5/26/2007

UPDATED: Toll Moratorium (SB 792) Is A Sham - AND HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP IT TODAY.

Our representatives would rather have a summer vacation than
do the states business properly with a special session.

UPDATES IN GREEN

The so called toll moratorium, Gov. Perry's SB 792, actually makes things worse for Texans as it allows local authorities to have the same powers we were trying to take away from TxDOT. THIS HORRIBLE BILL WILL BE VOTED ON LATE SATURDAY (TODAY). TAKE ACTION NOW - SEE THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE.

That means a bunch of mini TxDOT's out there being able to sell our public highways (freeways) to private companies as toll roads. And, the new “market valuations” in 792 just tightens the noose.

This compromise bill injects “market valuations” into PUBLIC toll projects, which equals the highest possible tolls!

No wonder why Mr. 39% likes this sham of a bill. And, Perry can claim he signed the toll moratorium bill on the campaign trail when he runs in 2010, to inoculate himself from his dreaded TTC and freeway tolls.

Citizens who think this is a toll moratorium have been sold a bill of goods. Without amendment #13, it's full of loop holes. 792 also includes more ways to shift our freeways to tollways.

SB 792 INCREASES UNACCOUNTABILITY!

Under SB 792, ALL TOLL PROJECTS MUST USE "market valuation" (Sec 228.0111) to set toll rates and toll escalation. Those monies WILL NOT BE REGULATED BY NEPA. Therefore, TxDOT will have a WHOLE NEW UNREGULATED revenue stream to possibly build highways:

• WITHOUT a PUBLIC HEARING
• WITHOUT studying the human, social, economic, health and environmental impacts
• WITHOUT studying alternatives
Proof The Moratorium Is A Sham - Perry is FOR it:
“Today’s action ensures that Texas will continue to have the tools needed to support the states booming population and economic growth,” Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody said.”
Tip to Eye on WilCo

The Will Lutz article about SB 792. “Does the Toll Road Bill Repeat Mistakes of 2003?”, says it best:
“A further flaw is it allows continuation of current policy, whereby the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) may require up-front “concession fees” in exchange for building some new toll projects. The tolls that pay these concession fees are taxes, not user fees, because concession fees result in tolls over and above the amount required to build and maintain the road. Since the fees are paid back over time from toll revenue, it increases the burden of debt on our children and grandchildren.

In short, concession fees, which are continued by the “market valuation” language in SB 792, allow the government to raise taxes and do off-budget spending in a manner concealed to the public and without proper legislative oversight and authorization.”
So, what should our Representatives do now?
1) Vote down SB 792.

2) Override Mr. 39% with HB 1892 (which will automatically call a special session)

3) We need the Special Session to get the job done right.
None of these will happen because our representatives would rather have a summer vacation than do the states business properly.

So what's the real answer?
1) De-Elect all incumbents until they get it right.
Based on the recent Governor's Business Council report, indexing the gas tax and placing the incremental revenue in the mobility fund to pay off bonds allows us to build the roads we need now, without more toll roads. And this common sense solution costs 30 times less than tolls.


4 comments:

Sal Costello said...

EMAIL FROM A REPORTER FROM A MAJOR TEXAS NEWSPAPER:

"You made my day...the photo cracked me up!"

Sal Costello said...

the above quote was about this article.

Robert said...

I sent the email. Let's stop this BS. What kind of Republicans are these guys??? I'm a moderate Democrat and I'm more conservative than these con artists.

Sal Costello said...

FROM BRANDON:

Bush 1 made the ability to sell off the infrastructure possible with this Executive Order he signed while he was prez.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=23625

President Bush's Executive Order (No. 12803) on Infrastructure Privatization of April 30, 1992 cleared away federal barriers to cities and states selling or leasing existing public works infrastructure to private investors. This report reviews the potential for state and local governments to make use of the new option granted them by the Executive Order.

Selling infrastructure enterprises can provide financial benefits to all three levels of government. For hard-pressed state and local governments that sell these assets, the immediate gain is the one-time retrieval of their capital, for use on other pressing needs. Local governments will thenceforth benefit from ongoing property tax payments, as formerly exempt
highways, bridges, airports, water systems, and waste disposal facilities
are added to the tax base. Each enterprise that is privatized also
represents a new stream of state and federal corporate tax revenues. And the
federal government will receive the depreciated value of its previous grant
investment, at the time of sale.

Privatization of infrastructure is a worldwide phenomenon. Airports have
been privatized in Britain; seaports in Britain and several Asian nations;
water supply in Argentina, Britain, and France; electric and gas utilities
in a number of countries; and highways in many parts of Europe, Asia, and
Latin America.

Based largely on this international experience, estimations of the market
value of privatized infrastructure are derived in this report. Applied to
the numbers of commercial infrastructure enterprises owned by cities and
states, valuation rules of thumb yield estimates of the potential sales
value which cities and states could realize via privatization. This
preliminary estimate is $227 billion.

In light of the easing of federal policy and the sizable potential benefits, state and local governments should consider the transfer of public assets to the private sector.