Harris County

  • Link to article here.

    This is a deliberate attempt to bypass state law and use toll revenues in any way the county wishes. This is why taxpayers need the protection of Sen. Bob Hall and Rep. Matt Shaheen's bill to remove the toll once the road is paid for and halt these gimmicks used to keep tolls in place FOREVER and use them as politicians' personal slush funds.

    Harris County Toll Revenues Redirected to County Coffers
    A Harris County plan will “sell” toll roads to a newly created government corporation and allow toll road revenues to be spent on unrelated projects.

    By Holly Hansen
    The Texan
    September 18, 2020

    Democrats on the Harris County Commissioners Court have successfully pushed through a controversial plan that shifts toll road system funds into county coffers and circumvents original restrictions on how tollway revenues may be used.

    Approved by voters in 1983, the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) has managed construction, operation, and maintenance of a network of toll roads facilitating traffic through and around the heavily congested Greater Houston area and beyond for more than 30 years.
     
    HCTRA has managed to accumulate $1.6 billion in cash on hand, with about $2.7 billion in bonds. Under the current structure, bond conditions and state law limit the use of these funds to transportation infrastructure and related facilities.

    At last Tuesday’s commissioners court meeting, newly appointed Budget Director David Berry recommended a plan to circumvent restrictions and “provide more efficient funding” for other projects in Harris County.

    Under the new plan, Harris County will create a Local Governance Corporation (LGC), to which they will then sell the existing toll road system. Existing HCTRA bonds will be paid off and reissued under lower rates, but also without the previous restrictions on surplus funds.

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