AAS Has Sen. Caorna’s Thoughts

Posted in 80th Legislature, Around The State, Privatization, Road Issues at 4:06 pm by wcnews

Ben Wear does a good job with Carona’s take on toll road hearing. Here’s a little bit:

…Carona believes the Legislature was wrong to give the Transportation Department as much license as it has to build toll roads and use excess money from those roads for other transportation projects. “Is a toll a toll, or is it to be allowed to be a tax?” Carona said. “Today’s tolls are just disguised taxes.”

Carona said he and his fellow legislators over his 19 years in the Legislature put the Transportation Department in a bad position by declining to raise the state gas tax, creating a transportation funding shortfall that now runs to the tens of billions.

“Everyone of us, myself included, are to blame,” Carona said. “But when you make a mistake, in politics just as in life, the best thing to do is correct it. It’s incumbent on us to change bad law.”

The bad law, in Carona’s view, are two massive transportation bills passed by the Legislature in 2003 and 2005. That 2003 bill, among many other things, authorized the Trans-Texas Corridor and expanded what could be done with public-private partnerships on roads.

Will any of this — raising the gas tax, limiting private road deals — happen this session? Carona is pessimistic, given that House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County, and Perry are fully supportive of what the Transportation Department has been doing.

“I believe the majority of the House and a majority of the Senate, if given the chance, would vote to substantially curtail the power of the Department of Transportation,” Carona said. “The people of Texas, the people who hired us, want change. …Whether we can make these changes this session remains to be seen.”

I didn’t watch the whole thing, but quite a bit. My head is spinning right now. I’ll try and have my final thoughts on it tonight or tomorrow.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Sen. Carona Jilts Toll Road Opposition said,

    March 22, 2007 at 11:03 am

    [...] is not an option with these people. They don’t’ play that way. Senator you’re own statements have been very harsh and true about what this state and TxDOT have been doing over last 20 years. [...]

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