BREAKING NEWS: State Auditor Warns TTC Costs and Benefits are Unknown.

Updated 2/24

A new astonishing State Auditor's Office report, raises grave concerns as the highest ranking Auditor in the state is unable to decipher how much the first part of the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) project will actually cost, even though the first Cintra/TxDOT contract was signed two years ago.

The Audit also reveals TxDOT downplayed costs and withheld information.

The report focused on the Texas Department of Transportation's first of many sections of the TTC, the TTC-35 Comprehensive Development Agreement with Cintra-Zachry, LP.

Perhaps the most shocking part of the report is the fact that TxDOT could be required to forgo ALL the revenue it’s claimed the state would receive.

The revenue TxDOT promised to members of the legislature, the public and the press, has been one of the key selling points that TxDOT has used time and time again.

This new information ads fuel to the fire as thousands of Texans have attended public hearings to oppose the TTC. Many are outraged over TxDOT’s 90 day forceable eminent domain “quick-take” for over 500,000 acres of private land.

The report states that accounting “misallocations and exclusions” of work done to date on the 50 year contract, are of concern. Pulled from the report:

"Weaknesses in the Department’s accounting for project costs and monitoring of the developer create risks that the public will not know how much the State pays for TTC-35 or whether those costs were appropriate.

Not adequately monitoring developers also exposes the State to future financial liability.”
And, 53% of TTC-35 costs to date were incorrectly allocated to other projects. Invoices included hours billed that could not be tied to any progress reports or tasks performed. The report also states:
“The Department omitted indirect costs of $906,774 in fiscal year 2005 and $583,642 in fiscal year 2004.”
Also, from the summery:
There is a lack of reliable information regarding projected toll road construction costs, operating expenses, revenue, and developer income.”
UPDATE: The Houston Chonicle and Statesman offer articles, "Audit rebukes corridor costs, Report says TxDOT estimates unreliable for Trans-Texas plan" and "Auditor scolds agency for corridor project, Texas Department of Transportation downplayed costs, withheld information, audit says".

In 2005, the State Comptroller came out with an investigative report showing how Regional Mobility Authoritys that privatize and toll public highways are creating double taxation, by diverting tax dollars intended for free roads, into toll roads. The report also showed RMA board members giving no-bid contracts to themselves and their friends. Board members of RMA's have property in the vicinity of toll roads that have increased by as much as 989%.

Bureaucracy always costs more, and it allows much more waste and fraud.

The Texas Transportation Institute report that came out just weeks ago stated that tolls would NOT be needed if we indexed the gas tax to inflation, like most products and services we purchase.

The cost per mile for tolls, under the new TxDOT, is more than 15 times the cost of indexing the gas tax.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How much more can we take from these crooks? Ever hear of the straw that broke the camels back?