FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Unconstitutional RMA Hearing set for Today.


People for Efficient Transportation, Inc. filed a Lawsuit March 1, 2005 in State of Texas District Court against Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA - Toll Authority). A hearing is set for Tuesday, June 28th, at 2pm at the Travis County Courthouse. A verdict is expected.

The lawsuit has exposed RMA's throughout Texas as having unconstitutional board terms. Under House Bill 3588 an RMA board has 6 year terms. But, a provision in the State of Texas Constitution says a regional entity must be 2 years or less. The state constitution trumps state law.

The lawsuit has already caused a reaction in an attempt to fix the problem. State Representative Mike Krusee, who also authored the freeway tolling HB 3588 that caused the issue, proposed a constitutional amendment in the last session. HJR 79 will appear on the November 8, 2005 ballot, and will authorize the legislature to "provide for a six-year term for a board member of a regional mobility authority."

PET Officer and founder, Sal Costello said, "Mike Krusee, the special interests representative from Williamson County, is trying to tinker with our constitution. His work on the amendment to increase the current terms proves our lawsuit is valid and we should win this legal fight for all Texans. Texans should come out in droves in November to say NO to extending unelected RMA board members terms from 2 to 6 years. RMA's are wasteful buracracies. We need to get rid of these mini-TxDOT's."

Also, since the lawsuit was filed, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn concluded her RMA investigation called "A Need for a Higher Standard". It shows how an appointed board that is allowed to privatize and toll our freeways translates into a true double taxation without accountability, and that the RMA's loose management practices cost all Texans more. NOT surprisingly, Comptroller also found favoritism and self-enrichment as board members gave contracts (without bids) to their friends and their own companies. (http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05/)

The lawsuit, along with a recent focus on the RMA problems is causing a ripple effect for RMA's across Texas. Regions are now thinking twice about creating RMA's. "It opens the door to open-ended new taxation that will amount to THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN TEXAS HISTORY.” said Lyle Larson, Bexar County Commissioner

"RMA's represent Taxation without Representation. Unconstitutional, non-elected RMA board members should NOT be allowed to toll our freeways. RMA's are nothing more than a special-interest boondoggle, and the comptroller's report proves that.", commented PET Officer and founder, Sal Costello.

Along with People for Efficient Transportation, Inc., Hannah Riddering is a co-Plaintiff named in the lawsuit. During the past 18 years Riddering has made her living driving a taxi cab. "Because this toll plan will charge Texans a fee to drive on our freeways, it's an additional tax. It'll be an ongoing burden for the public and people like me who drive for a living." stated a concerned Ms. Riddering.

CONTACT: PET Officer, Sal Costello

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