“No state in the nation is laying as much asphalt as Texas,” said Rick Perry in a press release dated June 26 and published in the Texas Insider touting the rapid expansion of the Katy Freeway.
Laying the most asphalt is supposed to be something to be proud of? Perhaps the aggregate industry would cheer at such a statement, but how about the average Texan? This seems to demonstrate once again how out of touch our Governor is with ordinary, grassroots citizens. Compare this to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s comments on Perry’s toll road plans for Texas: “The interstate system was conceived and built with Federal tax dollars, so tolling interstates amounts to double taxation…To allow unelected transportation officials to simply install a toll booth on facilities already paid for by Federal tax dollars is unacceptable.”
Read her entire floor speech May 10, 2005, here.
Yes, we want NEEDED highway infrastructure, but we don’t want to indiscriminately pave over Texas for unnecessarily large toll projects when much less was orginally planned and needed for these same highways. The original plan for US 281 called for 12 lanes at the widest parts, now as a tollway, 16 lanes, 6 of which will largely sit idle except during rush hour traffic. On Loop 1604, the original plan called for 2 extra lanes, now as a tollway 4 lanes. The Trans Texas Corridor is perhaps the most glaring example of paving Texas for a project 4 football fields wide and taking over 580,000 acres of private Texans’ land (read more here). Time Magazine called it a BIG, FAT, TEXAS boondoggle, it’s eminent domain abuse of the worst kind, and an OUTRAGE to all Texans outside the highway lobby!
Then there’s the controversial project where TxDOT can drum up tax dollars to build a road to one person’s private property who happens to have connections to Governor Perry (read about it here). Ferrell Davis is a lifetime member of the American Meat Goat Association and former Commissioner of Agriculture, Rick Perry knows the organization well. Davis was also a recipient of the 2001 Man of the Year in Texas Agriculture awarded by the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association. State Representative Rick Perry won the same award in 1990. Davis is also a personal friend of the President and Mrs. Bush (read it here).
It’s this sort of cronyism that rules the day at the Texas Department of Transportation and in the Governor’s office. Perry and his Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson are determined to sell Texas to the highest bidder. Time to clean house!