Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hope to be back soon

Have been hors de combat for the last three weeks due to an injury in the family and will still be gone for probably three more weeks. Luckily, it's a relatively slow season for Corridor news, although rail news is building, and the gubernatorial campaign is getting into full swing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CDA Corridor funding mechanism killed by the Lege

Today the mechanism that would have funded the Trans-Texas Corridor was not renewed by the Legislature. Gov. Perry had asked legislators to pass three things during the special session: (1) continuing the existence of a few state agencies including TxDOT until the 2011 session; (2) allowing the state to issue $2 billion in transportation bonds; and (3) extending the ability to fund toll roads through comprehensive development agreements (CDA’s) by public-private partnerships (PPP’s).

CDA’s to die on August 31

The House and Senate passed the bill to keep TxDOT alive until they can consider reforms in the 2011 session, and they allowed the $2 billion in transportation bonds. They did NOT extend the CDA’s, and the authority to do CDA’s will expire August 31.

TURF says, “Taxpayers want Perry’s controversial and virtually universally detested road privatization schemes to die a natural death August 31 as scheduled, which will also KILL the mechanism to build the Trans-Texas Corridor.”

Why did Perry try for CDA’s in the special session?

Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka says, “The governor’s fight for more toll roads and more Comprehensive Development Agreements makes no sense politically. It puts the spotlight directly on his most controversial policy.”

Since renewing the CDA’s was in trouble from the beginning in the Legislature, why did Perry include CDA’s as part of the call for the special session? What was in it for him to put CDA’s up to the legislators, only to be swatted down? Was it to show his major construction contributors that he was doing his best for them, and he couldn’t help it if the recalcitrant legislators wouldn’t go along?


The Statesman’s Ben Wear says, “For supporters of such contracts, which were touted earlier this decade as a way to bring in large upfront payments to TxDOT from private companies, the issue is not so much the next two years. Rather, if the existing authority in state law expires, reviving it may be politically impossible.”

He quotes our erstwhile representative Mike Krusee: "It means the potential loss of billions of dollars for road construction." It was Krusee’s legislation in the 2003 session that made the CDA’s legal, among other things,that started off the entire Trans-Texas Corridor fiasco, causing so many people to spend so much time and energy trying to save rural Texas from being paved over. Thanks, Mike! Can you stop talking now that the Corridor funding method is dead?