08.04.08

ACRE Posts On Public Testimony @ TxDOT’s Sunset Hearing

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Privatization, Right Wing Lies, Road Issues, Transportation, Williamson County at 11:15 am by wcnews

Start by watching this video, which was done by the same people that brought us the movie Truth Be Tolled:

Here’s the first post on public testimony, TxDOT Sunset Hearing-Public Testimony, Part 1:

Testimony from groups and citizens from all around the state

Chairman Isett commented that 80 people were signed up to speak. Testifiers included representatives from trade associations related to transportation, public interest groups, and individuals from as far away as Denton, Houston, Corpus Christi, New Braunfels, and San Antonio.

Organizations that sent representatives included the Texas Farm Bureau, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Houston Chapter of the Sierra Club, Scenic Texas, Citizens Transportation Coalition, and the Gulf Coast Institute.

People representing Central Texas organizations that have been active against toll roads and the Corridor included Carol Cespedes and Beki Halpin from Fix 290 in Oak Hill and Agnes Voges of the Blackland Coalition (Bell and Williamson counties).

Representatives of state-wide groups that have been fighting the Corridor for years testified, including David and Linda Stall, Corridor Watch; Linda Curtis, state director of Independent Texans; and Richard Reeves, Texas Toll Party.

Here’s Part II where Terri Hall and Hank Gilbert take their turns at TxDOT:

More dynamite testimony from Terri Hall

Another topic introduced by Terri Hall was the conversion of US 281, a freeway built and open to traffic for decades, to a toll road. Her testimony shocked the Sunset Commission, and there was much discussion between the Commissioners and Hall. The Commissioners also brought Saenz back to the testimony table for extensive questioning.

[…]

This is a very important issue. If TxDOT is behind the formation of RPO’s, the RPO’s will be controlled by TxDOT through the regional Councils of Government (COG’s). On the other hand, the 391 Sub-Regional Planning Commissions are formed by the citizens through their local governments, and they have their own powers, given to them by statute.

Gilbert said, “I don’t believe he [Saenz] exactly told the truth a minute ago. Chairman Delisi, she wanted to make this a love fest today and she committed to honesty. But they have already broken that honesty when it was brought up about the RPO’s earlier today. We had a person at that meeting [on RPO’s] who sent me an email of what went on at that meeting on July 10. TxDOT, specifically Amadeo Saenz, addressed this and said they had come up with money at TxDOT to help fund and reimburse the COG’s if they created an RPO.”

Gilbert continued, “What’s important is that TxDOT has promulgated regulations to create RPO’s, which legislation actually failed last session. . . . So TxDOT decided to push the RPO issue forward so when the legislature comes into session they are having the legislation filed to authorize by statute what they have done by regulation. Then, they will pull the COG RPO’s into the Transportation statute and totally control all of the RPO’s. They’ll be nothing but a sounding board instead of a real board.”

What’s next you ask?

Conclusion of hearing

Chairman Isett explained what will happen next. “This is an advisory commission. We will draft legislation based on findings of the commission, and we will take it to the legislature. We think you will see that process will work. I’m looking forward to effect the changes we put forward. There is the legislative will to make some fundamental and significant changes in the way this agency operates.”

In other words. Elect more Republicans, and you’ll get more of the same. Their only plan is toll roads, that’s it. If you want something different, the current leadership MUST change, that’s the only way. Let’s hope when this all starts again at the beginning of the 81st Legislature we’re discussing who will be the next Democratic Speaker of the Texas House so we can finally bring accountability back to government in Texas.

Thanks to suzeekew @ ACRE blog for wrapping all of this up for us. Great job, and another awesome example of how blogs can cover issues like this in much better detail than the traditional media can.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » HD-52: The choice is clear said,

    October 15, 2008 at 10:26 am

    […] for whatever the current state GOP leadershop wants. They haven’t even finished the Sunset Commission review, which will be done during the next legislative session, and he’s virtually giving them a […]

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