11/15/2007

Is Gov. Perry's TxDOT Backing Down?


Pro Toll Guru and editor of TollRoadsNews.com Peter Samuel says that the Perry/TxDOT Trans Texas Corridor 69 plans just unveiled is a definite retreat, as the TTC 69 plan pretty much abandons the new corridor concept and instead expands existing highways:

"This is a major political retreat. It may be a necessary one given the way the legislature rolled TxDOT policies on concessions with the moratorium written into SB792, but it is a retreat nonetheless."
I agree this is a small win, but even if TxDOT proceeds with this plan, there are different problems. Under this model TxDOT would not steal private rural land, but instead, it would steal existing right of way we’ve paid for with our tax dollars over the years and decades, and the new lanes would be built with our tax dollars, just like Sen. Watson's double tax tolls vote in Austin last month which diverted $910 million tax dollars to build toll roads. This model is a Double Tax.

Samuel also says there could be less tolling with this type of TTC 69 plan:
"Upgrade will likely reduce the role of tolling since tolls are more difficult to pitch to the public for an upgraded existing road than for a new one."
IS TXDOT RETREATING?

Perhaps this is another sign. A source told me that TxDOT’s chair, the chemically imbalanced Ric Williamson, has become too much of a political liability:
“Williamson is about to get the boot, too. Or should I say "re-assigned."
In Central Texas, Rep. Mike Krusee became too much of a liability as he was at the forefront of shifting existing Austin freeways to tollways on CAMPO for 2.5 years. Sen. Kirk Watson was brought in to replace Krusee as the lead in January 2007 and Krusee didn’t say another word as a board member. By October, Watson had his double tax toll votes lined up and CAMPO voted to spend nearly 1 billion tax dollars to shift existing freeways to toll ways.

So, is this a retreat or just musical chairs?

2 comments:

Peter Stern said...

My vote is "musical chairs".

Krusee is leaving because it's worth it to him. He will be at a different position where he can do more damage. Also, he will be in a position where he can make more money for himself and his special interests.

As for Williamson, can't stand the guy, Perry won't shoot him down yet. Sen. John Carona has been sick of the guy for a long time and as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation he either didn't want to create the waves needed to get rid of good ol' Ric, or he doesn't have enough clout to do it. I'm guessing the latter is accurate.

But I guess we'll see soon enough what will materialize.

www.pstern.statesmanblogs.com
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Anonymous said...

Retreating? Not likely.

Circling (like a shark?) Yes.