Politician revolving door– a big rip-off for taxpayers!

Link to Express-News blog article here.
Link to article about Governor Rick Perry’s revolving door aides who go back and forth between public service and BIG FAT private sector jobs after securing MILLIONS in taxpayer money to enrich their companies here.
It’s clear that the majority of our politicians don’t even pretend to serve the public any longer. The system is so corrupt that now holding political office is more about passing legislation to benefit special interest groups, like road builders, and positioning oneself for a lucrative private sector job in one of those special interest industries than it is about being a honest public servant.

Lest we think the examples below are a fluke, let’s recall that the former Executive Director of the San Antonio MPO, JoAnne Walsh, left her job for a six figure income with road builder Parsons-Brinckerhoff (a contractor in Boston’s Big Dig debacle that caused a woman’s death last year) after allocating $500 million in YOUR gas taxes to build toll roads. Then there was Tom Greibel, former Executive Director of the Bexar County tolling authority, who jumped ship to another high priced private sector job with road builder Pape-Dawson shortly thereafter.

Other side of the fence
By Pat Driscoll
Express-News
February 19, 2007

Officials at the helm of two of the big three tollway systems in Texas said last week they’re headed to the private sector.

North Texas Tollway Authority Director Allan Rutter resigned Wednesday after a closed-door board meeting, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported. The former Federal Railroad Administration chief and Gov. George Bush’s transportation adviser, will seek his fortune in public-private toll opportunities.

The change came after months of wrangling, and then reaching an agreement, with the Texas Department of Transportation over who will build a host of toll roads in North Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The next day, Harris County Judge Robert Eckels announced he will step down, KHOU reported. Re-elected just three months ago, he has had job talks with law and investment banking firms in Houston and Washington, the Houston Chronicle said.

Last June, Harris County commissioners decided to keep their toll roads instead of selling them or leasing them and collecting a windfall ranging from $5 million to $20 million (see blog). A study said they could do themselves what a private firm would do to boost profits — raise toll rates on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle says a top contender to replace Eckels is transportation consultant Ed Emmett. He was a state representative from 1979 to 1987, served as interstate commerce commissioner under former President Bush and was CEO of the National Industrial Transportation League before starting his own consulting firm.

By the way, the state’s other big toll system is TxDOT’s Central Texas Turnpike in Austin.

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