll revenue be used only on the road where the tolls are charged.

Ogden likens what has happened to Texas transportation policy to a golf bag. The rules of that game allow a golfer to carry 14 clubs. Over the past four years, as the Legislature tried to find new ways to inject money into an increasingly cash-starved transportation system, "We gave TxDOT 21 tools in the golf bag when they really only need 14," Ogden said. Allowing the state to grant long-term tollway leases to private companies, Ogden said, is "the 21st club."

So... GET RID OF it!

Carona, who is carrying a bill that would use an inflation index to annually increase the state's long-frozen 20 cents a gallon gas tax, used his Wednesday hearing to step up the pressure for such legislation. The tax, last increased in 1991, has lost about half its value to inflation and traffic increases. He asked everyone who testified whether they would support a gas tax inflation index. Overwhelmingly, the answer was yes.

However, the answer in the House, where by law tax increase bills must originate, remains no.

Time to put pressure on your Texas House Reps to increase the gas tax.

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1 - pstern   22 Mar 2007 @ 12:48:00 PM 

The answer to the title question is "Yes!"

 This powerplay (one of many) give legislators a release valve to tell taxpayers that they're on their side, that they know the toll plan is a bad one but what can they do?  Poor legislators!  They're hands are tied because so many cities, towns and counties have already partnered up with TxDOT and if our "fearless" elected officials vote to freeze the TTC-35 communities stand to lose a lot of money.

"Yeah, right!", I say. 

"Kiss my grits!", I say.

One day soon --- hopefully --- tax paying voters are going to rise-up in a tsunami of discontent and vote-out the entire corrupt mass of lawmakers.

Maybe we should rewrite the Constitution to outlaw legislators completely.  After all, there's enough deadwood out on the Texas plains.  We don't need any more at the state capitol.

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