Three issues regarding roads in Texas are listed here. The first one is specific to the North Texas Area. This info comes by way of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF)
URGENT ACTION ITEM #1
(NOTE: Include your full name & address in your email)
Ask them to: “Vote ‘No’ on SB 1018 that gives the North Texas Tollway Authority access to TAX money to subsidize its tollways. Tolls would no longer be paying for the roads, ALL Texans would be subsidizing the tollways with TAX money, but they’d have to pay a toll, too, to drive on them.”
The bill lets the NTTA continue to allow a private company to takeover any of its turnpikes or toll projects (think Cintra, who really wants Hwy 121 & I-35) without taxpayers’ consent. Allows excess revenue to be put into a general fund and spent for whatever purpose they want. Allows tolls collected from one turnpike/project to be spent on another. Changes definition of a turnpike to toll project to give NTTA ability to get away from their traditional turnpike model and get into hybrid toll projects involving adding toll lanes to existing roadways. Can issue bonds to pay-off other bonds (uses borrowed money to pay-off other borrowed money, like using a credit card to pay-off another credit card). Can transfer part of a turnpike or project to another governmental entity who can levy taxes to pay bonds to subsidize the toll project.
The bill’s fiscal note states: “The bill would specify that bonds issued by the NTTA would be considered authorized investments for state and local government entities. The bill would allow governmental entities to create a taxing district to produce revenues for their participation in a tollway project with NTTA.”
Governmental entities, nor their pensioners, should NOT be investors in risky, speculative toll projects, which, in effect, puts taxpayers on the hook for the losses. Creating NEW taxing districts so that taxpayers will be forced to subsidize loser toll projects is anti-taxpayer and unacceptable.
This SNEAKY bill was sent to the Govt Efficiency and Reform Committee in the House, but showed up in Transportation in the Senate. Why? Buried in the bill behind sunset info on water authorities and chiropractor boards, it pushes TxDOT’s next sunset review date from next session to 2017! So holding this agency accountable & enacting any reforms would be pushed out another 4 years when the legislature specifically wanted them to have a short leash and undergo review in 2015. We’re betting few if any House members noticed this. Now its in the pro-toll, pro-TxDOT train wreck senate where it will most assuredly pass…
URGENT ACTION ITEM #2
URGENT ACTION ITEM #3