As election approaches Sen. Ogden talks TTC, transportation

Posted in Around The State, Election 2008, HD-52, Privatization, Road Issues, SD 5, Transportation at 4:06 pm by wcnews

Last week the TDP interviewed Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) about transportation issues, TTC plans may be scrapped. Before we go any further it cannot be stressed enough that in the interview, as it pertains to Ogden’s comments regarding the TTC, they are not definite. Notice he qualifies the most important statements.

In an interview with the Taylor Daily Press, State Sen. Steve Ogden revealed a possible new course for the controversial Trans-Texas Corridor.

Instead of building superhighways across the state, Ogden said, the state may opt to augment the Texas Trunk System, a web of rural highways that includes U.S. 79.

The plan would expand those highways to four-lane divided highways, while expanding urban infrastructure with toll roads.

“We need to limit that concept to existing highways,” Ogden said of the proposed network of superhighways and tiered rail systems. “I passed a bill last session that did that, but [Gov. Rick Perry] vetoed it. I’m happy to report that he may have changed his mind.” (Emphasis added).

While “augmenting” the Texas Trunk System - it was created in 1990 - (see map and some explanation here), could be an alternative it isn’t likely as long as Perry is governor.

Apparently with inflation the cost of the TTC has become too expensive. Ogden goes on to say that, “There never was the funding.” Now he tells us! Wasn’t that the reason they were going to lease it to a foreign corporation for 50 years? Oh well, with the GOP’s insurance salesman candidate in HD-52 showing an inability to say he’s against the TTC, Ogden’s probably trying to shield him as much as he can. The Democratic candidate in HD-52, Diana Maldonado, is against the TTC. Ogden goes on to say that he will do what he can to make sure TxDOT begins to spend their money as the legislature recommends.

Currently the Legislature writes TxDOT’s budget, but the department has not followed recommended appropriations, Ogden said.

“Except for the bottom line, the way TxDOT spends their money is not how we appropriate it,” he said.

Ogden said there is legislation in the works that would require TxDOT’s spending to fall more in line with legislative recommendations.

And as chairman of the Finance Committee, Ogden is in a unique position to be influential on how that money is spent.

“I’ll write their budget,” he said. “We’re going to better align their budget with the state’s budget.”

We’ll just have to wait and see on that one. While it’s doubtful that Perry has put his corporate toll scheme on the chopping block, he’s probably allowed, for campaign purposes, those like Ogden to portray him as malleable on the TTC. It’s suspect that Perry has changed his stance in any way regarding the TTC. Corporate toll roads are the only plan Perry, Ogden, and the Texas GOP have to build roads. And whether it’s called the TTC or the Texas Trunk System, a corporate toll road is a corporate toll road. Insert lipstick on a pig reference here.


  1. Susan Garry said,

    September 17, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Interesting comments. I seem to remember that during the last session, Ogden did introduce a bill to keep transportation corridors along the routes of the Texas Trunk System, so he has done something concrete about this in the past. I don’t think the bill went anywhere last time; maybe he will try again this session.

    Also, his comments about the legislature currently not having control over specific spending, and needing to exercise control was what the legislators were saying at the TxDOT Sunset Advisory hearing this summer. They give TxDOT an overall budget, but the money may or may not be spent as legislators would wish. There was discussion about changing this practice so that they could direct the money to a project and then see that it was used there. If Ogden is thinking along these lines too, maybe enough legislators will get together on it to exercise more control over TxDOT. I’m trying to be optimistic about this.

    I too can’t believe that Perry has or would undergo any change on the TTC.

  2. wcnews said,

    September 17, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Yes, Ogden did file a bill last session (SB 718, Perry vetoed) to substitute, shall we say, the trunk system for the TTC. You’re right he has, at least, attempted to do a few good things on transportation. What I would like to see from my state Senator is for him to actually start using his power and get something done on this issue. Actually get out front and advocate for sinking the TTC, which his constituents are overwhelmingly against, and fixing our transportation infrastructure. I’d like to see him take Perry on.

    There’s definitely an opportunity to get something done next session with TxDOT under Sunset Review, and the overall opinion of TxDOT being in the gutter.

  3. gregry17 said,

    September 17, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Smoke Signals are rising. I hope the reporter from TDP had his waders on when he was listening to the Senator shovel that patty.
    West Texas Republicans are getting on board with blocking the TTC.


    But the Republicans around here on the State and County level are still firmly uder the thumb of the transportation special interest championed by “Let’s get on down the road” Governor Perry.
    Ogden would just as soon have the TTC, the toll road, the trunk renovation, — just quit pussy footing and pave the whole damn state.
    Ogden will not run in 2010. I suspect th GOP will back Mr Gattis Jr. He sure is pretty and he wears Wranglers and starched shirts, and can ride side saddle.

    “Darkness has come to our people and we have forgotten the ways of our ancestors. We must rise like smoke from the ashes of the great fire. We must think of the next generations. We must learn once again, that all things are indeed, connected.”
    John Two Hawks of the Lakota Nation

    Some of us are born for the storm. We must lead America back from this pit of soulless wealth that has consumed us. Our time is now.

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