Contact: Terri Hall, Founder/Director, TURF, (210) 275-0640
Ex-Commissioner, Former Pro-Toller files bill to STOP any further PRIVATE toll contracts
Rebuke of Rick Perry's transportation policies
Austin, TX, Wednesday, March 7, 2007 – Former Transportation Commissioner turned State Senator, Robert Nichols, filed a bill yesterday that would immediately HALT any further Public-Private Partnerships or Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDAs) from taking effect. SB 1267 would enact a 2 year moratorium on CDAs and create a study group to investigate the impact of CDAs on the public and its roadways.
Twenty five of 31 state senators signed on to the bill which demonstrates a total repudiation of Governor Rick Perry's transportation policies by the Senate. Representative Lois Kolkhorst introduced the companion bill in the House (HB 2772). Each bill needs two thirds of each house in order for it to take effect immediately (which will also demonstrate to the Governor that the Legislature has the votes to override any potential veto). It's noteworthy that EVERY San Antonio Senator signed on to the bill. This, too, is significant since it demonstrates the massive grassroots effort to gain the Legislature's ear in the effort to beat back Perry's toll proliferation and the privatization of our public highways.
Grassroots groups all over the state are urging their members to contact their State Representatives to help garner the 100 votes needed to make this law take effect immediately. Legislators are reacting to the recently signed CDA for Hwy 121 in Dallas (http://satollparty.com/post/?p=548) that many have called "disturbing" like the non-compete clause and the formula used to escalate toll rates. Legislators in various committees that were briefed on the State Auditor's report of TxDOT (http://satollparty.com/post/?p=540) released February 23, are already asking how to buy out the 121 contract.
Locally, this bill, should it become law in time and sustain a veto attempt, would block TxDOT from signing a CDA with one of two foreign bidders (http://satollparty.com/post/?p=14) for what TxDOT has dubbed the San Antonio toll starter system (a 47 mile network on US 281 and Loop 1604) which is set to go to contract any time. Nichols also introduced a bill (SB 1268) that would prevent ANY non-toll lane from becoming a toll lane.
For more info: http://satollparty.com/post/?p=564.