Skip to comments.House proposal would put 2-year moratorium on private toll roads
Posted on 04/11/2007 11:30:50 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
AUSTIN — A two-year moratorium on private toll roads that won preliminary approval in the House on Tuesday would put the brakes on the Trans-Texas Corridor, a superhighway that a private firm received a contract for earlier this year.
The moratorium also would halt seven near-term projects in the state, said Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, the Brenham Republican who added the proposal to a House bill.
"This is us tapping the brakes, looking before we leap ... into contracts that last 50-plus years," Kolkhorst said.
Her proposal would require the state to create a commission to study the effects of private equity toll roads and present findings to the state next year.
Rep. Mike Krussee, R-Round Rock, argued that without private toll roads, the state would need to raise the gas tax to pay for roads.
"However well-intentioned, the moratorium adopted by the House would eliminate an enormous pool of non-tax money to address traffic and transportation needs," said Joe Krier, chairman of Texans for Safe Reliable Transportation. "Fewer transportation dollars mean fewer transportation alternatives, and more traffic gridlock."
The state contracted with Spanish-American consortium Cintra-Zachry to develop and maintain the Trans-Texas Corridor, which is envisioned as a $184 billion 4,000-mile network of toll roads, rail lines and utilities.
The contract spans 50 years.
"This is an issue about how Texas will build roads in the future and about whether profits paid by Texans will stay here in Texas ... or whether profits will be siphoned off to Spain, Wall Street or other areas."
In total, planned private equity toll projects are expected to earn $300 billion in profits for the private firms, Kolkhorst said.
"You never sell a producing well and I think that's what we're doing," she said, adding that those profits could be used in Texas to build more highway capacity.
Gov. Rick Perry, who has long championed the Trans-Texas Corridor, has urged the state to reject a two-year toll road moratorium.
"There are no such things as freeways," he said in a statement last week. "There are taxways and tollways, and for 50 years we have tried taxways that have been underfunded by Austin and Washington and that have left local communities choking on pollution and brimming with congestion."
The moratorium would not affect projects planned by regional mobility authorities.
Trans-Texas Corridor PING!
I know I was never asked my opinion of a toll road.
Thanks for the ping!
The state highway department deserves to be slapped down for what they did on the 121 scam.
Perry had a chance to put an end to this 121 game but he decided that the people in Texas don’t matter anymore and he will tax the hell out of us in a different name.
No, he decided the Republicans in southwest Collin County don't matter any more.
You’re welcome. :-)
No, for 50 years government has bowed to Washington, and pi$$ed away our taxpaying dollars in Austin for cushy offices, government vehicles and catered 'meetings'. Perry is just like the rest.
I hope they take a long, hard look into Governor Goober's grab-bag.
That's all any of those meetings were. These short-sighted criminals have their eyes on the quick billions that leasing these toll roads will bring, not the long-term consequences of their actions. Why should they care? They'll be history before we really start paying for their mendacity.
There will be X dollars invested in Texas roads, every dime of which will come from people driving cars in Texas. That money is fungible, which means that people driving on toll roads are paying for the roads of people who don't drive on toll roads. Effectively giving the gas tax money from people on toll roads to people who dont drive on toll roads.
However well-intentioned, the moratorium adopted by the House would eliminate an enormous pool of non-tax money to address traffic and transportation needs," said Joe Krier
It would eliminate money that is effectively borrowed from future toll road drivers that will be given to the state of Texas today. Why not just borrow the money straight up, if the state needs it?
As I recall, their bond ceiling is 3 billion. They would probably have to raise it (there is legislation that would double it). I’m also assuming the ceiling applies to each major highway project, not to the entire total.
Roads. Who needs them? I work out of my home. I’m sure everyone prefers higher gas prices to any alternative. To hell with the next generation and their kids. /Sarcasm
Actually it will be new taxation on top of old... As if they’ll ever get rid of our gas taxes, transporation taxes... It is odd to me that “conservatives” would want toll roads. Or roads owned by private companies. If ever government spending was constitutional, after defense - infrastructure would be of highest importance. (IMHO)
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