Friday, May 11, 2007

House Members Must be Drinking Even Stronger Kool-Aid than Normal

Editorial by Faith Chatham
Legislation passed by the Texas House this week includes deplorable language which stands among some of the worst policies forwarded by that sometimes demenented institution.
1. While refusing to fix Transportation Funding so that Texans can have necessary state infrastucture built and maintained on tax money and pushing approval of 50 year toll contracts with private companies, the Texas House voted to cut gasoline taxes this summer by 20 cents a mile. If they truly cared about high gasoline cost, they could pass a windfall profit tax to hit at the gougers. Instead they send the message that Texas is not in a Transportation funding crisis. Attempting to justify the tax cut by taking the money of the general fund is a sham when they are refusing to stop the diversions from transportation into other uses, refusing to index the gas tax, and refusing to fully fund the Mobility Fund so that the state will have sufficient transportation funds to leverage on the bond market for transportation project financing.
2. The House passed HB 2268 which gives TxDOT, an out-of-control agency which needs an immediate, through investigation and reorganization, more authority.
House Bill 2268 let's TxDOT acquire land before a toll or road project is approved, before environmental studies are completed, before public hearings take place, etc. In short, it lets TxDOT lock in a route in advance, and then pretend like all the public input and research might actually change their decision. - Sal Costello

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