$afety for Sale in Texas.

Just like everything else that isn’t bolted down,
safety is now for sale in Texas with
Gov. Perry at the helm.

The Statesman did an article today about TxDOT's possible plan to get more money by raising the speed limit on the new south SH 130 called “Money could create need for speed on Texas 130”. TollRoadsNews.com broke the story first HERE.

TollRoadsNews.com states:
The open embrace of a financial approach to setting speeds on a tollroad may be judged either bold or foolhardy.
The Statesman article states:
With a higher allowable speed, logic dictates that more drivers would choose the toll road, which will run east of Austin, as an alternative to Interstate 35. And more vehicles equals more toll revenue, boosting Cintra-Zachry's income.

Under that scenario, the state would be irresponsible if it did not try to recoup more revenue for taxpayers, said Phil Russell, director of the Texas Department of Transportation's turnpike division. As for the safety questions raised by that higher speed, Russell said the agency is working on design standards for the Trans-Texas Corridor, a proposed 4,000-mile network of toll roads, that would make them as safe at 85 mph as interstates are at 70 mph.
And Perry’s TxDOT keeps on shoveling:
"Whatever the speed limit is, we're going to make sure our design standards can accommodate it," Russell said Monday.
In this LA Times article on 80 mph speed limits Texas, TxDOT officials say fuel efficiency and accidents are not thier concern:
Texas transportation officials say concerns about fuel efficiency or the possibility of increased accidents are not their department.

"I can't speak to fuel economy," TxDOT's Mark Cross said. "I'm sure it will have some impact, but it's not really our department to consider it…. We do not forecast accidents or fatality increases — that is not something we routinely look at."

Engineers calculate that drivers burn 7% more gas per mile for every 5-mph increase in speed above 60 mph.
So what exactly is their department? It amazes me that the Texas Dept. of Transportation takes such a myopic view of their job. Certainly when they design highways, safety measures are a prime concern and speed has to be one of those.

So you might ask, how much more money does Gov. Perry's toll happy TxDOT get? This from the Statesman's article:
The contract contemplates that Cintra-Zachry would pay the state an upfront concession fee of $25 million and 4.65 percent of toll revenue until total revenue reaches certain thresholds in any given year. Then the portion for the state would grow to 9.3 percent until a second revenue threshold is reached, jumping to 50 percent after that.

But that is only if the speed limit is 70 mph.

The contract says that if the speed limit is 80 mph, the upfront payment would be $92 million. At 85 mph, the payment would be $125 million.
What will the higher speed limit COST US? (Just some lives and more of our money)

Set aside the fact that Texas infrastructure is being sold off to a Spanish corporation with a secret deal. Let’s get down to brass tacks. What are you and your family worth to Gov. Perry and his highway henchmen?...The following statement was NOT in the Statesman article. I found this in a recent Safe Roads press release:
"Nearly 40 percent of the 3,600 people killed on Texas roads in 2004 were speed-related crashes," said Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety President Judie Stone. "With these types of crashes costing Texas nearly $3.5 billion annually, raising speed limits to 80mph (or 85 mpg) is a deadly, dangerous and irresponsible act."

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