Gov. Perry's $2.8 Billion Dollar Lie.

"TxDOT has a funding crisis and
has run out of money."

Delvin Dennis, TxDOT Deputy District Engineer, 8/04

"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?

1 comment:

Sal Costello said...

Letter to Editor in statesman today:

Not distrust — disgust

Re: Nov. 10 editorial, "Optimism, patience in wake of sound defeat for gay Texans":

The editorial said, "Voters also rejected a proposed amendment to allow members of regional mobility authorities serve six-year terms rather than be limited to two-year terms. Anti-toll road groups probably had an effect on this issue, but voters might also be showing general distrust of public officeholders."

Truth is, it is not a general distrust of officeholders we feel. It is a total disgust and loathing in this putrid cesspool of special-interest muck and systemic corruption of government.

We are a sick republic. Nothing short of a radical peaceful revolution will save us from imploding.

How do we cure what ails us? Start with open, transparent government, mandate term limits for all elected officials, ban all campaign contributions not from private citizens registered to vote. Enforce existing laws and reform the tax code to make it simple and fair. That would be a starting point.

Thanks to all who voted against Proposition 9 to limit the inept status quo displayed by these public officeholders.