Hold onto your wallet, corporate toll road are a go again

Posted in 81st Legislature, Around The State, Commentary, Road Issues, The Lege, Transportation, Uncategorized at 11:10 am by wcnews

As pointed out previously, the legislature is working hard to make sure that corporate toll roads are as Ben Wear’s post puts it given at the least a new lease on life.

Private toll road leases, which engulfed the last Legislative session in controversy and were partially banned for two years, would live for another six years under a bill passed 29-2 by the Senate this afternoon.

But under a separate bill, which passed minutes earlier, those agreements would become less likely and those that did occur would have additional controls.

Keep in mind that without raising and indexing the statewide gas tax - a much cheaper option than tolls - every new highway in Texas will be a toll road. This shows, unfortunately, there’s little if any effort going on this session to debate how go about funding and financing the construction of new highways in Texas. A decision has already been made, toll everything. The good news is it appears we will have a choice. A toll road built by a local entity (toll authority, RMA, etc..), or a corporate toll road, take your pick.

With the kind of system in place, like passed the Senate yesterday, it will become more and more likely the most expensive option to the consumer, aka taxpayer, corporate toll roads will become the norm. Unless a more rational, simple, approach is adopted. Read Texas TURF’s take on the bill, SB 17 fails to protect public from private roads. Their take on the Senate, Senate poised to hand public freeways to private toll operators, and their CDA/PPP Fact Sheet [.pdf].

If corporate toll roads are left as an option, our current state leadership, and TxDOT will do everything they can to make sure most, if not all roads are built using this option. That’s been their plan all along. If they have to say one thing, while doing the other they’ll do it.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Texas PIRG report finds privatization deals cause long term threat to public interest said,

    April 16, 2009 at 10:41 am

    [...] [UPDATE]: Texas PIRG also recently suspended their support for SB 17, a bill that was supposed to limit CDA’s and PPP’s but, in reality, doesn’t. [...]

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