"Texas will soon run out of money to build highways"
Sen. Kim Brimer, 3/03
A document I just received from a TxDOT open records request reveals how Gov. Perry's TxDOT is not "broke" at all. TxDOT and other tollers continue to say we must toll Texas public highways because TxDOT has "run out of money". My October request was worded as follows:
"I would like the comprehensive balance as of October 13, 2005, of all TxDOT accessible accounts to see if TxDOT has run out of money."The document I received is titled, "Cash and Investments Controlled by TxDOT as of 10/13/05". This document shows TxDOT has a grand total of over $2.8 Billion.
(Total TxDOT Cash & Investments = $2,802,037,035)
The document also claims every single one of these dollars are "committed" or restricted. TxDOT uses the word "committed" for hundreds of millions, perhaps over 1 Billion tax dollars to pay for right of way and construction of public freeways - only to toll those tax funded roads at the last minute. This allows TxDOT an unaccountable revenue generating goose that lays golden eggs. Except it's Texas families who pay the golden toll.
Shifting public highways to tollways (Gov. Perry calls it "innovative financing") cost much more because the footprint is much larger. The maintenance and service of a tollway also costs more. And of course, the private toll industry also gets their cut. And, Gov. Rick Perry's radical freeway tolls come without "even a semblance of study" as a well respected pro-toller has stated.
The added bureaucracy of a regional mobility authority certainly is not efficient in these tight times. The added debt to build the more expensive freeway as a tollway is not cost efficient. The unelected toll authority setting the toll/tax rate for a public highway illustrates unaccountable double taxation. And, it is fair for one portion of a city or region to pay a toll to drive an expressway to work school or shop, while others drive free?
We currently have one tax in place for our public freeways - the gas tax. Does creating a second inefficient sloppy tax make any financial sense?
Does sitting on $2.8 Billion mean you're broke?