April 08, 2009

Texas Lawmakers 'Not Seeing the Forest For the Trees'

When can we deal with the REAL issues?

Stop the bullshit and finance our roadways!

In an Austin Statesman article we are told, "A half dozen senators, led by state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, held a press conference this morning to bemoan the sorry state of transportation finances in Texas and push for Carona’s SB 855, which would allow metro area county commissions to ask local voters for added fees or taxes to build roads and rail. That bill may or may not come up this afternoon on the Senate floor."

So, if that's the case, why do lawmakers continue to divert a large portion of gas tax revenues to other interests, e.g., higher education and DPS? Why don't they stop diverting tax dollars that are supposed to be used to build and maintain Texas roadways?

In addition, let lawmakers divert money from general "slush" funds that go to their special interests and instead re-divert them to building and maintaining our roadways. There is a lot of money in state government that is NOT being used in maximum efficiency. We need to set REAL priorities and finance those adequately.

For years lawmakers permitted TxDOT to advertise their toll roads using taxpayer dollars. The agency also used tax dollars to lobby the U.S. Congress for legislation that would have permitted toll roads on existing and already paid roadways.

Other Texas agencies wasted millions of our tax dollars every year. We have money to build and maintain our roadways if we make it a priority.

It's time legislators become more productive in their efforts to resolving the urgent issues. We need to get rid of this special interest "do-nothing" mentality.

Texans must demand lawmakers provide the money needed for our roadways without initiating new taxes to do it. Use the money available first. Use part or all of the rainy day funds! Isn't it raining now? What are we saving it for?

Peter Stern

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Posted by pstern at April 8, 2009 03:06 PM

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