March 08, 2005
Where are those critics of which you speak?
You'd think that a story whose headlines refer to a "bumpy road" and the fact that "its critics" are watching might actually contain a statement or two from those critics, but you'd be wrong. Instead, we get a long piece on the status of the Trans-Texas Corridor with several responses to critics (which includes such cutting brilliance as "When it comes to change, there are always going to be some people upset", because that's the kind of repartee one can have with an absent opponent) from Rick Perry's staff and political allies. What we don't get is anything from the likes of, say, Linda Stall or Erik Slotboom or Polly Ledvina or Robin Holzer. Which is too bad, because then we might have gotten a better article overall. Ah well, such is life.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 08, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
On one page the Chronicle talks about all the new toll roads. Another page discusses even higher gasoline prices. It is possible that the future price of motor fuel will curtail travel and toll revenue. Like our oversupply of stadiums and unused rail right-of-way, we could be financially forced to abandon the freeways due to their maintenance cost/age in favor of the newer tollways.
The Trans-Texas Corridor, along with the FOURTEEN toll road projects currently under evaluation by the Harris County Toll Road Authority, is part of a sweeping shift to toll-taxes over which the public has little or no say.
The Citizens' Transportation Coalition is calling on the Texas Legislature to change state law and make these projects accountable to voters:
- all toll-funded projects should require approval by affected municipalities such as Houston, West U, Bellaire, or Wharton before moving ahead,
- citizens should have the right to petition to say yes or no to specific projects, and
- every toll-funded project should require dedicated public hearings and full environmental reviews.
If you are a member of a civic organization or group that might support a resolution in favor of these changes, please let me or Polly Ledvina know.