Message from TURF Director Terri Hall:
URGENT: Bill to hand TX highways to private, foreign toll operators up for hearing Wednesday!
Rep. Larry Phillips’ public private partnership toll road bill, HB 2861, is up for a hearing Wednesday, April 12 at 8 AM in House Transportation Committee (Room E2.014).
HB 2861 would hand 14 Texas highways that range from Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio (including I-35 through those cities), down to the valley (including one bridge to South Padre, FM 1925 in Hidalgo County, Hwy 77 in Cameron County) to a private, foreign corporation, plus re-authorize all 10 grandfathered toll projects until 2023!
Toll rates for such deals exceed 75 cents per mile and cost commuters in the metroplex over $40/day. They’re 52-year crony sweetheart deals that socialize the losses and privatize the profits – leaving taxpayers holding the bag when they go bankrupt. They also represent eminent domain for private gain. P3s and CDAs are the MOST expensive way to fund roads and result in the greatest loss of liberty because it gives private corporations the power to tax without accountability to the taxpayers. SH 130 is the first such deal in Texas and it went bankrupt in less than 3 years. Now taxpayers are on the hook for the $438 million federal loan that went into the deal!
We need as many folks as possible to come to the Capitol Wednesday morning to register in opposition to this bill!
If you can stop by and register to oppose the bill…
You can register your opposition to HB 2861 on the iPad kiosks in the extension building of the capitol just before 8 AM and until they close public testimony on the bill. If you have an iPad, you can register using your iPad (search for House Witness Registration on Texas Legislature Online) once you’re close to the capitol building. You can literally pull up near the capitol, register against HB 2861, and then go to work (if you’re in or near Austin). You can also park, come in and register at a kiosk and leave.
If you can stay to testify…
If you wish to stay and testify (which we need!), read this primer on public private partnerships (known as Comprehensive Development Agreements or CDAs in Texas) here. Background on the failed public private partnership SH 130 and its bankruptcy here.
If you can’t make it to the capitol…
Contact the committee members and ask them to
vote ‘NO!’ on HB 2861.
This includes contacting them on Facebook and Twitter, where they really pay attention!
Send an email opposing HB 2861 to committee members. (NOTE: Be sure to be respectful and to include your full name and address.)
Phone numbers for committee members – leave an overnight message if you get this late!
Chair: Rep. Geanie W. Morrison – (512) 463-0456
Vice Chair: Rep. Armando Martinez – (512) 463-0530
Rep. Cindy Burkett – (512)463-0464
Rep. Yvonne Davis – (512)463-0598
Rep. Craig Goldman – (512)463-0608
Rep. Celia Israel – (512)463-0821
Rep. Ina Minjarez – (512)463-0634
Rep. Joseph Pickett – (512)463-0596
Rep. Ron Simmons – (512)463-0478
Rep. Ed Thompson – (512)463-0707
Rep. Senfronia Thompson – (512)463-0720
Rep. John Wray – (512)463-0516