Cintra-Macquarie contract has "absolution" clause…means taxpayers bail them out!

Link to article here.

Republicans in Indiana know they’re in trouble since they IGNORED two-thirds of the electorate who opposed the sale of the Indiana toll road to foreign companies (Cintra-Macquarie, the same two companies vying to control our toll system in San Antonio, read more here). Now they’re trying to distance themselves from it…since Governor Daniels isn’t up for re-election, he’s trying to deflect the blame, but the truth is, the GOP ran ads intimidating members of their own Party to fall in line and vote for the toll road lease to foreign companies. It passed by two votes. Voting records don’t lie, but apparently Daniels thinks he can, especially when he says this lease doesn’t translate into a tax increase.

What, does he think, we’re stupid? Who’s going to pay back this foreign entity the $3.85 billion investment? The taxpayers! A toll is a tax, and when they privatize public infrastructure, it automatically increases toll rates due to a private company’s necessity of profits. Collin County officials here in Texas say “It (privatization) automatically translates into the highest possible tolls for our citizens” (read it here).

Also, Landline Magazine noted that Cintra-Macquarie is raising the truck toll rates on the Indiana Toll Road from $14 to $32 by 2010 (see for yourself here). That’s not a tax increase, Mr. Daniels? Nice try at “spin,” but the taxpayers see it for it is…a slush fund for government on the backs of commuters!

Then, the contract for this toll road lease has an absolution clause in it. This means the TAXPAYERS will bail out these private, foreign companies if the foreign management fails. Read the closing paragraphs below to see for yourself. Are we to believe these same companies won’t include some sort of absolution clause in their contracts with Texas?

Daniels: State Rep. not involved in Toll Road lease
I think it’s really unfair’ to make road pact issue in 2nd District race, governor says.
South Bend Tribune Political Writer
Sep 20, 2006

SOUTH BEND — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who stopped here Tuesday, exempted U.S. Rep. Chris Chocola, R-2nd, from any responsibility for the leasing of the Indiana Toll Road, saying the congressman played no role in the decision.

Daniels, who was responding to a reporter’s question, acknowledged his awareness that the Toll Road decision has popped up in polls as an issue in the congressional campaign between Chocola and Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly.

“I think it’s really unfair,” Daniels said of the situation, adding that “they can blame it on me” if people think $4 billion of new roads and jobs without a penny of tax dollars or passenger car toll increase is a bad idea.

“Chris Chocola had nothing to do with it.”

The governor, who was in town to address the opening session of the Association of Indiana Counties at the Century Center, also took a playful poke at State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, in response to Bauer’s earlier comment about the Toll Road lease revenue being “tainted” money.“For once in his life, Pat Bauer was right about something,” Daniels told the AIC crowd. “T’ain’t a penny of tax increase in there anywhere. T’ain’t a penny of passenger toll increase in there. T’ain’t money we’d ever have gotten any other way.”

At a news conference following his address, Daniels said he was just responding to Bauer’s comments, “I hope in good humor.”

Bauer, who once accused Daniels of “impersonating a Hoosier” during the last election, said Daniels “was trying to resume his role in the election when he played being a southern Indiana boy.”

The South Bend Democrat, who has been a staunch foe of the Toll Road lease, said the administration knows “there’s a real problem” in the lease agreement and noted that the legislation included an absolution clause.

“Absolution is what you get when you confess your sins,” Bauer said. “Therefore, they did something wrong, and the only penance will be paid by the people of Indiana when they pay constantly increasing tolls and see that money go overseas.” Bauer also disputed Daniels’ claim that the Toll Road was a financial loser.

“It never lost money,” said the legislator, citing the road’s $18.4 million in net income in fiscal year 2004 and $11.7 million in fiscal year 2005. “It wasn’t meant to be a cash cow.”