Third PBS&J Employee Sent to Prison - after pleading guilty to taking part in a $36 million embezzlement scheme.

U.S. Privatization Drive Slowed by Roadblocks

Last year bankers predicted cash-strapped state and city governments would sell or lease airports, toll roads and other public assets to investors with billions of dollars clamoring for stable, long-term returns.

Instead, public resistance, across the country, against such sales has caused government officials in many states to hesitate, slowing deal traffic to a crawl. Read the rest of the story HERE.

California City to Transform Red Light Cameras Into Spy Cameras


"The idea that there's this clique that knows best for the city (of Dallas) – I find that very patronizing and arrogant."

Reports suggest Fix290 parkway would be cheaper and more quiet than TxDOT's mega tollway.

Bruce Melton, at a press conference last Thursday, released a noise study that said elevated sections of TxDOT's options for Hwy. 290 would generate noise levels like those at the end of an airport runway.
Bruce Melton, at a press conference last Thursday, released a noise study that said elevated sections of TxDOT's options for Hwy. 290 would generate noise levels like those at the end of an airport runway. Click the headline to read story.


US House Votes to Ban Tolls on Pennsylvania Freeway

How Rick and Ric benefit while taxpayers pay more.

Gov. Rick Perry and his appointed TxDOT chair Ric Williamson claim Texas has run out of tax dollars to build any more free roads.

But, TxDOT, under the Perry and Williamson direction, is diverting billions of tax dollars, intended for free roads, into toll roads (where freeways should be). Then the toll road, that took the limited right of way for a public expressway, is sold off with back room deal called a Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA). A freeway toll tax monopoly, like SH 121 in Dallas, is created in secret.

And, even though Gov. Perry promised the 4,000 mile Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) would cost the public zero tax dollars, a recent state auditors report reveals the TTC has already cost taxpayers $90 million, and not even one mile has been built.

When the railroad was first laid down in the United States, crafty businessmen could contribute to officials who would decide the exact path of the railroad. Businesses near the railroad would have a vast advantage over those who where not. Being able to transporting goods and services cheaper than your competitors can pumps up profits, and kill competitors.

A 1997 financial statement from Rick Perry, the last financial public statement before his investments would be locked into a trust, shows how Perry has interests in MKS Consulting, an oil and gas company that Ric Williamson and his wife run.

MKS Consulting will benefit from the TTC, which will include enormous underground pipes to transport oil, gas and other utilities. Those TTC pipelines will pass only miles away from Weatherford Texas, which is the home office of MKS Consulting and hometown of Ric Williamson.

Should a rogue Governor and his close pal benefit while taxpayers pay more for wildly unpopular policies?

Also of interest, Ric Williamson’s hometown of Weatherford was one of the very first cities to receive “pass through financing” from TxDOT, a rare no toll financing option to build a free road in Texas today.

And, just weeks ago, TxDOT gave Weatherford Texas a grant (paid for with tax dollars, intended for freeways we can “no longer afford”) which will pay for Weatherford's police overtime.


"Yet another unbridled tax and another tool to intrude on privacy by tracking the movements of vehicles."

Is Cintra-Zachry a nonprofit consortium? 'SH 130 Concession Co.' claims Cintra-Zachry's lease agreement "will expire when it recoups its investment."


Tollers claim the planned managed lanes (tolls) on MoPAC will lessen traffic congestion. How is this done? By charging up to $1.00 a mile, and pricing people out of their cars - like the managed lanes in California (Hwy 91) see the photo above. Note how managed lanes create traffic congestion.

Under the guise of “managed lanes”, the plan to toll Austin's Mopac (Loop 1) Expressway is underway. What makes these tolls unique, as well as most new Texas tollways, is that the toll you pay does not pay for the road you are driving on. The new toll lanes are already paid for.

The construction for new Mopac toll lanes are 100% tax funded and the right of way is 100% tax funded. These new lanes could and should be open as free lanes.

So who voted to toll these MoPAC lanes we’ve already paid for? WHO VOTED FOR THE MOPAC DOUBLE TAX? According to CAMPO, the vote took place in January of 2004:

Brewster "Double Tax" McCracken, Austin Council Member
(ALERT: Brewster will run for Mayor next year!)
Mike Krusee, State Representative
Mark Strama, State Representative
Bob Daigh, TxDOT District Engineer
Dawnna Dukes, State Representative
Dan Gattis, State Representative
Gerald Daugherty, County Commisioner
Will Wynn, Austin Mayor
and others.

These double taxers keep voting to toll roads we’ve already paid for and they star in this online movie.

The managed lanes create more gridlock as people try to cross over 3 lanes to enter and cross over 3 lanes to exit the center managed/toll lanes!


Based on the recent Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) 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.

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TxDOT’s Latest Con Game: FM 1826 vs. SH 21

TTC lobbyists pool war chests, plot PR offensive on Washington

Firms Forming Pro-P3 Lobbying Group

by Humberto Sanchez
The Bond Buyer

WASHINGTON — A Wall Street investment bank and two foreign firms seeking to invest in U.S. transportation infrastructure are backing an effort to form a lobbying group that will promote public-private partnerships to lawmakers in the wake of concerns raised about whether these deals are in the public interest.

The group, identified as the Coalition for Strengthening America’s Infrastructure, has been provided “seed funding” by Goldman, Sachs & Co., Macquarie Bank Ltd., Transurban Group, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials, which represents the state transportation departments in Washington, according to preliminary promotional documents obtained by The Bond Buyer. The documents did not disclose how much money was provided.

Peter Loughlin, with Loughlin Enterprises LLC, a lobbyist and attorney who is putting the coalition together, declined to comment for this article other than to say that the coalition is still in the formative stage and that the group’s membership has not been fully determined.

The firms involved in the effort also were reluctant to talk about the creation of the new lobbying group. A spokesman for Goldman declined to comment. A spokesman for Macquarie said the bank has not provided seed money, but has been involved with the group-forming effort. And a spokeswoman for Transurban said that while the company provided an unspecified amount of funding, it stipulated that the payment was for Loughlin to explore the formation of the group and not to fund the group’s operations.

AASHTO did not return a phone call seeking comment and sources said it has backed out of the coalition because not all of its members support P3s.

Group organizers hosted a “kick-off meeting,” titled “A Call To Action” on June 22 in New York City where former New York Gov. George E. Pataki, one-time U.S. House Majority leader Dick A. Gephardt, former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, and the prior acting U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Maria Cino all spoke in favor of P3s, according to sources.

They were unavailable for comment.

The coalition would broadly “focus on education and advocacy” and “pursue an agenda … that ensures public-private partnership solutions remain available as a financing and delivery tool to enhance our nation’s transportation system,” according to the promotional documents.

The group would also “work towards removing legislative and regulatory barriers that restrict the full utilization of public-private partnerships and opposing any efforts to impose additional restrictions on public-private partnerships,” the documents said.

In addition, the coalition would support increased federal transportation funding to state and local governments, but “with public-private partnerships positioned as viable, available, and sound alternatives.”

Another goal of the group is to counter criticism from Congress and Americans for a Strong National Highway Network, a group formed in February to oppose highway privatization deals. Members of the P3 opposition group include the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents small business truckers, and the American Trucking Association.

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Governor Perry Uses Fuzzy Toll Road Math In Letter To Congress

The Taxman Hits, in the Guise of a Traffic Cop

The New York Times

SHORT of cash and long of arm, the State of Virginia recently unveiled the nation’s first $1,050 speeding ticket.

You have to go 20 miles an hour over the speed limit to get that one; but under a new set of rules there are now a whole host of violations considered “reckless driving” that subject errant Virginia drivers to fines of $1,050 to $3,000 — plus court costs, if you fight and lose. The money will be spent on maintaining roads and bridges, safety improvements and closing a $500 million gap that emerged in last year’s transportation budget.

All over the country, supporting safety improvements on the wages of reckless driving has become a tradition. But in the relations between government and its citizens, the four-digit traffic ticket also seems to signal a leap in the use of fines and fees — and just about any other form of enhanced governmental income production — to avoid the dreaded thing itself, a tax increase.

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Fix290.org on Fox News - Oak Hill Neighbors Say Tollway will be Too Noisy - Offer Better Option

AUSTIN -- Some Oak Hill neighbors say their community's going to sound like an airport runway if the Texas Department of Transportation builds a proposed tollway. FOX 7's Will Jensen has reaction from both sides.


Millionaire Senator Kirk Watson is found to be on the Special Interests Payroll (and His Plan for Texas Domination is Revealed).

This article was originally published on this blog in April. Watson's conflicts of interests have yet to be covered by the mainstream press.

Millionaire Senator Kirk Watson is found to be on the Special Interests Payroll (and His Plan for Texas Domination is Revealed).

Records show that one month after Sen. Kirk Watson became chair of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) -- an organization that directs billions of road dollars in Central Texas -- Watson was put on the payroll of special interest developers who profit from important transportation decisions.

Watson has failed to mention the conflict of interest at any CAMPO meeting and has yet to recuse himself from any vote that benefits his developer clients - who have finacial interests across Central Texas.

After months of back door meetings with CAMPO board members in 2006, and at Watson’s very first CAMPO meeting in January 2007, Watson not only became a board member, but also became chair of the all powerful organization. Also at that first meeting, Watson altered the CAMPO rules so other board members would no longer be able to place an item on the agenda - unless it is approved by Watson and his hand selected executive committee.

To summarize, within one CAMPO meeting in January, Sen. Watson became member, Chair and gatekeeper of an organization that directs billions of taxpayer transportation dollars in Central Texas.

In February 2007, only one month later, Watson registered as a lobbyist for numerous developers who will directly benefit from Watson’s chairmanship of CAMPO. Records from the City of Austin show Watson as a lobbyist for:
• Zydeco Development

• Goodnight Tract

• Second Congress, LTD

• Wells Branch Utility District
Last year Zydeco Development and partner Atlantis Properties announced they would double the size of their already massive Met Center Business Park (has six hotels) at Texas 71 and Riverside Drive. Zydeco tenants include General Motors Corp., Progressive insurance, Waste Management Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Marriott International Inc. Zydeco Development’s website has Diane Jaspan Librach, Rebecca Nixon, David Sheldon and Howard Yancy listed as Zydeco leadership.

Second Congress, LTD has plans to have the tallest building in Austin by 2009. The Austonian, a 55-story, $200 million condominium tower will rise 670 feet from the ground. Construction is due to begin the summer of 2007, with the 195 luxury units, according to David Mahn, project vice president for Second Congress Ltd. Units starting at $500,000.

Goodnight Tract is most likely Terry Mitchell’s “Austin Goodnight Ranch L.P.”, which is related to Momark Development LLC. Goodnight Ranch has about 700 acres near the intersection of Slaughter Lane and I-35. Even though current traffic congestion is an issue and water is very limited, the development plan includes 4,200 homes and apartments, and 260,000 square feet of office and retail.

It’s no secret that developers, as the toll lobby, have been one of the key forces to place toll booths on roads we’ve already paid for in Central Texas. And those same developers who bought out our representatives in 2004, to ignore the 93% of the public feedback that opposed Central Texas freeway tolls, are now pushing Kirk Watson to sell us managed lanes (tolls on freeway lanes we’ve already paid for). MOPAC is the latest target for this double tax.

Developers are notorious for buying cheap land, away from city cores, and pay off our representatives to make the public foot the bill - for roads to their property. That's how the “Circle of Payola” works.

Watson stars in this popular "Circle of Payola" YouTube VIDEO.

We pay for the developers roads (or toll roads, or managed lanes) - our representatives sell out the public for fat cat pay offs - the developer gets filthy rich.

Watson is well known to be a special interest politico. Watson's back door secret deal with Intel (when he was Mayor of Austin) cost city taxpayers $7.5 million in subsidies. Intel didn’t hold up their end of the deal (didn’t finish construction of the building), left us with the “Intel shell” eye sore and ran off with $7.5 million worth of subsidies.

And, Watson’s City of Austin Prop 1, of the year 2000, diverted a whopping $67.2 million of our bond dollars, intended for free roads, into the toll roads Central Texans drive today.

And this year in the Senate, Watson has proposed many bills that benefit his special interest pals at the public’s expense. Such as Watson’s SB 1184 anti-citizen bill, which would dramatically increase the signatures needed for citizen initiated charter amendments. For example, Watson’s proposal would raise Austin's required signatures from 20,000 to 40,000, and in Houston they would need five times the signatures.

And, of course there is Watson's SB 1688 (Mike Krusee's teamed up with Watson and put up the version for the house side of the ledge) that for the first time in Texas, creates a whole new way to tax people. A tax district for people who live near toll roads. So if you live near the toll road and you don't drive on it, you still pay!

AND, WATSON'S DOMINATION AND DESTRUCTION OF TEXAS IS JUST GETTING STARTED. A recent Democratic Senatorial Campaign Commitee report mentions Watson as a possible U.S. Senator candidate.

Texas Legislature Continues to Divert Gas Tax Funds


$1.6 Billion to be DIVERTED from building and maintaining Texas Freeways to justify converting our freeways to tollways

"They've simply abdicated their responsibility to fixing our highway system and now they're coming into communities and saying, 'Well, we gotta toll it,'" said Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson.

Click the headline above to read the whole story.


Two on Toll Roads

Two on Toll Roads

By Eye On Williamson

Sen. Kirk Watson (D - Austin) pens an editorial on transportation in today’s AAS, We’ll pay for problems with more than tolls. While he does make a valid point that something has to be done, he doesn’t really offer any suggestions or say what he believes we should do, other than stop bashing toll roads. He just says that “warring over those tools should no longer be acceptable”, whatever that means.

What Sen. Watson does is what so many politicians do, he lumps all tolls together as if they’re all the same. Most people, and I say most, myself included, are not against all toll roads. We are against corporate toll roads, and while would still not prefer toll roads to those financed by a much more broad-based tax, can accept those if that’s what the people want. I won’t go into that here, again, if you want to read about that search the archives. It’s an important distinction because toll roads done without corporate profit as the goal are much cheaper for the taxpayer/driver/consumer.

I would hope that Sen. Watson will make that distinction in the future and stop doing what so many try to do, paint those of us that are against corporate toll roads as being against all toll roads, no matter the particulars

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Texas Farm Bureau: "The governor has done a great disservice to rural and urban property owners."


TxDOT keeping toll road designs secret from the public

TxDOT still mum on 290 design options

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has advised the Save Our Springs Alliance (SOSA) that it believes the new designs for Highway 290 West are not public information and are seeking an opinion from the Attorney General’s office to support that theory. In a letter to the Attorney General, Sharon Alexander, TxDOT associate general counsel, said, “TxDOT asserts that the requested information may be excepted from disclosure under the Public Information Act.”

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Toll Authority chair Tesch, who refused to resign for conflicts of interests, now begins new term.

The Statesman reports that Robert Tesch, who was asked to resign two years ago, now begins a new term as chair of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA):

“Robert Tesch, a Cedar Park developer who has chaired the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board since shortly after the agency's 2002 start, will begin a new term this week. Tesch's two-year original term expired more than two years ago, and he had been serving as a holdover ever since, a matter of some concern given that toll opponents had sued successfully to stop board members serving more than two years. But Gov. Rick Perry reappointed Tesch on May 11, and the Senate confirmed him without holding a hearing.”
This shocking news takes place two years after the Texas Comptroller asked him to resign because his property near the toll authorities first project (183A) had increased over 900% in value!

The Comptroller’s report also found Tesch, along with other board members, handed out NO BID contracts to himself and his friends.

On March 9, 2005, Comptroller Strayhorn asked for the immediate resignation of chair Robert Tesch:
"In order to build public confidence that is so necessary for the CTRMA and other Regional Mobility Authorities to be successful, I am calling for the immediate resignation of Chairman Robert Tesch and board member Johanna Zmud. Chairman Tesch's personal holdings and Johanna Zmud's business interests should have prevented their appointments in the first place. "Both of these board members stand to gain financially as a direct result of their positions on CTRMA's board, which is why I am calling for their immediate resignations," Strayhorn said.
Public records show that Chairman Robert Tesch’s property valuation (less any improvements) of an 18-acre tract, which lies about 2,000 feet east of future US 183-A right of way, by 2005 had already increased by 612% percent since the time of his appointment to the CTRMA board, another piece of land had increased 989%.

Zmud resigned a year after the comptrollers report came out. Chairman Robert Tesch has REFUSED to resign.

In January 2003 Bob Tesch was appointed by Gov. Perry, even though his Governors Appointment Application spelled out he had previously defaulted on "personal, business or student loan(s)", not to mention a bankruptcy in Dallas and pending foreclosure in Plano. Apparently Gov. Perry’s standards are not that high when it comes to unelected people that will set the toll rate for freeways we’ve already paid for.

In 2005 Robert Tesch had yet another bankruptcy.

U.S. Taxpayers to Fund Mexican Infrastructure

Lou Dobbs June 21st, 2007. Judicial watch found documents through a FOIA request showing that U.S. will foot the bill to pay for Mexican infrastructure via the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

Red Light Camera Increased Accident Rate 45 Percent