I received this e-mail today, from David Epperson:
I was one of the two co-authors of the report of the Legislative Study Committee on Private Participation in Toll Projects at the end of 2008.
We addressed the issue of diversions two years ago and made the same points your blog points out today, namely that eliminating diversions from Fund 6 is really just an accounting exercise, as the primary diversion - DPS - will require funding from somewhere.
That being said, I'd support eliminating the diversions to make the accounting cleaner, for this reason: We've had so much dishonest accounting at all levels of our society lately (i.e., can anyone guess what Citibank is really worth, given the current "extend and pretend" policies regarding bad debt), so making it more clear what things actually cost is not a bad idea.
The trouble - and one of the most frustrating things for anyone taking a serious look at transportation finance - is that too many people are living in financial fantasy-land, with the idea that eliminating diversions will solve our highway funding problems. As you're well aware, the gap is too large for any easy or painless solution to work.
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Thanks to Mr. Epperson for his work, in 2008 and now. This is an old story in Texas state government. Everybody wants more roads; nobody wants to pay for them. This is true of state services generally. We all want good schools, good roads, better health care, so long as they come from the Budget Fairy.
- 1 week