Breaking: Nichols/Kolkhorst file CDA moratorium bill…help is on the way!

Link to blog here.

While we’d prefer to see the Legislature KILL CDAs altogether, this is a HUGE step in the right direction, and with this kind of support, should become law very quickly. The trouble is in the House and the Governor. If the Legislature can pass it with two-thirds of each house (which they clearly have on the Senate side), it would become law immediately. Then the next roadblock becomes this Governor who could veto the bill. But his veto would likely be overturned if it’s passed with two thirds in each house since I believe that’s what’s needed to override a veto. Timing is everything and Carona’s hearing and our rally couldn’t have happened at a better time to give these legislators the “cover” they need from citizens to go head to head with this Governor!

The best news is that every San Antonio Senator signed onto this bill! Call your State Representative NOW (find out who represents you here) and urge them to support Kolkhorst’s CDA Moratorium bill, HB 2772, in time to save 281/1604 from being turned over to a FOREIGN COMPANY! While you’re at it, thank Kolkhorst for filing the bill as well as her bill to KILL the Trans Texas Corridor (HB 1881)!

Big-time toller says whoa
By Pat Driscoll
March 6, 2007

Robert Nichols supported toll-road plans when he served on the Texas Transportation Commission just two years ago, but as a new state senator he says it’s time to apply the brakes and look closer.

The Jacksonville Republican filed a bill today, SB 1267, that would slap a two-year moratorium on privatization of toll roads, including those in the Trans-Texas Corridor.

The bill calls for setting up a group to study the long-term impacts of the state enlisting private corporations to build and operate toll roads in exchange for collecting profits. The governor, lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House would appoint the group.

Nichols, who stepped down from the Transportation Commission in 2005 to run for the Senate, isn’t flying alone.

Twenty-five of the Senate’s 31 members are sponsoring the bill, including several from Bexar County. And Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, filed an identical bill, HB 2772, in the House.

“We must closely evaluate private toll contracts before we sign away half a century of control of our transportation system,” Nichols said. “Many provisions in recent toll contracts are alarming.”

Nichols said he’d like to ban agreements that restrict construction of state roads when they compete with tollways, and enact safeguards for reasonable toll rates and predictable buy-back costs of private toll leases.

Not wanting to stop there, he also filed SB 1268 to outlaw any conversion of an existing free lane to a toll lane, regardless of whether local voters sign off on such a switch.