Perry Punts On Gas Tax, Will Lege Debate It?

Posted in Road Issues at 9:35 am by wcnews

Ben Wear has finally written a column about the recent TTI report, State knocks report touting gas tax hikes. You can get the report here. The report, if you’ll recall, told Texas taxpayers that indexing the gas to inflation is the best way to finance future road construction in our state. (For the simple math on this click here). I think it’s fair to say that this report has everyone at TxDOT, TTC, and most of our state elected representatives, that have been telling us the stories of “toll roads paved with gold”, quite flustered.

State transportation officials rebutted that analysis Wednesday, arguing that it understates future needs and overstates what the tax would raise.

“The individuals contracted to do that report were contracted to produce an intended result,” Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson said. “But this is a great thing to put on the table and say, ‘Let’s talk about this.’ “

So were supposed to believe that the Governors Business Council (GBC) was contracted to intentionally produce a report that contradicted the governor’s business interests? Doubtful. Why is Ben Wear printing this without a rebuttal from the authors of the report - or at least a mention that he attempted to contact them and couldn’t - to Mr. Williamson’s assertion? That would be the fair thing to do. Anyway, they’re all falling over themseves to say now let’s have a discussion about the gas tax. And Gov. Perry, of course, has punted it to the Legislature:

The study has reverberated through transportation and legislative circles because that volunteer council is peopled by Perry supporters, including Stevens. Stevens said he met with Perry before the study came out.

Given that the report would seem to undercut Perry’s opposition to a gas tax increase and support of toll roads, was the governor unhappy with the council’s handiwork?

“My view is that the governor is interested in good policy,” Stevens said. “That Ric Williamson is unhappy with me doesn’t necessarily mean that the governor is unhappy with me.”

Perry “believes that we do have a sound transportation policy in place and moving forward,” spokesman Robert Black said. “But his general reaction has been, ‘Put the ideas on the table, and let’s let the Legislature have a debate on them.’ “

This sounds like nothing more that a bunch of people who got caught with their hands in the cookie jar and now want a do-over. Funny, no comments form Rep. Krusee in this article. We’ll end with the sensible comments from the chair of the (GBC):

Michael Stevens, a Houston real estate investor who chairs the Governor’s Business Council, which commissioned the study, said most of the numbers in the report originated with the state Transportation Department.

Stevens said that the calculations showing how much an annual inflation adjustment to the gas tax could accomplish shocked even him and that he hopes the report will expand what up to now has been a toll-centric discussion about how to pay for the state’s transportation needs.

Using their own numbers against them. Shocking, indeed.

1 Comment »

  1. salcostello said,

    December 14, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    TxDOT got caught with their greedy claw in the cookie jar.

    TxDOT’s eagerness to soak Texans by forcing us to paying to drive tax publicly funded freeways is catching up with them.

    In the real world, people would be fired or go to jail for inflating budgets by $30 Billion Dollars.

    TxDOT also claimed our gas tax would need to be raised by $1.20 to $3.00 per gallon if we don’t toll our existing freeways, the TTI report also proves that’s not true either.

    If our government wasn’t severely broken, there would be formal hearings on this abuse of our tax dollars and this disregard of the public’s trust.

    Sal Costello
    The Muckraker

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.