Sen. Kirk Watson vs. TxDOT!
The war is on! - Heated letters went out this week between TxDOT and Sen. Kirk Watson of CAMPO.
But, it's not a fight over whether Austin freeways are toll taxed or not toll taxed.
The fight is about which pot of your tax dollars pays for the double tax tolls! Just last fall, Sen. Kirk Watson and others voted to divert $910 million tax dollars promised from TxDOT, to shift Austin public highways like 183, 290E, 290W, 71E and 71W, into toll roads.
But soon after the CAMPO toll vote last October, TxDOT cried wolf and said they didn't have the $910 million, that CAMPO would need to find the tax dollars themselves, since CAMPO would benefit from the revenue generation scheme of tolling freeways. I wrote about this flair up between Sen. Watson and Ric Williamson in December HERE.
A reliable source now says all or most of the MPO's in the state have coordinated and produced a similar letter to Sen. Kirk Watson's. I would guess that it was Watson's idea to coordinate, since he's been trying to wrestle tax dollars from TxDOT for freeway toll roads for months.
The letter from Sen. Watson (CAMPO), dated 3/24/08, to TxDOT includes these interesting lines, exposing that TxDOT is hiding money:
"It is my understanding that TxDOT has accumulated a balance of Transportation Development Credits approaching $110,000,000, and that these credits are available."This ongoing toller vs. toller battle over our tax dollars has slowed the process of shifting our freeways to tollways. You could call it a slow dance of thieves, or a negotiation over which pot of money to divert tax dollars from. It's all the same unaccountable crap.
" ...(these) credits are eligible to be used as the 20 percent local match..."
"...with the state producing additional credits every year."