Thursday, March 26, 2009

$1.8 billion for Wilco transportation--related to Sen. Carona's new taxing entities?

Eye on Williamson links together important transportation news today.

As we reported earlier, Williamson County will hold open houses to present their 25-year transportation plan.

Information on the plan will be available on the county’s website starting March 20 at Comments can be sent to or call 943-1195.
Precinct 1 - Monday, March 30, at the Rattan Creek Community Center, 7617 Elkhorn Mountain Trail, in Austin.
Precinct 4 - Tuesday, March 31, in the Taylor Public Library Meeting Room, 801 Vance Street, in Taylor.
Precinct 2 - Monday, April 6, at Pat Bryson Hall, 201 N. Brushy Street, in Leander.
Precinct 3 - Tuesday, April 7, at the Central Maintenance Facility, 3151 S. E. Inner Loop, in Georgetown.
County-wide open house - Thursday, April 16, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the Commissioners Courtroom in the Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S. Main Street, in Georgetown.

This transportation plan is covered in the Taylor Daily Press article by Philip Jankowski, "Report: $1.8 billion for transportation by 2035."

EOW comments, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Please, please commissioners, act quick, on this 25-year plan and save us. . . .Is it just me, or does it seem ludicrous to anyone else that the WCCC wants to decide on the fate of transportation in Williamson County over the next 25 years in a little over two months? You may also be wondering how they plan on getting that $1.8 billion."

EOW continutes, "Of course no one’s seen the plan yet, and we will likely get to see very little of it, and even less influence over it, before its approval in early May. I would advise everyone, but especially those who own land in Williamson County, to show up at least one of these meetings and seriously scrutinize what your elected officials, and those who fund their campaigns, are proposing to do in your county over the next 25 years."

At least part of the answer to EOW's question of how they plan on getting that $1.8 billion is in a second Taylor Press article "County backs car fee," also by Philip Jankowski.

The Williamson County commissioners have asked to join the Central Texas transportation taxing authority that would be authorized by Senate Bill 855 by Sen. Carona. This bill has just been approved by the Transportation & Homeland Security Committee and is headed for the full Senate. The county could pay for new transportation projects by additional taxes on gas or auto registration fees.

"Here’s EOW’s take on the Carona’s plan, Enough of the half-measures and tinkering. In essence what the WCCC is doing is allowing a consultant to come up with this grandiose 25 year plan for transportation, and attempting to use fear and scare tactics, to trick county residents into voting for tax and fee, same as taxes, increases to pay for it."

There still seems to be a contradiction that will have to be worked out. At the same time that the wilco commissioners have voted to join the new taxing entity, the district's own Sen. Ogden has placed language in Sen. Carona's bill that exludes Williamson Co. from such a taxing entity. We'll follow this as it develops.

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