Perry pledging to "raise some dollars for roads"

As the Texas Governor’s race heats up, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who’s challenging Rick Perry, released a telling video today that shows the complete waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars by Perry’s highway department. Hutchison makes the argument that why would Texans want to give such a rogue agency MORE of their hard-earned money unless there’s accountability with the money we already give them? We say: here, here! Indeed, Perry’s push to sell-off Texas public roads to foreign toll operators in 50 year sweetheart deals is the MOST EXPENSIVE way to fund roads.

From Hutchison’s press release today:

“When Rick Perry says he’s going ‘to raise some dollars’ for roads, Texans can trust that it’s a commitment he’ll keep to build more toll roads, raise taxes and look at higher gas taxes. Instead of making it more costly for Texas drivers to go to and from work, Rick Perry should end the rampant mismanagement at TxDOT that is wasting billions on everything but roads. As governor, Kay Bailey Hutchison will end the cronyism, reform TxDOT and return to our tradition of free, quality highways and roads.” – Joe Pounder, Texans for Kay Spokesman

Austin, TX – Yesterday, in Dallas, Rick Perry answered a question about transportation priorities by saying we must “come to a stronger realization that we’re going to have to expand our ability to raise some dollars to build roads.” Does that mean more toll roads? Higher taxes? Higher gas taxes? Check out the facts below and our new web video here

Yesterday, In Dallas, Rick Perry Promised “To Expand Our Ability To Raise Some Dollars To Build The Roads”:

Rick Perry: “So Hopefully When We Come Back In 2011, Both The Citizens And Their Elected Officials Will Come To A Stronger Realization That We’re Going To Have To Expand Our Ability To Raise Some Dollars.” PERRY: “One of the problems is that we do not have the dollars that we need to build all the transportation infrastructure needs that we have. So hopefully when we come back in 2011, both the citizens and their elected officials will come to a stronger realization that we’re going to have to expand our ability to raise some dollars to build the roads so that you don’t have the strangulation in places along the 1-35 corridor.” (Rick Perry, Remarks At Conrad High School, Dallas, TX, 11/16/09)

Rick Perry Has Aggressively Championed Toll Roads:

As Governor, Perry Has “Turned Texas Transportation On Its Head, Moving The State From Financing Public Roads Solely With Taxes To A System That Would Be Heavily Dependent On Tolls And Private Road Operators.” “What isn’t in dispute is that the Republican governor and his appointees over the past six years have turned Texas transportation on its head, moving the state from financing public roads solely with taxes to a system that would be heavily dependent on tolls and private road operators.” (Ben Wear, “Governor’s Vision For Roads Could Take A Toll,” Austin American-Statesman, 8/20/06)

Rick Perry Has Diverted Billions In Critical Transportation Dollars To Fund Other Programs:

In August 2009, Houston Chronicle Reported $1.2 Billion Diverted From Gas Tax-Funded Highway Fund To Pay For Things Other Than Road Building In 2010-2011 Budget. “Apart from the general revenue funds, lawmakers did make headway on reducing diversions from a separate account [in the FY2010-11 budget], the gasoline-tax-fueled highway fund – although $1.2 billion still will be diverted from road building.” (Peggy Fikac, “Dedicated funds diverted to state budget,” Houston Chronicle, 8/2/09)

In 2008-2009 Budget Cycle, Nearly $1.6 Billion In Gas Tax Revenue For TxDOT Was Diverted To Other Sources. “But in the letter last week, the three leaders supported ending or curtailing significantly the use of gas tax money for state needs other than building transportation projects. About $1.6 billion in the current two-year state budget went to such ‘diversions,’ the bulk of it to the Texas Department of Public Safety” (Ben Wear, “TxDOT to borrow against gas tax,” Austin American-Statesman, 8/30/08)

Perry Was “Open To Allowing Indexing” Of The Gas Tax:

In 2007, Perry’s Spokeswoman Said Perry Was Open To Indexing The Gas Tax. “Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch advocate for privatization and tolling, has long opposed proposals to increase the gas tax but would be open to allowing indexing, spokeswoman Allison Castle said.” (Patrick Driscoll, “Senator Urging Funding For Roads,” Houston Chronicle, 10/11/07)

Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Record Of Putting Texas First

As Governor, Hutchison Will Take Action To Improve Our Transportation System, Reorganize TxDOT And Put An End To Cronyism And Mismanagement. HUTCHISON: “As governor, you can trust that I will improve our transportation system. To start, I will reorganize the Texas Department of Transportation. We will end the cronyism and mismanagement. Today, TXDOT is the most arrogant state agency in Texas history and it must be reformed. It’s time we return to our tradition of free, quality highways and roads.” (Kay Bailey Hutchison, Remarks To The Texas Federation Of Republican Women, Galveston, TX, 11/14/09)

· TTC “ROAD TO NOWHERE”: “In January, TxDOT Said It Had Spent $131 Million On Planning And Environmental Work For The Trans-Texas Corridor.” (Ben Wear, “I-35 Toll Twin Officially Dies,” Austin American-Statesman, 10/7/09)

· TXDOT POOR PLANNING: Because Of Their Poor Planning, TxDOT Was Forced To Return $742 Million In Federal Highway Funds. “Faced with deteriorating pavement quality scores and growing congestion, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) was required to return more than $742 million to the federal government Wednesday as part of an $8.708 billion rescission of highway project programming authority.” (TxDOT, “TxDOT To Lose $742 Million In Federal Funding,” Press Release, 10/1/09)

· TXDOT ACCOUNTING ERROR: In February 2008, Department Of Transportation Officials Admitted That TxDOT Had Made $1.1 Billion Accounting Error. (Ben Wear, “State road officials say they erred by $1 billion,” Austin American-Statesman, 2/6/08)

Hutchison Has Increased The Amount Of Transportation Dollars Coming Back To Texas:

Hutchison Has Increased Amount Of Funding Returning To Texas From Highway Trust Fund From 76 Cents Per Dollar In 1993, To 92 Cents Per Dollar Today. “When I came to the Senate in 1993, our state received only 76 cents in transportation funding for every one dollar we paid in gas taxes. But in the years since, I have worked with my colleagues to increase our average annual funding by almost $800 million — or 92 cents on the dollar — making Texas second only to California in federal transportation support.” (Kay Bailey Hutchison, Op-Ed, “Highway Trust Fund cut threatens Texas highways,” San Antonio Express News, 6/25/08)

· As Of 2007, Texas Received 92 Cents Back For Every Dollar Paid In Federal Gas Tax. (Michelle Mittlestadt, “Democrats rip state agency for hiring D.C. lobbyists,” The Houston Chronicle, 2/2/07)

· As Of 1997, Texas Only Received 76 Cents Back For Every Dollar Paid In Federal Gas Tax. (Catalina Camia, “Lawmakers race to pass highway construction bill,” The Dallas Morning News, 3/10/98)

Hutchison Placed A Moratorium On Tolling Existing Federal Highways:

In 2007, Hutchison Passed A Moratorium On Tolling Federal Roads In Texas. “U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), the senior Senator from Texas, announced that late Tuesday the Senate passed a one year ban on the tolling of federal highways in Texas.” (Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, “Sen. Hutchison Passes One Year Texas Tolling Moratorium Of Federal Highways,” Press Release, 12/19/07)