Via the DMN’s Transportation blog, Local option appears dead.
Sen. John Carona was unable to get enough support for the Local Option Transportation Act among Senate and House negotiators, dooming the provision when the TxDOT sunset bill goes to floor votes tomorrow.
Among conferees on the Senate side, only Carona and Kirk Watson of Austin held out for the plan. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen, Robert Nichols of Jacksonville and Glenn Hegar of Katy signed a conference report without the local option provision.
Four of the five House conferees signed as well. They were Linda Harper-Brown of Irving, Joe Pickett of El Paso, Wayne Smith of Baytown and Carl Isett of Lubbock. Ruth Jones McClendon of San Antonio was the only House conferee to support local option in the end.
The parliamentary moves that could save the plan now are way beyond Hail Marys. Consider this cause lost, at least for this lawmaking session.
Where was top leadership on this issue? Not hard to figure. Their appointees to the conference committee could have guaranteed that the loca-option (sic) provision remained. Yet the deck was stacked with indifferent-to-hostile people.
It’s a shame that the most hostile of all was from the heart of this metro area. Putting Linda Harper-Brown of Irving on the House conference committee poisoned the bill’s chances. Speaker Joe Straus send a message about his intentions when he named her.
Obviously the DMN doesn’t read EOW because we’ve been saying for years that there is no leadership in this state, especially on the transportation issue. Yes putting Harper-Brown, who is unlikely to be around next session, on the conference committee was a particularly bad move.
Earlier this year when EOW wrote the post, Enough with the half-measures and tinkering, it was obvious that there was no leadership, or the will, to do anything different than “toll everything” plan that Perry and the rest of those who have the power over transportation in Texas want to do.
Vicki Truitt is mad, and Carona probably is too, but they’re Republicans. The can’t understand that no matter how “decent” they deem this tax cut to be, they can’t get enough politicians in this state to go out on a limb, and vote for this bill. This bill, which they say, will only put a tax increase up to a decision of the people. They only have themselves and their party to blame. They’ve so poisoned and now we are all stuck, and somewhere Grover Norquist is smiling. And all that’s left for Republicans like Truitt and Carona, is well….you reap what you sow.
From the comments at the DMN:
Ok, I am sick and tired of the road/traffic situation. Does anyone know of a solution to fix this? I do not mind paying an extra 10 cents a gal., but this was not even about that. Just to give us the right to debate it and vote over it in our own communities. I was really happy to hear about everyone going to Austin and tracking down the politicians. I think that everyone here is sick and tired of the situation. The smog, spending a huge chunk of your day sitting on the freeway. Or side roads.
There is a fix for this and it’s raising and indexing the statewide gas tax. But what that would take is a bunch of new, and/or reformed, elected officials that are committed to fixing our entire transportation system in Texas. But those elected officials will need to know, from the people, that they will be voted out if this issue in NOT fixed! And that even if we have to pay a little more in taxes it’s not a problem as long as the issue is resolved.
I’ll give Carona and Truitt credit for putting themselves out there and trying to help their constituents. But this was doomed to fail from the beginning and there never was a certainty that Gov. Perry would allow sign it into law. Maybe the best thing that will come of this is that some more people will get involved because of this issue, especially in a major metropolitan area like DFW, and shine more light on this issue.
Let’s hope that Sen. Carona keeps his promise that he would kill the TxDOT Sunset bill if the local options didn’t pass. Which would lead to another good thing coming out of this. That would allow another two years to try and reform TxDOT and Texas’ transportation problems. Maybe this time it can be taken seriously and we can actually get the problems fixed.