Skip to comments.Senators unhappy with TxDOT
Posted on 02/08/2008 12:59:57 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Sometimes the truth just has a way of coming to light.
A public information officer with the Texas Department of Transportation this week wrote a column in the Herald-Press describing the financial woes facing TxDOT and how because of those problems the states transportation department doesnt have the money to deal with many of the states transportation issues.
Apparently, several of the states senators do not feel that is the case at all. David Dewhurst called out the states interim chairwoman of the Texas Transportation Commission, Hope Andrade, on this very issue, according to a story from the Associated Press.
In December, Andrade issued a warning of a budgetary shortfall for TxDOT, which included a decision to postpone new highway projects and focus the departments attention on existing roads.
The states lieutenant governor would have none of that. In a letter to Andrade, as reported by the AP, Dewhurst told her the forecast used to project a $3.6 billion revenue shortfall by the year 2015 does not show the complete financial picture.
In other words, TxDOT has an agenda and is playing politics with the states tax dollars, or so some of the states top senators believe, at least according to chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, This is screwed up. I understand how to do a cash flow statement. I understand how to do an income statement. This isnt one of them. This is really bad.
Whats causing this consternation of the senators is the refusal of TxDOT to include $9 billion in bonds set aside by the Legislature, including $5 billion approved by the voters.
Instead, the department continues to press for the toll-road option, above elected official and public outcry.
One senator even got personal with TxDOT in a comment reported by the AP, Texans today saw convincing evidence of a fact many of us have known they cannot trust the Texas Department of Transportation or the policies that are consigning Texas to inadequate roads and privatized toll ways, said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.
Ogdens argument is that using the bond money for TxDOTs road projects would cost Texans less in the long run than these toll road projects TxDOT is trying to force on the state.
Of course, Gov. Rick Perry, who took most of the teeth out of the moratorium the Legislature wanted, is pushing toll roads and public-private partnerships.
In a statement, Perry spokesman Robert Blacks statement sounded much the same as the TxDOT spokesmans in the Herald-Press, Just saying no isnt going to be an option.
Another elected official at odds with TxDOT is State Rep. Chuck Hopson, D-Jacksonville, who called the Trans Texas Corridor, the biggest land grab ever done by the state.
In meetings with TxDOT officials, Hopson told me it is hard to get the whole truth out of the department when discussing the states transportation issues.
The Texas Department of Transportation is one of the most arrogant agencies we have in the state, Hopson said of the state transportation officials, while at the same time praising TxDOT employees at the local level. I learned two sessions ago that they are difficult to deal with.
Just to set the record straight, though, land TxDOT wants does not run just along the I-69 corridor, but also the I-35 corridor, they also would like a corridor running alongside I-45, and they eventually would like to see one running along I-10 as an east-to-west corridor. Other corridors the state would like to see built would be along I-20 and a new one running east to west along the Texas-Oklahoma border.
To get all of this, the state will have to acquire approximately 584,000 acres which it will either have to buy from willing sellers or procure by eminent domain from land owners who do not want to give up their property.
East Texans love their land and they get a little spooky when the government comes in and talks about taking it over, Hopson continued. They also get spooky about an agency from outside the country taking over Texas roads.
Now, about those trucks coming up through Mexico, well, its a one way street.
As a matter of public record, a Chinese shipping firm that goes by the name Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. has spent millions of dollars refurbishing and creating new deep water ports on Mexicos Pacific coast.
Americas major West Coast ports in California are clogged because of all the Chinese products flooding into this country.
To help ease the congestion, much like TxDOT said they are trying to do, China will just go around the problem and use Texas roads to bring more tainted food, more toys with lead paint, more poison toothpaste and whatever products the country makes, with what amounts to slave labor, into this country so stores like Wal-Mart can make more money.
Its much more than trucks, though, as trains are a part of the Trans Texas Corridor plans. If the TTC projects were to be built as designed, there would be six rail lanes to go along with the traffic lanes. As it is now, BNSF is steadily bringing Chinese products up from the Mexican port of Manzanillo.
Whats not coming up by rail is coming by truck which does add to the traffic problems. While I applaud TxDOTs efforts to ease the congestion in the cities, lets not forsake the states beauty and much of its heritage to accommodate products that are essentially undercutting the American economy.
All is not lost, though; according to Hopson, I-69 is not a done deal yet.
If we do it at all, there will be no foreign government or a company from outside the U.S. administering our roads, Hopson said. The state of Texas needs to be in charge of and operating these roads.
Trans-Texas Corridor PING!
If that's truly the case, then someone at TXDOT had damn well better be going to jail for fraud, waste and abuse.
Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if TxDoT got their way, built all these new roads with foreign companies, pissed off most of the state of Texas and then we go to war with CHINA, having to build factories in this country to make up the lose of goods with a bunch of idle highways in the surrounding countryside. Only to have TxDoT tell us sorry!
Full open Audit of TXDOT now! I want to see where ever penny comes from and goes! Do it now.
Sounds like Perry has his hand in the pie too. What is this crap of “saying NO isn’t an option”?
Seems like Gov Perry needs to be legislated out of the loop some how to get a full accounting from TxDOT.
Man, I hate “Public Servants” that think they don’t have to answer to me (the public)!
If you figure out how we can throw him out of office, let me know.
I will be first in line.
Rino Rick has to go.
His deal with the drug company didn't work out too well for either one. And when Ric wasn't able to deliver on 121, we saw how that turned out for him.