Gov. Perry sticks to privatization for toll roads

By MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER, The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry promised to keep fighting for private toll roads and his other transportation priorities Tuesday during his first major speech on the subject since the death in December of transportation commission chairman Ric Williamson.

"This is a place for big challenges, not big excuses," he told state Transportation Department employees and highway experts from around the country at the annual Transportation Forum.

Next year's legislative session, he said, can't be anything like last year's.

"The Legislature must understand that 'no' is not a solution," Mr. Perry said. "It is an abdication of responsibility."

Before last year's stormy session, lawmakers had steadily expanded Texas' ability to partner with private firms to develop toll roads in Texas.

"There remain many, many financial institutions who are ready, willing and able to invest their money to build the roads we need," Mr. Perry said Tuesday.

Across America, states from Georgia to Indiana to Pennsylvania – all facing huge road-funding deficits – have actively considered following Texas' example and seeking out private toll road deals. The results have been mixed, but since last year, those same companies' welcome in Texas has been uncertain.

In 2007, legislators rebelled over Mr. Perry's ambitious push for toll roads and privatization, demanding greater roles for public agencies such as the North Texas Tollway Authority.

Mr. Perry said lawmakers and voters alike reacted too quickly to an idea they may not have fully understood.

"Too often these debates over highways have been driven by emotion and not reason," he said. "As a result, honest debate has been stifled, and progress has been sacrificed on the altar of politics."

With Texas adding 1,500 people a day, Mr. Perry said the cost of building and maintaining the state's roads is far beyond what tax revenues will pay for. Only by inviting private firms to invest their billions in toll roads can Texas build its way out of its increasingly congested traffic jams, he argues.

Mr. Perry and his transportation department have said private companies often are willing to pay more for toll road contracts. They also agree to take on risks that have traditionally been borne by the public, such as the risk that traffic will be less than expected on a toll road.

In addition, he argues that competition with private companies helps boost toll rates, and forces even public toll authorities such as NTTA to pay more for the right to collect tolls.

Critics, however, have said it is the transportation department that has insisted for too long on building highways its own way, with too little input from the Legislature.

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Anonymous said...

Look Governor Asshole,

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, is in any hurry to give anybody anything in this deal. The tooth fairy does not exist. This is about a feeding frenzy of thieves dividing up and walking off with the private and public assets of the people of Texas.

There is no Trans Texas Corridor without moving thousands of Texans off their land and not compensating them for it. People could recover from a dozen fires, but there's no recovery from this.

It requires raiding the pensions of teachers and state employees to prop up these deals, because TTC's and toll roads of themselves don't cash flow.

Nobody's giving anything. Texas and her people are being liquidated by you and your buddies.

Peter Stern said...

Perry continues to promote "deregulation" and privatization of our roadways as yet another competitive perk so that cost will be less to the consumer.

Let me remind all of you that Perry's promises mean NOTHING!

Look at the deregulation of higher education tuition, electric costs, health care, etc., etc.

Since the "deregulation" of these industries the costs have escalated dramatically to consumers!!!

History shows that Perry is a LIAR!!! And THAT's the TRUTH!

Anonymous said...

Perry tolls are anything but deregulation. They are fascist monopoly regulation. Trust creation, not trust busting. Noncompete clauses guarantee perpetual toll profits for the tolling company until we no longer have to drive. Until someone invents a damn jetpack, we'll be forced to drive on toll roads and pay and pay. We need recall elections. Otherwise the only natural causes can remove Perry and his policies, as it did Rick Williamson. We can't rely on nature to solve our problems.

Anonymous said...

Slick Perry's at it again... Umm how many pro-tollers can we vote out of office this November before the next legislative session in '09?