Are you getting the feeling our politicians simply refuse to get the message the grassroots is sending? After hundreds of precincts and dozens of senate conventions passed anti-toll, anti-privatization, anti-market-based tolls, and anti-Trans Texas Corridor resolutions, thirty three members of the Republican state platform committee erased all their work in about 10 minutes.
The Trans Texas Corridor plank has strong wording in this year’s Republican platform, but the call to repeal the TTC legislation was removed from this year’s version. The 2006 version was: “Because there are issues of confiscation of private land, State and National sovereignty and other similar concerns, we urge the repeal of the Trans Texas Corridor legislation.”
The 2008 plank says:
“We emphatically oppose the Trans Texas Corridor in any form or manner. We call for a full investigation of any public official authorizing any form of eminent domain for the Trans Texas Corridor and foreign funding.”
There is also a call asking Congress to withdraw from the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the formation of the North American Union.
Republicans officially pro-toll tax
Then, the strong 2006 anti-toll plank (“We oppose tolls charged for traversing previously toll free roadways and disallow continued tolls except for maintenance on existing toll roads already paid for”) was replaced with this nebulous, awkwardly worded statement:
“We support the legitimate construction of toll roads in Texas, but we oppose converting existing state and federal roads to American-owned toll roads without voter approval.”
OKAY to build foreign-controlled toll roads?
This plank is strangely silent on foreign-controlled toll roads and seems to contradict the Trans Texas Corridor plank. By its silence on foreign-controlled toll roads, it allows such without voter approval. Also, no freeway should be converted to a toll road, period! It’s not something the public needs to vote on, it’s DOUBLE TAXATION and a money grab. It shouldn’t be done, EVER! Then note the pro-toll statement at the outset, “we support…toll roads in Texas.” Oh really? The grassroots sure don’t, especially when they’re paying $4 a gallon at the pump and spending nearly $100 to fill their gas tanks just to get to work!
Waste, fraud, abuse leave taxpayers in no mood for higher transportation taxes
They also don’t support them when TxDOT is wasting the taxpayers’ money on $20 million dollar earmarks to build a park in downtown Dallas and $18 million dollar rest stops equipped with free wi-fi, not to mention $9 million dollar propaganda campaigns pushing the TTC and toll roads down our throats. The taxpayers don’t support new toll taxes when the Legislature sees fit to siphon off nearly 50% of our gas taxes to non-transportation uses like tourism promotion and enhancing employee benefits in the Attorney General’s office.
The pro-toll special interest machine won out over the grassroots
So, when yours truly, among others, attempted to amend the platform to revert back to the previous planks. Here’s what happened. The Party had scarcely provided a copy of the new revised platform only an hour or so before bringing the platform to a vote. So few if any delegates had the chance to review the changes. None of the changes were notated, making deciphering any differences between this year’s and the 2006 platform near impossible. All the while, the delegates were voting on Party leadership with no time to review the platform thoroughly or even in a cursory manner.
Delegates wishing to amend the platform had to write out two copies of the proposed changes and bring them to the mic. By the time I had even one written, a call for a vote came from the floor ending all debate and the platform passed in less than 10 minutes. I wasn’t the only one chapped at this railroading. Another said from the mic, “if you were just going to rubber stamp the platform, why should we bother to travel from all over the state at our expense to come here in the first place?” The whole thing was a done deal before the grassroots knew what hit ’em.
The elitist, we-know-best leadership of the Republican Party has not only lost its way, its strong-arm railroading tactics have caused them to completely trample on the grassroots responsible for getting them elected in the first place. Thousands of Texans passed the anti-toll resolutions with unanimous support at their precincts and senate conventions. They sent a clear, unequivocal NO TOLL TAX message to the Party leadership only to be railroaded by 33 members of the platform committee doing the bidding of the Party elites under the spell of the road lobby, ala toller-in-chief Rick Perry. Not only does this not bode well for the November General Election, it gives any smart Democrat an open door to eviscerating Republicans as the pro-toll party wanting to levy the MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSPORTATION TAX upon Texans at a time of record high gas prices.