Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kill the TTC is in HB 300, the TxDOT Sunset Bill

The very big, very complicated TxDOT Sunset Bill, HB 300, seems to be passing the House with 160-180 amendments--with amendments to amendments--so it has been hard to find news about what did and did not make it into this bill. Also, there will need to be a third reading of the bill and one more vote before it goes from the House to the Senate.

Many, many thanks to Terri Hall and the folks at TURF who have the only reporting on the repeal of the Trans-Texas Corridor that I have been able to find. To see TURF commentary on many aspects of HB 300, go to the TURF news at

Regarding the main issue that we have been following at ACRE—fighting the Trans-Texas Corridor—an amendment repealing the TTC has been added to this version of HB 300.

At least two other provisions that we have been supporting also are in HB 300 at this point: prohibition on tolling existing roads (don’t know yet how this affects tolling 290 East) and elected leadership at TxDOT (a single statewide elected commissioner as head plus 14 regional elected commissioners).

TURF says, “A huge hats off to the leadership of Rep. David Leibowitz of San Antonio and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham for leading the charge to get these MAJOR amendments into HB 300. Texans owe them a HUGE debt of gratitude.”

TURF is warning of a provision that allows public-private partnerships (such as Cintra’s with the TTC) to continue: “WE MUST STRIP OUT Phillips’ private toll contract provision that sells our highways to the highest bidder UPON THIRD READING OF THE HOUSE BILL, HB 300, Monday!”

For more details on all these provisions, good and bad, click on the link above.

To keep in our good amendments and to strip out the private toll contracts, TURF asks:

“CALL NOW. Repeat this message:
1) No private toll contracts that sell our highways to foreign corporations (strip Phillips’ sneaky amendment to extend these contracts that end the moratorium!)
2) YES to Leibowitz’ version of BAN on tolling existing roads (freeway to tollway conversions) (may save us from tolling 290 East)
3) NO Trans-Texas Corridor
4) YES to elected leadership at TxDOT
Find your legislator here:
Call the Capitol switchboard 512-463-4630 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can also email your legislator by using this formula:
Plug in the name of your state representative to:
Plug in the name of your state senator to:
But at this stage of the game, PHONE CALLS ARE BETTER!”

You can pick and choose from the above issues to talk to your legislator's office about, but please ask him or her to keep the repeal of the Trans-Texas Corridor in HB 300!

No comments: