Perry slams toll opponents while in New Braunfels

Link to WOAI report here.

Governor Rick Perry and Transportation Commission Chair Ric Williamson are up to their usual spin…the Governor’s own Business Council report done by the Texas Transportation Institute clearly states that indexing the gas tax to inflation or a modest gas tax increase of 8 cents and indexed thereafter are all that’s needed to meet future transportation needs, yet he still continues to spread misinformation and use scare tactics saying it would take 75 cents to a dollar gas tax hike. Don’t fall for it. This Governor couldn’t be more out of touch.

Perry Blasts Toll Road Opponents

Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson says only tolls can solve the state’s transportation problems.

Friday, March 23, 2007
Governor Rick Perry lit into toll road opponents today during a speech accepting the Texan of the Year award from the annual Legislative Conference in New Braunfels, 1200 WOAI’s Michael Board reports.

Perry says the state has a bright future, unless what he called a ‘small group of toll road opponents’ succeed in scuttling his plans for the $185 billion Trans Texas Corridor, as well as a series of toll roads around the state.

“The only way we could access as much money and build roads nearly as quickly is if we raise the gasoline tax at a staggering amount of between 75 cents and a dollar a gallon,” Perry said.

Perry particularly blasted the Texas Toll Party and other groups which criticize deals with Madrid based Cintra, which along with Zachry Construction Company has won the bidding to build much of the first leg of the Trans Texas Corridor, east of Interstate 35.

“They say they’re afraid of foreigners building our roads,” Perry said. “I guess I missed the letters of protest over Toyota and Nokia, and Ericsson and other foreign companies that do business in this state.”

Several measures are being debated in the current session of the Legislature that would slow down or stop the Trans Texas Corridor and other toll projects.

Several specifically bar the state from entering into deals with foreign companies to build highways.

Also at the conference, Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson delivered a full-throated defense of toll roads.

“By 2012 every penny of cash flow will be dedicated to maintenance and rehabilitation of existing footprint,” Williamson said. “That means no money for hard shoulders, left turn lanes, two lanes turned into four, none.”

State Senator Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio, who was on the Trans Texas Corridor panel, was asked whether tolls amount to ‘double taxation.’

Wentworth said a toll is not a double tax, and furthermore,”its actually more open a form of taxation than the sales tax. With the sales tax, people buy something at the store, they don’t know what part of that sales price is the tax. On tolls, you know exactly how much is the toll each time you pay the toll.”