If Governor Perry and his buddy, Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson, can no longer write their own ticket on private toll contracts (CDAs) due to the moratorium bill HB 1892, they decided to make PUBLIC toll entities just as insidious as private ones with a provision in the “compromise” bill SB 792. That provision is called “market valuation.” It essentially allows the PUBLIC toll entity to view the toll project as an asset (Ric Williamson’s stated goal) on the open market like these private companies do, and would handle the project like a private toll contract and determine an upfront payment to be paid to the government based on its determined worth. This is just like Cintra offering Dallas officials $2.8 billion up front for Hwy 121 in exchange for the right to collect tolls for 50 years.
In short, “market valuation” translates into the HIGHEST POSSIBLE TOLLS for our citizens, which is one of the primary complaints of using these private toll contracts.
So if this “compromise” bill, SB 792, passes with this language, the moratorium is useless since the PUBLIC toll entities would now function like these private toll companies. Dennis Enright, Public Private Partnership expert who testified at Senator John Carona’s hearing March 1, said CDAs cost 50% more and that toll projects should remain in the PUBLIC sector. But inject this “market valuation” scheme, and you end up with the same high toll escalation and increased costs to motorists as the private toll contracts. Williamson actually chided the Legislature for trying to keep the tolls as low as possible with traditional turnpikes. Instead of just selling public bonds to finance the construction of the road and charging tolls until that bond debt is retired like a traditional toll road, Perry and Williamson (and their road lobby friends) want to siphon our hard earned income into their toll road slush fund.
Our highways belong to TEXANS and they’re not “assets” for Perry or Willliamson to maximize the value of. The point of toll projects is to accelerate road projects and provide transportation not to treat them as assets for sale. Our highway system cannot infuse “market” principles. We have a limited government supply of highways; it’s not a ubiquitous product in a competitive environment like choosing between the many different types and brands of potato chips. There’s only ONE Hwy 281, and only ONE Hwy 121. This “market” approach is more akin to state run capitalism through the granting of monopolies than it is free market as they would have us believe.
Contact your State Representative NOW to ask them to change this bill!
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE RIGHT NOW and ask them respectfully but firmly to:
“Stand strong in support of the provisions in HB 1892. You need to keep taxpayer protections and strip the ‘market valuation’ language in SB 792 to make this bill acceptable! Be ready to override any Governor veto.”
Find out who your reps are here.
You may contact each representative by calling the Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 and/or via email below:
San Antonio State Representatives:
Rep. Joe Farias, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. David Leibowitz, email@example.com
Rep. Nathan Macias, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Joe Straus, email@example.com
Rep. Joaquin Castro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer – email@example.com
Rep. Frank Corte – STREP123@aol.com
Rep. Ruth McClendon-Jones – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jose Menendez – email@example.com
Rep. Robert Puente – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mike Villarreal – email@example.com
Rep. Edmund Kuempel – firstname.lastname@example.org