KBH: The Transportation Policy
Tue December 29, 2009 7:04 pm

Hutchison unveiled her transportation policy today in Tyler. She spoke at the local Chamber of Commerce. Appearing with her were the mayor, the sheriff, and Congressman Louis Gohmert. Perry has been getting endorsements from just about all the trade associations, but Hutchison has endorsements from local officials.

Later, she appeared on a local news broadcast. The anchor introduced Hutchison by saying, "She says the Trans-Texas Corridor plan has been a disaster, and Governor Perry is trying to distance himself from it." Then Hutchison spoke:

He says it's dead. It's in the books and the strategy is still there. Their strategy in TxDOT is to toll everything they can, and that's their idea of good maintenance of our tax dollars. I disagree, one hundred percent.

On the video she speaks a little too rapidly at the start. When I heard it the first time, the first two sentences ran together, so that "it's in the books" seemed to reinforce Perry's assertion that the strategy is dead. She should have said, "He says it's dead, BUT it's still in the books, and the strategy is still there."

Then she concluded with, "Their strategy at TxDOT is to toll everything they can, and that's their idea of good maintenance of our tax dollars. I disagree, one hundred percent.

Hutchison does offer a detailed transportation plan on her web site. It seems pretty good to me with one exception. Here's what it does do:

* Vows to remove authority for the Trans-Texas Corridor from the Transportation Code
* Prohibits tolling of existing free roads (but allows new toll lanes)
* Uses existing right-of-way for expansion
* Prohibits private concessions on frontage roads
* Calls for local input concerning toll roads vs. public construction
* Urges high speed rail
* Requires public ownership and operation of roads
* Changes the Texas Transportation Commission to a 9-member board headed by a CEO of transportation
* Insists on more accountability and transparency at TxDOT
* Ends diversions from Fund 6

The exception that I mentioned above is that her plan doesn't talk about how to pay for roads. If we aren't going to raise the gasoline tax, and if we aren't going to have toll roads, and if we aren't going to issue bonds, how are we going to pay for the road system she wants?

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