For all the outrage over the Trans-Texas Corridor in the Appropriations committee yesterday (see “Kicked in the Asphalt”), the list of bills in the Transportation committee does not offer much concrete hope (yuk, yuk) for change. Chairman Krusee has not even filed a bill dealing with the subject, which means that there isn’t a vehicle (yuk, yuk) that could be amended on the floor.
Pickett proposes abolishing the Texas Transportation Commission and making the position of transportation commissioner (analagous to Ric Williamson’s job) elected.
Coleman wants a moratorium on tolls.
Leibowitz wants to repeal the authority for the Trans-Texas Corridor and to prohibit tolling unless a road was initially designated as a toll road.
Farias would require TxDOT to provide intersections between state highways and the Corridor.
Strama has the companion bill to legislation by Senator Watson that would require the presence of elected officials on local boards that determine toll policy.
Kolkhorst, joined by R. Cook and Zerwas, wants to repeal the authority for the Corridor.
The Watson-Strama bill might have some life, but none of the others are going anywhere as long as Krusee is chairman. Most of them are shots across TxDOT’s bow rather than efforts at reform. With only nine days left to introduce bills before members must seek the permission of their colleagues to do so, no member of the House has made an effort to address the lack of legislative oversight of the vast sums that will be generated by the Corridor toll roads. The recent state auditor’s report on the first Corridor highway, TTC-35, could provide a blueprint for legislative action, but so far House members have preferred talk and table pounding. And who is surprised by that?