Governor Perry Uses Fuzzy Math In Letter To Congress

Posted in Privatization, Road Issues, Commentary, Around The Nation, Around The State at 8:47 am by wcnews

QR is reporting on a letter that Gov. Perry sent in response to a Congressional letter he received in May:

Gov. Rick Perry recently sent a defiant response to Congressional leaders who criticized the use of public-private partnerships to underwrite transportation projects, but the state’s actual position remains undefined until a 9-member legislative study group is named to determine the best way to proceed with alternative transportation funding.

Congressional leaders of the new Democratic majority, critical of the Bush administration’s push for private funding of public infrastructure, sent out a letter to all state leaders in May. The letter was critical of the use of public-private partnerships and declared that the new majority would move swiftly to protect the public’s interests under such arrangements. Perry’s four-page response, sent in early July, was critical of the federal governments failure to address the transportation gridlock of donor states.

“I should note that the State of Texas has no interest in rushing into any transportation agreements with the private sector,” Perry wrote in his letter to Congressmen James Oberstar and Peter De Fazio. “Our state’s contracting procedures are thorough and transparent. Our goal with every PPP is to create as much sustained benefit as possible for our driving public by meeting transportation needs that would otherwise go ignored.”

Transparency of public-partnership agreements on road projects - or the lack thereof - was a key issue during the recent legislative session. One key component of Senate 792 was a nine-member legislative study group - the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House appointing three members apiece - that is intended to make recommendations on the state’s future public-private partnerships.

Progress in this area is critical, especially given Texas Transportation Commission Chair Ric Williamson’s recent announcement to reporters that at least one leg of Trans-Texas Corridor 35 - the segment between Georgetown and Waco - should be ready to go out to bid by the time lawmakers return to the Capitol in 2009.

When is that 9-member commission going to be appointed? Perry also uses previously debunked numbers on the gas tax:

Some have suggested that our state should raise our state gas tax to pay for new raod construction, but the tax would have to be raised to a $1.40 to pay for all the transportation improvements our highway system needs over the next 25 years.

That $1.40 claim was debunked (more here):

Raise the motor fuels tax, currently 20 cents per gallon, to 51 cents. Interestingly, a Tx-Dot engineer had previously told the committee that the motor fuels tax would have to be raised to $1.40 per gallon to pay for the needed new construction. Needless to say, the Legislature is not going to raise the tax by 31 cents, much less a buck twenty.

the governor goes on to say that the legislature did not have the will to index the gas tax this session. He’s right and he didn’t have the will either. What we need to get these toll road schemes stopped is a leader, or leaders, that will tell the truth and are willing to bring Texans the information needed to bring them to the point of agreement on raising the gas tax. The gas tax is a cheaper, fairer, saner way to fund our highways. It will also take a legislature and a state leadership that is configured differently than it currently is. That means we need new representation, at every level, that’s committed to using the gas tax, as opposed to toll road schemes, to fund our transportation infrastructure.


  1. Eye on Williamson » Texas Blog Round Up (July 16, 2007) said,

    July 16, 2007 at 9:03 am

    […] WCNews at Eye On Williamson takes a closer look at a letter Texas Governor Rick Perry recently sent to Congressional leaders who criticized public-private partnerships to build transportation projects such as the Trans-Texas Corridor in Governor Perry Uses Fuzzy Math In Letter To Congress. […]

  2. local_host said,

    July 18, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Let’s face it- Things will never change with Texas transportation woes till old Gov.GoodHair Slick Rick is OUT of office. Which will surely be the next election for governor…Unfortunately still 3 years away. We can however, make sure the next mid-term elections of 2008 dramatically reduce Slick Rick’s “power” to privately toll all new TX expressways. This guy’s a real piece of work. A very bad, corrupt, vile piece that is.

  3. wcnews said,

    July 18, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    It’s likely that things won’t change until Perry’s gone but not impossible. With a Democratic House and more voter backlash in 2008 it could produce early bills passed through the Lege that, once vetoed, can be overridden long before session ends.

    One note. Don’t count him out yet. As this AAS post reports he raised almost $990k in June alone and has not ruled our a third run for governor.

  4. Eye on Williamson » State Media Coming Around On Highway Neglect said,

    July 23, 2007 at 10:59 am

    […] here at EOW hate to say, “I told you so”, well not really. This article, Toll road proponents: […]

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