2007 (80th legislative session)

TURF Bill Tracker from 2007 session

Privatization/Foreign management:

Two-year Moratorium on Comprehensive Development Agreements (Public-Private Partnerships)
(SB 1267 /HB 2772 - Carona/Kolkhorst), Prevents ANY private entity from collecting revenue or operating/maintaining ANY toll project for 2 years. Forms a study committee to report to Legislature by December 1, 2008. 
 
Prevents foreign ownership
(HB 1321 – Farias/Leibowitz), No public road, highway, tollway, or infrastructure (highways, roads, bridges, ports, etc.) should come under the ownership, lease or control of private entities, particularly foreign-owned/controlled entities.
Actual bill relates to prohibiting an agency or political subdivision of this state, in connection with a public road, highway, toll road, port, or related infrastructure under its jurisdiction, from granting an interest in the property to a private entity.

Public-Private Partnerships: (Comprehensive Development Agreements)

(SB 1267/HB 2772 - Nichols/Kolkhorst), To place a two-year moratorium on public-private partnerships (CDAs), require public hearings, set up study group on impacts.

(SB 275 – Carona) - Actual bill relating to the length of certain agreements
with private entities related to transportation projects.

(SB 621 – Carona) - Actual bill would prohibit taxpayer payments to
private developer who lost a proposed bid for a toll project.

(SB 256 – Carona) - Prohibit TxDOT/RMAs from receiving upfront
payments from private entities (which creates the effect of hawking public
assets for fast cash)

(SB 126 – Carona), another alternative to privatizing and tolling roads,
depositing certain transportation related taxes/fees into Texas Mobility Fund
vs. General Revenue Fund

Gas tax - 

(SB 165 – Carona), Create alternative to privatizing roads by indexing
gas tax. Index gas tax to construction costs as suggested by Texas Transportation
Institute Study
 
Local option sales tax for transportation
(SB 257 – Carona), Would give local governments an opportunity to generate additional dollars
for roads. It would allow an extra penny to be added to local sales taxes for
transportation projects. San Antonio already has this.

Non-competes:

(SB 149 - Carona), Given widespread concerns over non-competes that were laid out very well
in the December 2006 Texas Monthly   No state road or infrastructure project (highways, roads, bridges, ports,
etc.) should include a non-compete agreement in any form including but not
limited to restricting or prohibiting maintenance, improvements, and/or
expansion or anything that could downgrade or otherwise reduce the
effectiveness or efficiency of surrounding lanes, roads, or areas or otherwise
inhibit the public good.
 

Abolish Trans Texas Corridor –

(HB 1881 – Kolkhorst/HB 857 - Leibowitz), Will repeal the Trans-Texas Corridor from the transportation code,
effectively killing the proposal by removing the enabling legislation which
would have served as the foundation for any future corridor project.
(HB 1880 - Kolkhorst), would also seriously inhibit the financing of the
Trans Texas Corridor

Eminent Domain -  

(SB 1210/SB 1076 - Carona), addresses eminent domain concerns brought to light from the Trans Texas Corridor. Requires adequate compensation based on market value of property and requires notification of legislator in affected district. SB 1076 nixes quick takings through eminent domain as it pertains to TTC.  

Tolling public freeways/conversion:

(SB 1268 Nichols/HB 719 Leibowitz), Any publicly funded right of way SHOULD NOT BE tolled. HB 719 bill is
relating to the operation of a state highway or segment of a state highway as
a toll project. This would keep FREEways FREE. SB 1268 would prevent ANY non-toll lane from becoming a toll lane.

Other bills to watch:  

Abolish Transportation Commission, replace with
single elected Commissioner
(HB 154 - Pickett), Given the lack of accountability and transparency to the public, abolish the
Transportation Commission replace with single elected Commissioner.

Ensures TxDOT will have to hold public hearings for toll projects (which they can skirt around once they can use their toll road slush fund to build toll projects versus gas taxes which are regulated and require hearings)
(HB 549), Requires the preparation of an environmental impact statement for any toll project the Texas Department of Transportation may undertake.

Limits on use of information collected
(HB 570 - Leibowitz), Bill limiting use of license plate information collected on a toll road.
 
Requiring transparency in toll contracts -
(SB 995 - Nelson), Requiring public disclosure of toll rates, formulas, debt and debt service. Requires public hearings detailing such terms of toll contracts BEFORE entering into contract.

Regional Mobility Authorities: (Not yet filed - Rodriguez)
Governing Boards of all Regional Mobility Authorities should be directly
elected.

Diversion of transportation dollars to non-salient
projects:
(SB 1075/SJR 37 - Wentworth)
All gas taxes and toll revenues must be used strictly to fund transportation
ONLY. Allocation of funds accrued from tolls on roads should be governed
by elected bodies and used only for transportation.
 
Tolls should cease when project paid for –
(SB 531 - Carona), Tolls should come off the roads once paid for with ongoing maintenance of
the road then being absorbed into the existing highway maintenance budget.

Prohibit TxDOT from lobbying Congress –
(SB 2 – Carona), Requesting the Texas Transportation Commission to cease efforts to
influence Congress and other states for changes in federal law relating to the
statewide transportation enhancement program.

Granting counties powers to control their own toll
systems without TxDOT interference –
(SB 792 - Carona), Relating to the power of counties and certain other public entities with
respect to certain transportation projects.

Puts a cap on toll rates –
(SB 386 - Carona), Tolls can only be set at a rate that covers debt service, operation and
maintenance, and reserves.

(SB 255 - Carona), Require financial reporting/accountability from
TxDOT
 
(HB 1688 – Farias), Relating to certain roads that intersect the Trans
Texas Corridor
 
(SB 668 – Watson/HB 1574 – Strama), Operations, powers, and duties of toll project entity

Constitutional amendment - Legislature to override
Governor’s veto
(SJR 28 – Wentworth/HJR 59 - Elkins), Automatic Special Session to override Governor’s veto with joint resolutions

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