TxDOT Sunset Bill, HB 300 CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE NOW!

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Feb 21, 2008
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Rep. Jose Menendez of SAN ANTONIO has put forward an amendment to HB 300 to re-authorize CDAs/PPPs which sell our highway system to the HIGHEST BIDDER, ie - foreign toll operators who charge oppressively high tolls in sweetheart deals, like the 75 cents a mile on two deals just inked with Cintra in DFW

Call the Capitol swtichboard NOW at 512-463-4630 to tell your State Representative to vote NO to re-authorize CDAs that sell our highways to foreign corporations!

Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom :: TURF - Defending citizens’ concerns about Toll Roads & the Trans Texas Corridor - TxDOT Sunset Bill, HB 300

ACTION ITEM
Call the Capitol switchboard NOW at 512-463-4630 to tell your State Representative to vote NO to re-authorize CDAs that sell our highways to foreign corporations! The switchboard closes at 5 PM, so find your State Rep's direct phone number here after 5 PM. You need your Texas State Representative, not members of US Congress.

Below is an updated list of all the amendments we support/oppose for HB 300 out of the 166 amendments filed. All the BAD bills we've been watching have, in fact, been filed as amendments. Most have been filed by Larry Phillips, Carl Isett, and Wayne Smith.

Also, to reiterate, we support a Legislative Oversight Committee and Inspector General, and that MPOs have at LEAST 75% elected officials and that only elected officials have voting powers.

Since there are no amendment numbers at this moment, here's our best attempt at how to identify them:



Amendments we must DEFEAT:


1) Linda Harper-Brown to allow TxDOT to PAY for Expedited Environmental Clearance!
Subchapter A, Chapter 222, Transportation Code, amended by adding Section 222.004, (SB 502 - Carona)
for expedited environmental review - It would allow TxDOT, RMAs, MPOs, etc. to use some of its federal dollars to enter into intra-agency agreements to PAY federal agencies to hire staff to expedite the environmental review of road projects. This would bias the process in favor of the agency's desired outcome, which is to get clearance. What better way than to pay the feds or state agencies (like fish & wildlife) to hire more staff to give you your desired outcome....which is not only clearance but expedited clearance! While we can understand if there's a backlog in certain departments, the way to solve the issue is NOT to have the agency seeking clearance PAY the understaffed department to get expedited clearance!


2) Menendez/Frost et al to re-authorize CDAs (NO, NO, MAY IT NEVER BE!!!!!!!!)
Subsections (f) and (i), Section 223.201,Transportation Code, (HB 1557/SB 404 - Wayne Smith/ Carona)
-to re-authorize CDAs/PPP public private partnership toll contracts that sell our highway system to the highest bidder and result in extremely high tolls like the 75 cents a mile or over $3,000 a YEAR in new toll taxes on two CDAs with Cintra in DFW (I-820 & I-635). Read about the NIGHTMARE it here: Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom :: TURF - Defending citizens’ concerns about Toll Roads & the Trans Texas Corridor - Cintra lands 52 year deal on I-635 in Dallas

3) Wayne Smith that gives the appearance of "public protection" for CDAs, but allows them to waive these steps and jump right to a CDA putting our highway system under the control of foreign corporations!
SECTION 1. Section 223.201 (f) and (i), Transportation Code, COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS (HB 2929/SB 17- Wayne Smith/Nichols)
-It gives the illusion of public protections for CDAs, but has a get out of jail free card, a waiver clause, in it that would allow for an unlimited amount of CDAs to be signed for 6 more years, should they be re-authorized.

4) Larry Phillips that gives RMAs more powers including using BORROWED MONEY to pay back BORROWED MONEY that got us into the global financial meltdown/mortgage crisis we're in today! (SB 1669/HB 2990 - Nichols/Phillips)
• SECTION 1. Sec 370.0333 (12) and (14) also allows them to raid funds from one toll project and set of motorists to subsidize other FAILING toll projects.
We also oppose his amendment to give RMAs power to enter into CDAs
• SUBCHAPTER E Sec 371.301 - NO to giving RMAs powers to enter into CDAs!!! NO CDAs!

5) Pickett that again allows paying back borrowed money with more borrowed money
SECTION 1, Sec 201.943 (d)
- Also, his amendment to SECTION 1 Chapter 162 of Tax Code, Subchapter G, Sec 162.601 - instead of rebating people their gas tax money for using toll roads, let's properly fund state highways and eliminate the need for more cumbersome programs created by toll roads

6) Isett - to revert back to best value bidding...we're trying to END this taxpayer rip-off and get back to low bid competitive bidding again!

7) McClendon - to create or give Rapid Transit Authority RMA powers. The local elected officials want to dissolve the Alamo RMA in lieu of legislation to create a new agency.
- Also do not support the amendment to divert gas taxes to pay for rail (amendment to Page 30)

8) We also oppose any toll collection language that penalizes owners of vehicles instead of the drivers who commit the violation, that violate privacy and personal information, that criminalize motorists even for mistakenly getting on an electronic toll facility, charging unreasonable fines, failing to mail notice of violations by registered mail, and anything that violates due process like being able to face one's accuser or that assumes a person is guilty until proven innocent, etc.




Amendments we support:


Leibowitz:
– Repeal of the Trans Texas Corridor (Kolkhorst also filed)
- SECTION 3.04 Sec 228.201 (a) Remove loopholes that allow tolls on existing roads (THIS ONE IS ABSOLUTELY PARAMOUNT WE PASS)
- Regionally ELECTED transportation commission
- Allows State Auditor to retain oversight over any CDAs (Should they be re-authorized! May it NEVER be!)
- To subject TxDOT to further scrutiny in its contracts!
- To have the State Auditor review CDAs should they be re-authorized (NO CDAs, MAY IT NEVER BE!)

Coleman: (ALL of these are VERY important!)
– Article 1 Sec 201.6041 to require non-toll options be evaluated, and ensure compliance w/ federal law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
- SECTION 1 Sec 201.109 (b) to strip mandates of private investment in our public infrastructure and maximizing the revenue from our existing assets (ie - CDAs & tolling existing roads) language from transportation code (Sec 201.109)
– Article 4 Sec 223.203 (a) and (o) to remove “best value bidding” from the transportation code to return to “competitive/low bid” bidding (Sec 223.203) (THEREFORE WE OPPOSE ISETT'S ATTEMPT TO REVERT BACK TO BEST VALUE BIDDING!)

Harper-Brown:
- to repeal the TxDOT Minute Order requiring all projects be studied for tolls first (SECTION 1, Sec 201.622)
- Page 73, after line 8: public involvement/comment must require disclosure of a person's business or nature of employment to disclose who may financially benefit from a project (like those who contract with or may contract with TxDOT) to allow ordinary citizens/taxpayers' input to be weighted differently than those who stand to gain from road projects

Paxton (Harper-Brown):
– removes the word “marketing” from the prohibition of promotion of toll projects by TxDOT

McClendon/Harper-Brown:
– Single elected commissioner

Yvonne Davis/Miklos:
- to strip Sec 371.052 (d) from the code that keeps Traffic & Revenue/toll viability studies secret from the public until a contract is signed.

Mando Martinez:
- Greater transparency for dept contracts

Moody:
-Disclosure of lobbying expenditures and political contributions

Alvarado/Anchia:
- to expand prohibition on LOBBYING (Sec 201.211/Sec 201.004)

Davis/Alonzo/Dunnam:
- to limit length of toll contracts

Callegari:
- to compensate landowners for diminished access
- Traffic control signalization study

Pickett/Farrar:
-to eliminate non-compete clauses

Pickett:
- to subject tolling entities to Sunset review (would like to see a provision added to prevent TxDOT from selling off a tolling entity's system to a private entity in the event that a tolling agency sunsets and TxDOT inherits a system)

Hochberg:
- we support all of his amendments!

We support amendments to protect toll users personal information.
 

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