The big story out of GOP gubernatorial hopeful Kay Bailey Hutchison’s transportation “plan” she released yesterday was that while full of rehashed and previously discussed ideas, she appears ready to continue the funding neglect of the last two decades. Oh, bless her heart. Her plan is much of what was debated last session while TxDOT was under Sunset review. And while surely there’s some waste and abuse at TxDOT it’s likely not near enough to make up for the almost two decades of neglect by the Texas GOP.
The Scoop has the full take down, Oh, that’s pretty sweet, Senator!.
Well, it would appear that our very senior Senator released her little transportation plan today. To yawns and stifled laughter. Some of the ideas were recycled from the the plan Hank released during his race for Governor. You may remember it… it’s the only one released so far that actually addresses the problem of transportation planning and finance without putting our children in hock.Of course, given that it was Senator Hutchison, it was inevitable that she would decide to kick the can down the road and let your children and grandchildren deal with debt and obligations we’ll be piling up. After all, she’s been doing it for years in DC.
Oh, She also wants some rail but it was more an afterthought than a proposal and no real funding ideas were presented. We at The Scoop give it a great big FAIL for, frankly, being as worthless as our senior Senator.
Hutchison’s plan involves creating a task force, to study inefficiencies, among other things, via the DMN:
Continue the use of private toll roads, but with more public scrutiny and without provisions that unfairly push drivers to use them.
Don’t increase gas taxes without proof an increase is needed and wouldn’t be wasted.
Appoint a task force to examine how the Texas Department of Transportation uses tax dollars and to eliminate inefficiencies.
Expand the five-member Texas Transportation Commission to nine members, providing other areas of the state more input into departmental decisions.
Reduce the power of the commission in day-to-day operations, including which roads to build and where.
Create a much stronger executive director who would act more like the CEO of transportation in Texas.
Give local planning agencies, like the Regional Transportation Agency in North Texas, a larger role in deciding how and where to spend transportation tax dollars.
Begin planning for more rail in the state’s long-term transportation future.
We’ve long ago determined that there are only two ways, currently, to pay for new roads – raise the gas tax or toll roads. Hutchison has clearly chosen toll roads. But if elected it won’t be until after her second session in office that anything would be passed to address the neglect of transportation financing in Texas.
Campaign aides confirmed that, if she were to win in November, an audit of the department could not be completed in time for Hutchison to consider any tax increase during the 2011 session.
Kay’s plan is a clunker, just kickin’ the can down the road. A road that needs to be repaved, but can’t because there’s no money. To recap Hutchison has a plan, same plan that’s been discussed for years now, that doesn’t work. And if elected, she won’t have a plan to bring in new money until her second session as Governor in 2013. That’s not leadership.