Wrap-Up Of HB 1892 And The CDA/Private Equity Moratorium

Posted in 80th Legislature, Around The State, Privatization, Road Issues, Williamson County at 10:58 pm by wcnews

(Vince finished liveblogging at Capitol Annex. Also see what Pat Driscoll of Move It! had to say about today’s action, now it gets interesting.)

Despite all the talk today during this debate today of tools, tool boxes, tapping the breaks, and deep breaths a 2 year moratorium bill, which includes the TTC, did pass the Texas House today. It was done without Rep. Mike Krusee having to allow it to happen through the Transportation Committee, which he chairs. It passed overwhelmingly, 134 -5-2, see RV #356. Rep. Krusee tried calling points of order on the bill itself and on Rep. Lois Kolkhorst’s amendment, which added the moratorium to the bill, and both were overruled. Capitol Letters has more on Krusee being overruled, Craddick and Krusee: Where’s the Love??

Once the toll moratorium amendment was passed Rep. Krusee then started taking out his frustration on the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA). I guess the well run and inexpensive toll roads of the HCTRA, are making the proposed non-compete, CDA/private equity expensive corporate toll roads look bad, and he can’t stand for that. He did get two amendments onto the bill and at this time I’m not sure what those did to the bill.

As stated in the previous post what Rep. Kolkhorst’s amendment does is stop non-compete/CDA’s from proceeding until a 2 year “study period” on these types of agreements is completed. If the moratorium becomes law that study will be done by a commission that is created to do the study, with the Governor, Speaker and Lt. Gov. each appointing three members. The hope is that this commission will not just be a rubber stamp for these agreements but would actually do the work that Texans have needed done for years now - actually coming up with a comprehensive, equitable and fair way to build and run our transportation infrastructure, and not just roads, in Texas . With Dewhurst being the only one that will likely run statewide, those against the TTC and CDA’s may have to rely on him, and his appointees, to be the voices of reason on the commission. We will also have to hope that the Governor and Speaker will take into account the public outrage, and the just plain bad deals these agreements are, and do what is right, if not for Texans but for the sake of party.

There’s still a long way to go. The bill must get through the Senate. and if vetoed by the Governor, will have to be vetoed soon enough so that the veto can be overridden before the session ends. Much credit to Rep. Lois Kolkhorst and her stewardship of this through the House and to Rep. Wayne Smite for allowing it onto his bill. Also to all of those who voted for Rep. Kolkhorst’s amendment as well as the bill itself. Rep. Dan Gattis voted for both as did many, many Republicans. The vote on Rep. Kolkhorsts amendment and the bills passage weren’t even close. This was not a Democrat v. Republican bill it was a bipartisan take down of bad public policy. In Texas we like our roads and we want to keep them our roads. We don’t want to sell or lease them to the highest bidder. Hopefully after today there’s no longer any doubt about that.

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