Grassroots defeat GOLIATH: Stop the sale of TX roads to foreign corporations, protect public pension funds
(Austin, TX – July 2, 2009) Today, ordinary Texans brought Governor Rick Perry’s road privatization, toll road, and Trans Texas Corridor agenda to a screeching halt. The Legislature adjourned without re-authorizing private toll road contracts called Comprehensive Development Agreements (or CDAs). The grassroots scored another victory by KILLING the revolving fund in HB 1, preventing the $2 billion in bonds from being spent to build toll roads, convert freeways to toll roads, or subsidize private toll deals, as well as protecting public employee pension funds from risky toll roads schemes that are failing all over the world.
“It is a hard-fought victory for the grassroots. We killed Goliath, not just Perry’s controversial toll road policies, but we defeated a sold out Senate and the BIG MONEY, the lobbyists, who sank millions into pushing for the sale of Texas highways,” Hank Gilbert, Texas TURF Board member and President of Piney Woods Subregional Planning Commission.
“We applaud Rep. David Leibowitz, once again, for standing up for Texas taxpayers and leading the charge to fix the bill that created a revolving fund that would have raided teacher retirement and public employee pension funds for risky toll road schemes. He authored the bill to KILL the Trans Texas Corridor and another to prevent the conversion of freeways to tollways during the regular session. He’s a proven taxpayer hero and Texans owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude,” said TURF Founder, Terri Hall.
“However, no session is without a few villains. CDA proponents and senate leaders like John Carona and Steve Ogden need to be taken to the woodshed for promising to promote the MOST expensive method of road funding, CDAs, next session, and for wanting to continue to raid public pension funds over the LOUD objections of Texans. None of this is dead in their minds, just postponed until they can resurrect this controversial public fleecing for another day,” Hall emphasized.
Taxpayers wanted Perry’s controversial and virtually universally detested road privatization schemes to die a natural death August 31 as scheduled, which will also KILL the mechanism to build the Trans Texas Corridor (or TTC). Today, they achieved just that. However, TTC-69/I-69 was excepted out of the moratorium, SB 792, in 2007, so TxDOT has the authority to enter into CDAs for that project through 2011. TURF, in cooperation with two private property rights foundations (Stewards of the Range and American Land Foundation) and local governments, have been instrumental in forming subregional planning commissions in the path of TTC-69, and plan to use these commissions to challenge the TTC and keep it from ever being built.