Senator Williams on SB 792
The author of the transportation bill sent an e-mail with two corrections to the interview I posted yesterday on the effect of the bill. Here are his comments:
In response to your question about how the moratorium effects the proposed managed lane projects in the San Antonio area, the post on the Burka Blog is technically correct, but misses an important point. It is my understanding that TxDOT planned on tying Hwy 1604 and Hwy 281 together into one CDA, so the post is accurate in that the bill would “derail a pending concession agreement.” What was not pointed out in the post is that language in the bill would not prevent a CDA during the next two years on Hwy 281 only.
Additionally, I think it is important to point out a misunderstanding posted under the question “What did the governor’s office get from the compromises in SB 792?”
The person interviewed answers that “(1) The bill limits the primacy of local toll authorities initially to a specified list of projects.” This is not accurate. The bill allows the local authorities to complete the projects specifically listed in the bill without agreeing to business terms with TxDOT and then going through the market valuation process. In other words, the Harris County Toll Road Authority can complete the projects listed as they have done for 25 years without interference from TxDOT. Any projects not specifically named in the bill would be subject to the new process set forth in the bill while still giving local authorities the right of primacy or first refusal on those projects.