January 07, 2009

Innovative Connections In Dookie

TXDOT has killed the TTC. No longer will the massive project building new roads and tolling existing roads be called TTC. It will now be known as Innovative Connectivity in Texas. I don't know about y'all but that sounds more like a seamless WiFi system than rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure but that's that they want to do. Call it ICT.

Which is just as easy an acronym to hate on because, in aggregate, what people hated about this was the privatization of infrastructure and the funding mechanism. And, of course, the abusive use of eminent domain.

EOW, Vince, Kuff and Todd at BOR all have their takes, but they're united in thinking this is more a name change, less a strategy change.

Now the focus shifts over to the Lege. Everyone wants a piece of TXDOT and it's time, frankly, to divvy it up. Sen. Carona (lookit! We're being nice!) has also said that he's focused on indexing the gas tax. What's being left unsaid is the termination of the public private partnerships which have been used as a euphemism for road privatization. Now, the politicos won't admit it but the meltdown in the financial markets have really been a drag on issuing toll revenue bonds because

1) No one wants to buy anything right now, other than Treasuries.
2) Toll revenue bonds perform like subprime mortgage credits.

Of course, this is just for the privatized stuff. While I have a massive problem with the unfairness of tolling, my overriding issue has always been privatization with no risk being born by the free market and taxpayers left on the hook indefinitely. Regular tolling may not be fair for the working poor but neither is the sales tax. And, frankly, the vast majority of you deserve what you get. You either didn't vote or voted for Republicans. Just so you know my motives really are pure, I make a lot of money. I can afford to drive on these roads all day.

Regardless, I want the door completely closed on public private partnerships. They aren't innovative, they don't magically create money and they are basically only a way to take money from taxpayers and give them to friends of the Governor. What we need is fiscal responsibility and rational decision making. And no mas with the political hacks running transportation, right Deidre?

Oh, before I forget, in case you were wondering soon I will be posting about that Legislative Study Bullshit on Transportation Financing. Trust me, it won't be pretty.

Posted by mcblogger at January 7, 2009 08:15 PM

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