The Money Trail for TTC Primer (SH 130)

Tollers Rep. Mike Krusee, Rep Dawnna Dukes, Mayor Nyle Maxwell, Amadeo Saenz, Phil Russell, Robert Tesch and others show up to cut the ribbon for the heavy new albatross for Texans - SH 130, the primer for the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC).

Think the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) is just a "pie in the sky" idea?

Think again.

Texans are actually driving on the first portion of the TTC today - thanks to corrupt politicos like Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kirk Watson.

SH 130, known for years as the primer for the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC), was opened just months ago. About 10 miles East of Downtown Austin the 49-mile tollway extends from Interstate 35 north of Georgetown southward to U.S. 183 southeast of Austin, passing though Williamson and Travis Counties. To date traffic flow is much lighter than was projected.

At $1.5 Billion, SH 130 is the most expensive road project in Texas history, and now that some time has passed, we can see who has been feeding at the trough.

In back room deals since 1999, far from the public eye, politicos like Gov. Perry and Kirk Watson helped make SH 130 a reality. NOTE: This is not an exhaustive report.

A Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA), for the development of SH 130 was signed between the state of Texas and Lone Star Infrastructure (LSI) on June 19, 2002. The first highway to be developed under a CDA in Texas. Created by HB 3588 of 2003, CDA’s are secret road and land development contracts that hand over our tax dollars, our public highways, our right of way, and our private property to private corporations for profit - but, the public was not allowed to see the contract.

"Since 1997, Perry has received more than $1 million
from highway interests, according to reports
filed with the Texas ethics commission."

Sen. Kirk Watson's Prop 1 from the year 2000 diverted $67 million city bond dollars (promised for Austin freeways) into SH 130 and 45N toll roads.

The debt created for SH 130 was grouped along with loop 1 and 45 North toll roads. TxDOT borrowed $2.2 BILLION.

How much will that debt cost our kids?

$7.2 Billion in debt, $1.1 billion in operations costs, $752 million in routine maintenance and $388 million for long-term maintenance must be paid back over the next 35 years. And actual traffic since the toll roads opened don’t live up to the projected traffic promised. Austin new toll roads SH 130, 45N and Loop 1 tolls are performing at only 73% of the promised traffic projections! - all according to this Statesman article.

This early TTC project didn't go to Cintra, it went to Lone Star Infrastructure (LSI), a Fluor-led consortium built SH 130. But who is LSI? Lone Star Infrastructure (LSI) Member Companies:
  • Fluor Daniel Gave $72,000 in contributions to elected officials and for special interest PACs (such as Yes on 2 & 5) which changed Texas law for toll profiteers from 2001-2004.
"...Governor Rick Perry received $30,000 from
California based Fluor Corp... less than a week
before the corporation signed a 1.5 Billion state
contract to build Texas I-30 toll road."
– Houston Chronicle, 8/02
  • Southwest Strategies Group, Inc. Also the lead developer of the $100 million Seaholm redevelopment in downtown Austin. Sen. Kirk Watson, has been the lead negotiator for the City of Austin on the Seaholm project at a rate of $450 taxpayer dollars an hour.
  • Balfour Beatty Construction, Inc. Department of Justice finacial fraud
  • DMJM + HARRIS (parent Co - AECOM) The Revolving Door
  • Austin Road & Bridge (Austin Bridge & Road) Gave $16,500 in contributions to elected officials and for special interest PACs which changed Texas law for toll profiteers from 2001-2004.
  • T.J. Lambrecht Construction, Inc.
  • Edelman
  • Dr. Dan Zollinger
  • S&B Infrastructure, Ltd.
  • SWG&M Advertising, Inc.
  • Hicks & Company
  • TBE Group, Inc.
  • VMS, Inc.
  • UNINTECH Consulting Engineers, Inc.
  • Raba Kistner Consultants, Inc.
  • Menon Consortium Inc.
  • Jones Bros., Inc.
  • Bridgefarmer & Associates, Inc.
  • Macias & Associates, Inc.
  • O.R. Colan Associates, Inc.
  • Dr. Dallas Little, P.E.
  • CTL/Thompson, Inc.
  • Atkins-Benham
  • Landtech Consultants
  • Yvonne Newman Engineering, Inc.
  • Turner Collie & Braden, Inc.
  • and others
It’s unknown what elected officials (or their families) might be owners of stock in any of the corporations above.

Financial corporations who profit off the massive debt/financing for 130 and 45 & loop 1 tolls:
  • Salomon Smith Barney
  • Goldman Sachs Lehman Bros
  • Estrada Hinojosa & Co, Inc.
  • Morgan, Keegan & Co.
  • Ramirez & Co, Inc.
  • Siebert Brandford Shank & Co, LLC,
  • SWS Securities
  • Lehman Bros
These filthy rich profiteers even had the nerve to get tax breaks, by getting a “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise” (DBE) designation. It’s unknown how many millions of tax dollars subsidized this project. Segments 5 and 6 for SH 130 will begin construction in 2009.

An Official Statement for SH 130 bonds from 2002 says the revenue forecasts in the Traffic and Revenue Report are based on the "assumption that motor fuel will remain in adequate supply" and "motor fuel prices will not exceed $2.50 per gallon", over the next 40 years. That is not a typo. With gas shooting over $3.00 a gallon, all bets are off.

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Anonymous said...

And don't forget the non-compete clause that gives TxDOT a financial incentive to artificially lower speed limits on I-35, not to mention ignore all of the free roads surrounding 130, thanks to the wording requiring compensation to the developer if improvements cause a reduction in traffic on the tollway. Think TxDOT is going to bite the bullet and pay up because it's the right thing to do for the traveling public? I think not!

Anonymous said...

The non-compete clause will result in the existing roads surrounding the newly constructed corridor to deteriorate. The contractor has it made. No way can they lose. If the state doesn't comply and fixes or improve the roads, they have to pay the contractor for the tolls lost. If they don't fix the roads, then the public will complain until they do, or force them to use the tollroad. Guess who pays for either option? But, this time bomb won't go off for quite a while, assuming the existing roads will hold together for a period of time, and by then the politicos will have pushed much more toll road construction through, probably with more non-compete clauses. Anyone that signs a contract with a non-compete clause should be fired, as a minimum, and charges filed against them. What am I missing on this? Why, oh why, are we putting up with this kind of governmental fraud ? Can't charges be brought against the person or persons that did this, or against TxDOT ?

Anonymous said...

I've read on this blog that Terri Hall and other lawyers are working to sue TxDOT. That, and electing the right officials and removing the incumbents (in general) is the way to fight.