What’s Rep. Krusee Up To? SB 1267 Clears House Transportation Committee - UPDATED

Posted in 80th Legislature, Around The State, Privatization, Road Issues at 1:44 pm by wcnews

QR is reporting, that Rep. Mike Krusee kicked SB 1267 - the original toll road moratorium bill - out of the Transportation Committee.

Krusee convenes lunch hour committee hearing to move SB 1267; House members will now have two moratorium bills to consider.

Of course this bill has been stalled there for quite some time. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this happened now. With Rep. Krusee and Gov. Perry staring a moratorium to their pet projects in the face, while other’s projects are exempt, this seems to be an attempt now to say: OK, you want an moratorium, then let’s have a moratorium, but on ALL corporate toll roads, no exceptions. With the hope that it will cause chaos. Gov. Perry’s on the record as having issues with the exceptions:

“The Legislature claims Texas needs a moratorium on private financing of toll roads, yet seeks to exempt every privately planned toll road on the drawing board from their moratorium,” Perry said. “The Legislature states that we need to pause and reconsider public-private partnerships to build roads, yet expands this concept by granting this exact same authority to local toll road authorities all over the state.”

If you’ll remember during the debate in the House on HB 1892 Rep. Krusee was pretty upset that HCTRA was going to be able to do whatever they pleased and then other projects were added to the exemption list.

The moratorium in HB 1892 was nowhere near perfect, allowing exemptions. But, at that time, it was all we had and was better than nothing. This debate, by now, should have made clear that these deals are bad for Texas and Texans in the long-term, whether in Houston, Dallas, El Paso or the TTC. But for Rep. Krusee to kick this bill out now shows that we’re still a long way from over on this issue. I see something coming where members will be threatened with an all or nothing moratorium and that could cause the process to slow or the veto-proof coalition to fall apart.

I hope I’m wrong, of course, but this is Krusee and Perry’s bread-and-butter, and they’re not going to go down without a fight. They’ve already pulled the Feds in to threaten Texas so we shouldn’t put anything past them. Stay tuned.

[UPDATE]: Ben Wear is reporting it this way:

The bill, like the other legislation carrying the moratorium now, carries a lengthy list of exceptions. Most of them are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where Spanish toll road builder Cintra and some partners have dangled a $2.1 billion upfront payment in front of local leaders. That money, which Cintra would pay for the right to build and operate the Texas 121 toll road in Collin County for 50 years, would help pay for several other highway projects in the area.

Senators last week had talked about Krusee’s committee as the place where toll road restrictions go to die, and had characterized HB 1892, a much larger and diverse bill that includes the two-year respite, as the last great hope for the moratorium. That bill is eligible to come up for House concurrence starting late this evening.

By throwing SB 1267 in the mix as a viable possibility for passage, opponents of HB 1892 (and Krusee was certainly one of them when it first passed the House in early April) could argue that House members who simply want the moratorium don’t have to approve all the other stuff in HB 1892. That includes limits on non-compete provisions in private toll road contracts and expanded powers for local toll road authorities that supporters of Gov. Rick Perry’s toll road policy don’t like.

Of course. It’s not the exemptions Krusee and Perry care about but the CDA’s/PPP’s. Should have known, it’s the corporate give-aways they want to keep.


  1. Eye on Williamson » A Few Items On Tolls said,

    May 2, 2007 at 11:15 am

    […] has some insight into the new developments in the toll moratorium game. Meanwhile, today House Transportation chairman Mike Krusee moved […]

  2. murastp said,

    May 2, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Krusee and Perry are up to old tricks. When I got the notice about SB1267 coming out of committee, I thought the same thing you did. Krusee realizes he can’t get in the way of a moratorium so he wants as little damage as possible. For him, the lesser of two evils is SB1267.

    Regarding the local ability to sell roads by organizations liek HCTRA:
    I still think private road ownership and operation is a bad idea and I’ll agree that this bill does let HCTRA and NTTA decide if they want to do these things. However, HCTRA recently considered that and the public outcry quickly put that to a grinding halt. When you make it local, the average citizen feels like they have a say and feels more in control. I believe that, while it is possible for HCTRA and NTTA to make the same mistakes as TXDOT, the local opposition will be too strong and elected leaders will quickly get the message.

  3. wcnews said,

    May 2, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    I agree if private/corporate toll roads have to be done, they’re best done locally, with the local, directly elected, officials being held responsible, and accountable, when the tolls go through the roof to pay for the guaranteed corporate profits.

  4. Eye on Williamson » The Toll Road Moratorium(s) - Where We Stand said,

    May 3, 2007 at 11:17 am

    […] Of course the reason the moratorium is wrapped up in with another bill is because Rep. Krusee wouldn’t let the “clean” moratorium bill through his committee. That is, until he, and the governor, were staring HB 1892, and it’s veto-proof majorities in the face. That pressure is what caused Krusee, along with whoever else, to “kick out” SB 1267. […]

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.