With the governor calling the shots in the special session nothing that needs to get done to help fix the transportation financing problems in Texas is likely to get done. But many bad things that we don’t need sure can. As evidence just look at what Sen. John Carona has said and done over the last few days.
He will not pursue the legislation that was deemed so important to North Texas during the regular session, the so-called “local option gas tax”. But he was all to willing to file the bill, (SB 1), that will create the Texas Transportation Revolving Fund (TTRF), aka the “transportation bank”. Essentially carrying Perry’s water while, the the legislation he’s repeatedly stated his constituents need so much, has no chance of passing.
Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, will not seek to win approval of a local-option transportation tax bill in the special session of the Legislature that begins Wednesday.
Corona said he has filed Senate Bill 1 to address the bonding issue.
“One of those issues is ‘to consider legislation relating to the issuance by the Texas Transportation Commission … of general obligation bonds for highway improvement projects, and to the creation, administration, financing and use of a Texas Transportation Revolving Fund to provide financial assistance for transportation projects,” Corona said.
“SB 1 enables the issuance of the transportation bonds that voters approved in November of 2007 through Proposition 12, similar to Senate Bill 263 from the regular session, and creates a transportation revolving fund, similar to SB 1350.
“I think these concepts are well accepted and should move rapidly through the process.”
Geez I hope not. This goes back to the words spoken earlier in the week by Texas Democratic House leader Jim Dunnam. Essentially saying that it’s not good public policy to pass these kinds of changes in three days without proper vetting. Whether it’s CDA’s or a TxDOT getting into investment banking he’s right. The TTRF is just a disaster waiting to happen. Read EOW’s take, Texas Transportation Revolving Fund?, and McBlogger’s take, Using Lehman as a blueprint for TXDOT, on the transportation bank to get up to speed on it.
While Carona had little chance of getting the local option on the agenda for the special session it’s sad to see him shrinking from his tough stance a month ago, to now doing the governor’s bidding. As stated before the best thing we can hope for is that the lege will authorize the extension of the five agencies until 2011 and get out of town. The less work they do in this special session, the better off Texas will be in the long run.