Primer For Transportation Hearings At The Capitol Tomorrow

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Cronyism, Privatization, Road Issues, Williamson County at 4:57 pm by wcnews

Tomorrow there will be three transportation related hearings at the capitol. First a hearing of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee at 8:00 am. Followed at 9:00 am by a joint hearing between the Senate Transportation and the Senate Finance Committees. The Transportation Committee may reconvene after the joint hearing finishes. And to finish the day at 1:00 pm the inaugural hearing of the Joint Legislative Study Committee on Private Toll Projects occur.

That Joint Legislative Study Committee on Private Toll Projects was mandated in the “so-called” toll moratorium bill from last session, SB 792. You can read all about the make-up of the committee from EOW’s previous post, 7 Repbulicans, A Democrat, and a Randian.

The Senate hearings were scheduled to offer TxDOT a chance to explain it’s recent claims of poverty. Short Cuts and Move It! both had their takes on the topic. No doubt the Sunset Commission will be watching. Two weeks ago a national report was released urging the gas tax be raised and indexed to pay for our future infrastructure needs. As if on cue, today another national study was released that shocked everyone by urging the use of toll roads as the main funding source for our highways in the future. Of course they don’t call them tolls they’re “direct user charges”. Here’s a link to the interim report [.PDF]. This commissions findings are no surprise when you look at who is on the commission, which includes GOP Rep. Mike Krusee.

Ben Wear is also reporting that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst sent a rather harsh letter to TxDOT about their recent claims of poverty. While it’s typical for Texas Republicans to become extremely critical of TxDOT during the interim, especially as an election approaches, we can expect their rhetoric to cool, as usual, when it comes time to actually do something about it. Their should be plenty of interim fury tomorrow at the first two hearings. They should be worth watching just to see how the post-Williamson era at TxDOT gets going.

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