“NTTA did not bid on SH 121 because of extortion by TxDOT.”
– Congressman Nick Lampson

WASHINGTON, D.C. - During a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Friday, and six weeks after a quadruple bypass, Congressman Nick Lampson (D-Stafford) peppered U.S. Department of Transportation ("DOT") Secretary Mary Peters with hard questions regarding DOT's interference with toll moritorium HB 1892.

The Texas Department of Transportation ("TxDOT") had recently coordinated with the DOT’s Federal Highway Administration ("FHWA"), resulting in letters to TxDOT that advocated the bill be stopped, therefor allowing our roads to be sold to private interests.

The bill now awaits a publicly acknowledged, forthcoming veto by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

"The federal government should not be interfering with Texas counties' control over their own toll roads, and more importantly, should not be interfering with any state issue, period," said Congressman Lampson. "I am pleased to be working with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison on this issue so that we can protect matters that are rightfully within the jurisdiction of the Texas state legislature."

At Friday's Committee hearing, Congressman Lampson questioned Secretary Peters as to why the DOT issued multiple letters highlighting its views on this particular state legislature issue. These letters, in no uncertain terms, threatened to block federal highway funding for state roads if H.B. 1892 is implemented in its current form as passed.

"County officials are rightfully upset about the actions of Governor Perry, TxDOT, and the FHWA, and I will continue to work with them and my Texan colleagues in Congress to address their concerns in the future," added Congressman Lampson.

Read Congressman Lampson's powerful statement from the hearing HERE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, sure looks like the fact that NTTA can pay 13 seperate lbbyists to push their assertions in Washington as well as DC while TxDOT has no voice. As a DFW area engineer who watches thse issues closely I know for fact that NTTA was allowed to bid and repeatedly tried to seek foregiveness in the contract terms and relief that TxDOT stood by unwavering against considerable pressures to insure the road users were protected from an NTTA proposal that would allow NTTA's board to raise tolls as high as needed to make the money putting all risk square on the toll road drivers. Now wether a fan of toll roads or not something were rates are contractually locked campared to a board who bids on oh if we don't make enough, we just get to charge more scare me to death, they screw up and I get the shaft. At least under private model if they screw up they get the shaft and I still get the same toll rates. I am sick to death of all the NTTA love fest by so many, TxDOT was mean to us their big bullies- what a bunch of whinny 2 year olds.

We did not get it our way so we are going to try to buy off politicians, sneaking in the back door through politics after private bids are open. They asked to compete, want different terms, drop out, politic their way back in after they know what other bid and then still make a proposal that does not meet all the terms on the CDA contract a main one being not guaranteeing to comply with the contract toll rates, they in thier propaganda machine "proposal overview" they conveniently talk about toll rates and will meet RTC rates, but have produced no commitment in writting.

Yes, and these are the people some north Texas politicans want in charge of our roads. While TxDOT may not always be the best at least they take their lumps like big boys and stand up with some general honesty. THey have only carried out the missions our elected officials set them out to do. Keep track on who the real enemy is elected officials who do nothing to correct issues in highway funding. No gas tax increase, no stopping diversions to other areas, no indexing the gas tax to try and keep up with inflation, and still trying to throw TxDOT in the path and say blame TxDOT. What a joke. Everytime I have worked with TxDOT on engineering and construction assingments they have been professional and very good to work with. The folks at TxDOT may not be sure just how big the problem is, but anyone in the highway construction and design industry knows the problem is large and it seems no one want to be serious about how to fix it. You may not like TxDOT solution and I can not say I am very fond of select toll roads, lets make a more uniform extra cost on all roadway users.