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Yeah, we voted on tolls kinda
Austin American-Statesman ^ | October 16, 2006 | Ben Wear

Posted on 10/16/2006 6:45:49 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Do you remember voting on the Trans-Texas Corridor?

Me neither. But I think I might have. Sort of.

Toll road proponents have said over the past couple of years that Texans had voted to authorize what has turned out to be a very aggressive push for toll roads. Gov. Rick Perry said as much in the Oct. 6 gubernatorial election debate.

One of the moderators relayed a question from a McKinney woman asking why Texans haven't gotten to vote on the "Trans-Texas Corridor and related toll highways."

The corridor is Perry's 4,000-mile plan of tollways, railroads and utility lines.

The governor's response was deft.

"First and foremost, the people of Texas had the opportunity to vote on a substantial amount of that in a constitutional amendment," he began, going on to say that the Legislature had debated and passed toll laws in several sessions. The voters, he said, "sent a clear message of how we're going to build infrastructure."

What actually happened is that in a September 2003 election, 810,855 Texans said yes to ballot language that only the most wonkish among them could have known authorized wholesale borrowing for toll roads. The 45 words on the ballot, in fact, do not include the words "toll" or "turnpike."

Here's what Proposition 14 proposed:

"The constitutional amendment providing for authorization of the issuing of notes or the borrowing of money on a short-term basis by a state transportation agency for transportation-related projects, and the issuance of bonds and other public securities secured by the state highway fund."

I was told at the time that the purpose of this was to allow the agency to borrow here and there against future gas-tax revenue to address cash-flow problems. And that, in fact, is what the first part of the language refers to.

But then there's a comma, and some more words. Some technical but powerful words that amounted, apparently, to the electorate saying, "Whoo-eee, slap some toll roads on us, baby!"

Now, Texans did approve another constitutional amendment, this one in 2001, that created the Texas Mobility Fund, and it actually said the money could go to "state highways, turnpikes, toll roads, toll bridges, and other mobility projects." A total of 543,759 Texans said yes to that one.

In 2003, lawmakers dedicated some fees allowing that fund to borrow $4 billion or more.

And as the governor said, that same year the Legislature approved a huge bill allowing the creation of the Trans-Texas Corridor. That bill, passed in a session marked by Democrats fleeing to Ardmore, Okla., and a $10 billion budget gap, got little press coverage.

Did Texans vote on the Trans-Texas Corridor? Not in any real sense.

Did we vote on a "substantial amount" of the toll road revolution? Yes, technically, in a special September 2003 election with predictably poor turnout and all the focus on other amendments, we gave the Texas Department of Transportation carte blanche to borrow for roads and charge tolls.

Who knew? Almost no one.


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: cuespookymusic; dearrubes; kookmagnetthread; referendum; rickperry; texas; tolls; transtexascorridor; transtinfoilcorridor; ttc; tx
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Definitely sounds like a "Dear Rubes" amendment...
1 posted on 10/16/2006 6:45:50 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: TxDOT; 1066AD; 185JHP; Abcdefg; Adrastus; Alamo-Girl; antivenom; AprilfromTexas; B-Chan; barkeep; ..

Trans-Texas Corridor PING!


2 posted on 10/16/2006 6:46:43 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Hugo Chavez is the Devil! The podium still smells of sulfur...)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

It's going to be Governor Goodhairs own version of the Big Dig. Texas sized, it'll cost at least a Trillion by the time its all said and done.


3 posted on 10/16/2006 6:54:04 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (Well, my days of not taking your seriously are certainly coming to a middle)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Austin American-Statesman

If this proven left-wing extremist rag is against TTC--then commonsense screams out this must be great for the state of Texas.

Demagoguery is send out all kinds of red flags to conservatives... .

4 posted on 10/16/2006 6:55:05 AM PDT by 100-Fold_Return (They Took My Saddle in Houston, Broke My Leg in Santa Fe, Lost Wife + Girlfriend)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
So much for enumerated powers.

RINOs give the rest of the party a bad reputation.

5 posted on 10/16/2006 7:00:27 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

What the writer conveniently leaves out is that 2 years earlier voters did approve TXDOT using toll financing, as specifically stated in the ballot language:

"Proposition 15 : The constitutional amendment creating the Texas Mobility Fund and authorizing grants and loans of money and issuance of obligations for financing the construction, reconstruction, acquisition, operation and expansion of state highways, turnpikes, toll roads, toll bridges and other mobility projects."

And anti-toll groups were screaming about it in 2001, so this was never some big secret slipped past the voters as the writer claims:

http://corridornews.blogspot.com/2001/10/proposition-15-would-allow-state-to.html

Prop. 15 passed in 2001 with 67% of the vote.

So there was at least 2 years of debate about toll roads before Prop. 14 went to the voters in 2003.


Just more dishonesty, lies, and revisionist history from the anti-TTC/anti-Perry types. If they are right on the issues, why the need to be dishonest?


6 posted on 10/16/2006 7:04:13 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

That is why Perry HAS TO GO in this election. I pondered long and hard about my protest vote, but with Strayhorn being in second place ahead the Dem challenger, I don't have to think about it any more.


7 posted on 10/16/2006 7:07:54 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Diddle E. Squat
Mr. Wear actually did mention that amendment:

Now, Texans did approve another constitutional amendment, this one in 2001, that created the Texas Mobility Fund, and it actually said the money could go to "state highways, turnpikes, toll roads, toll bridges, and other mobility projects." A total of 543,759 Texans said yes to that one.

8 posted on 10/16/2006 7:08:19 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Hugo Chavez is the Devil! The podium still smells of sulfur...)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

OK, my bad, but his implying that there wasn't much discussion of toll roads regarding Prop. 14 and the 2003 election is bunk, both proponnents and anti-toll road groups were tying the two together all during election season.


9 posted on 10/16/2006 7:12:15 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: ravingnutter
That is why Perry HAS TO GO in this election.

Yes, much better to fund our roads through raised taxes than to actually let private investors fund much of them and let each person have a choice in whether or not they want to pay for a particular road. Can't have that...

10 posted on 10/16/2006 7:14:33 AM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Diddle E. Squat

"What the writer conveniently leaves out is that 2 years earlier voters did approve TXDOT using toll financing, as specifically stated in the ballot language:

"Proposition 15 : The constitutional amendment creating the Texas Mobility Fund and authorizing grants and loans of money and issuance of obligations for financing the construction, reconstruction, acquisition, operation and expansion of state highways, turnpikes, toll roads, toll bridges and other mobility projects."

And anti-toll groups were screaming about it in 2001, so this was never some big secret slipped past the voters as the writer claims:

http://corridornews.blogspot.com/2001/10/proposition-15-would-allow-state-to.html"


Sounds to me like they boiled this frog a bit at a time....


11 posted on 10/16/2006 7:36:01 AM PDT by Colorado Mike (Lord, help me be the Conservative my enemies think I am.)
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To: Colorado Mike

Oh, yes it was a BIG secret. It wasn't in the news in South Texas until it was a done deal. I still don't recall the legistlature voting on it. It was just announced by Perry that Cintra had the contract.


12 posted on 10/16/2006 7:50:47 AM PDT by texastoo ("trash the treaties")
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To: Diddle E. Squat
Just more dishonesty, lies, and revisionist history from the anti-TTC/anti-Perry types. If they are right on the issues, why the need to be dishonest?

Well, ibid, and BTTT!

I moved to Texas in 2003 because it was common knowledge that the primary funding mechanism for the TTC was going to be toll revenues. I'm not privy to backroom meetings and other such goings-on, so how did I know it if it was such a secret?

To me, it's important to be part of a community that thinks forward and is not buried in mistakes of the past. The current adminstration is providing real leadership by providing for our future transportation needs. Much unlike their detractors.

13 posted on 10/16/2006 7:51:37 AM PDT by Real Cynic No More (The only thing standing between us and complete victory over the evildoers is POLITICS!)
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To: Dead Corpse
It's going to be Governor Goodhairs own version of the Big Dig. Texas sized, it'll cost at least a Trillion by the time its all said and done.

Oh, like the new SH 130 roadway project in the Austin area that's months ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget?

14 posted on 10/16/2006 7:53:20 AM PDT by Real Cynic No More (The only thing standing between us and complete victory over the evildoers is POLITICS!)
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To: Diddle E. Squat

If they would quit looting state highway funds such as the 1 BILLION that was diverted last year alone (with reports of 10 Billion in all) there wouldn't be a shortage of funds. And private investors? Give me a break...this is a FOREIGN company. And what about the Perry aide, Dan Shelley, who worked for Cintra, went to the Governor's office, then went back to work for Cintra while the deal was being made? And why wouldn't Perry release the contract to the public previously? Shady deals one and all. Perry needs more than good hair to slick-talk this little lady.


15 posted on 10/16/2006 7:59:07 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Real Cynic No More
All the toll roads there on North MOPAC connecting up to 620 were supposed to open next month.

Drove through there yesterday, ain't no way in hell they'll finish on time. And its going to cost how much per mile again?

SH-130 was already paid for via taxes and bond issues. How much of it's going to be tolled giving us double taxation? Same for the parts of MOPAC they will be tolling, and 290, and 183, ect...

Combine that in with the TTC and you've got a fleecing of the public not seen since Tammeny Hall.

16 posted on 10/16/2006 8:11:56 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (Well, my days of not taking your seriously are certainly coming to a middle)
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To: ravingnutter

And why wouldn't Perry release the contract to the public previously? Shady deals one and all.



I know you do a lot of research on things. Now since the contract has been release in toto can you enumerate the 'shady deals' that are in it?.....


17 posted on 10/16/2006 8:13:15 AM PDT by deport (The Governor, The Foghorn, The Dingaling, The Joker, some other fellar...... The Governor Wins)
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To: Dead Corpse

SH-130 was already paid for via taxes and bond issues.



Where segments 5 & 6 included in the bond issues, taxes you speak of?.... That's the portion allotted to Cintra/Zachry for construction and tolling, isn't it?


18 posted on 10/16/2006 8:16:41 AM PDT by deport (The Governor, The Foghorn, The Dingaling, The Joker, some other fellar...... The Governor Wins)
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To: Real Cynic No More
Further, please don't misunderstand my position. As a REPLACEMENT for our current highway funding (fees, taxes, licensing, ect...) system, I actually prefer privately owned toll roads.

What I object to are the cronyism, fraud, double/triple taxation, ect... that I see at every turn on this deal. All pushed through as "emergency" funding bills due to the last decade or so of their inaction on upgrading infrastructre while trying to push us into light-rail/commuter rail/buses.

Government caused these problems. Let's be VERY careful about any "solutions" these same idiots may come up with.

19 posted on 10/16/2006 8:29:57 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (Well, my days of not taking your seriously are certainly coming to a middle)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

BTTT


20 posted on 10/16/2006 8:40:43 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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