FROM JEROME CORSI'S RED ALERT
It's b-a-a-ck! Trans-Texas Corridor rises from dead
Plans revived to build public-private partnership toll roads
Posted: April 03, 2011
9:46 pm Eastern
Editor's Note: The following report is excerpted from Jerome Corsi's Red Alert, the premium online newsletter published by the current No. 1 best-selling author, WND staff writer and senior managing director of the Financial Services Group at Gilford Securities.
Believe it or not, the Trans-Texas Corridor is back, Jerome Corsi's Red Alert reports.
Texas state Rep. Larry Phillips has introduced in the state Legislature H.B. 3789, a bill designed to allow public-private partnerships, better known as PPPs, to develop toll roads throughout Texas.
"The only thing missing is the name 'Trans-Texas Corridor' and the comprehensive development agreement, or CDA, that specifies the private partners involved in building the new generation of Texas toll roads," Corsi wrote.
In all, some 26 bills have been introduced into the Texas Legislature that would sell a wide variety of public infrastructure, including highways, mass transit facilities, hospitals, schools, recreational facilities, public buildings, technology architecture and even parking lots to private corporations in some fashion.
"Texas, like some 40 other states facing budget deficits that could lead to significant cut-backs in public services, has gone the route of 'America for sale' in the enthusiasm to convert freeways into toll roads and government infrastructure into PPP projects that would permit, if not invite, foreign private corporate involvement and ownership," Corsi noted.
But did the Trans-Texas Corridor every really die?
In January 2009, Amadeo Saenz, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, proclaimed to the Dallas News, "Make no mistake: The Trans-Texas Corridor, as we have known it, no longer exists."
Corsi added, "The operative qualifying clause in that proclamation was the phrase 'as we have known it,' given that the Trans-Texas Corridor, or TTC, appears alive and well. Evidence on numerous government and industry alliance websites shows the TTC project is proceeding under the cover of being broken up into two separate projects and rebranded as the I-35 Corridor and the I-69 Corridor."
For more information on plans for a Trans-Texas Corridor, read Jerome Corsi's Red Alert, the premium, online intelligence news source by the WND staff writer, columnist and author of the New York Times No. 1 best-seller, "The Obama Nation."
Red Alert's author, who received a doctorate from Harvard in political science in 1972, is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-sellers "The Obama Nation" and (with co-author John E. O'Neill) "Unfit for Command." He is also the author of several other books, including "America for Sale," "The Late Great U.S.A." and "Why Israel Can't Wait." In addition to serving as a senior staff reporter for WorldNetDaily, Corsi is a senior managing director in the financial-services group at Gilford Securities.
Disclosure: Gilford Securities, founded in 1979, is a full-service boutique investment firm headquartered in New York City providing an array of financial services to institutional and retail clients, from investment banking and equity research to retirement planning and wealth-management services. The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the author are his alone and do not necessarily reflect Gilford Securities Incorporated's views, opinions, positions or strategies. Gilford Securities Incorporated makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability or validity of any information expressed herein and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.
Link to article here.
Remember the Trans-Texas Corridor? It’s baaa-aaack!
Posted March 31, 2011 - 9:01am
The Gonzales Cannon
Some things in this world are curious. Other things make sense.
Take air fresheners, for example. They’re designed, marketed to and sold primarily to women. That’s not a critique, ladies, it’s just a simple statement of fact: women apparently have a more delicate olfactory sensibility than men, which is why air fresheners smell like “Summer Rain,” “Apple Cinnamon” and “Fresh Linen.”
We guys, we’re a little more down-to-earth. If they made air fresheners for men, you’d get flavors like “Wet Muddy Dog,” “Stale Laundry” or “Dallas Cowboys Locker Room” (or, even better, “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Locker Room”).
That’s one of those observations about the world that’s curious at first, but later makes sense.
But we seem to have a plethora of things that make you go “Duh!” these days.
Remember the Trans-Texas Corridor? To paraphrase Heather O’Rourke: “It’s baaaaa-aaaaack!”
You’ll recall the state dropped the idea of creating a super-highway for ramshackle Mexican trucks to clatter unimpeded from Laredo to the Oklahoma border a couple of years ago, over the outcry of Texas citizens who objected to the fact that it was a highway for Mexican commerce, using land taken involuntarily from Texas landowners, which would be built by a Spanish company and would be paid for by Texas taxpayers.
Texas Department of Transportation officials bore the brunt of citizens’ ire for the project’s leading proponent (Gov. Rick Perry), including some public meetings where soccer moms threatened to impede progress with shotguns.
Never let it be said our state legislators aren’t a determined lot.
After placating fundamentalists with a bill to allow anti-abortion messages on license plates, State Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) has done what so many other Texas Republicans have done — gone back to business as usual, spending taxpayers’ money like a Democrat.
Phillips has now introduced HB 3789, relating to the development of toll roads through public-private partnerships — the underlying concept of the “abandoned” Trans-Texas Corridor.
HB 3789, along with several others which allow the state to privatize and/or turn existing highways into toll roads, began hearings in Austin this week. All of the bills take the whole concept of government transparency and chunk it out the window, giving the state the authority to charge you extra money for using the highways you paid for already and, conceivably, giving the roads and the land they sit on to foreign corporations. Among the roads targeted to become a tollway: US Highway 183 coming out of Austin.
The Legislature has given us one positive gem this session, of course. The House recently passed legislation requiring voters to present a valid ID when they go to cast ballots in an effort to prevent fraud. A conference committee will iron out differences before the bill goes to Gov. Perry for his signature, and you can bet that all the acronym organizations (ACORN, SEIU, LULAC) are already mustering their forces for a legal challenge
Many of the legislators made statements that their driving concern was to guarantee honesty and integrity in our voting system. And many of them cast their votes for this and other bills by having a colleague cast their vote for them -- sometimes when they’re not even in town.
It’s called “ghost voting,” a practice which has developed primarily because of Texas’ unusual legislative set-up: 140-day sessions once every two years. To be fair, lawmakers can’t be on the floor of the House or Senate at all times, and sessions are very busy. But we live in an age when any third-grader can use an iPhone to keep up with the latest happenings in Timbuktu; surely, our legislators could find some lobbyists to supply them with the requisite communications devices.
Of course, there’s communication and there’s communication.
Over in my old stomping ground, the Katy ISD, the local school board is, like many others around the state, wrestling with projected budget cuts in state funding. Among the ideas to save the district some dough is elimination of the bilingual program -- an idea which apparently frightens some parents there.
Bilingual education teaches kids in two languages at once -- usually English and Spanish -- rather than having them learn English first. The idea is that by being taught in their native language they can slowly transition into the all-English world without being too far behind others their age. It is one of those edu-theories that administrators and ethnic activists love.
In practice, it doesn’t work quite so well — one California study a few years back found that a lot of kids (some of whom spent their entire school careers in bilingual education) still could not communicate in English and were two or three years behind counterparts in other subjects, although they were well-versed in Central and South American culture.
The California study recommended complete immersion, especially for younger students, as the most effective way to have kids be able to learn English in order to be competitive academically and in the workforce. Early immersion, in fact, put more non-native speakers on a par with their classmates.
The Katy bilingual debate is but one of many developing around the state. The Legislature is trying hard to lessen the impact of the state budget shortfall, but the only thing it could do to avoid cutting funding across the board is to raise taxes — and if you thought there was going to be a shooting war over the Trans-Texas Corridor, watch what happens if they try to sneak a tax increase through.