Statesman blogger: Wentworth has sold out Texans

Link to blog here.

In response to Sen. Jeff Wentworth’s commentary printed in various publications
Wentworth sold-out Texans
Austin American Statesman blog
April 20, 2007

There’s no nice way to put it. Senator Jeff Wentworth just sold-out Texans with the latest in toll conspiracy legislation HB 1892.

During the past decade, the Texas legislature has become adept at “end around” power-plays for their special interests. One such maneuver has been the recent legislation presented and approved for a 2-year “moratorium” on toll roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC). It is a placebo law that attempts to appease and quell the public’s anti-toll sentiment.

In Senator Wentworth’s article printed in several local newspapers, including the Waxahachie Daily Light, he presents his opinion that “democracy is alive and well in Texas and is healthy as a horse”. Is that one of hundreds of healthy horses that still are being sent to two of the horse slaughterhouses in northern Texas?

Confucius many years ago told us to “Beware of the man who blows hot and cold with one breath.” Apparently one such man is Senator Jeff Wentworth.

With one breath he praises the people of Texas for speaking out against toll roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor and yet then he supports a bill that provides the same power to local governments afforded CAMPO and Regional Mobility Authorities (RMA’s) that determines road policy and development, which then will ensure the creation of approximately 24 little RMA’s. Voters should ask why the legislature shifted that power to local government. The response by many legislators would be similar to what Wentworth tells the people, that it is the democratic way to delegate power to the people, while in reality, it permits an “end around” power-play for TxDOT and toll proponents to work their crusade on smaller populations so that the anti-toll groups won’t be as powerful.

In addition, HB 1892 includes a passage, Section 1 (c-3), that highlights the term “managed lanes”, which is a different terminology for “toll roads”. In this section the legislature excuses “managed lanes” from the legislation, which enables TxDOT or the new local entity to develop contracts for “managed lanes. “A rose is a rose is a rose…” and toll roads are toll roads!

Furthermore, even though the bill acknowledges the new powers of county commissions a “legislative study committee” must be formed to review the proposed plan. The 9 members will be selected as follows: 3 by the Governor, 3 by the Lt. Governor and 3 by the House Speaker. Obviously, much of the control remains with the state and NOT with the local government —- Section 1 d) 1,2,3, .

It is a shameful way to do legislative business, but unfortunately for hardworking Texans such maneuvering and diversion tactics have become the way here in Texas.

People need to wake-up and see clearly the strategy being used against their wishes. Yes, the 2-year toll road / TTC moratorium is a good thing, but not at the cost of the “end around” distribution of RMA power to local county commissioners, because it is just another way for toll proponents to get the job done even during the “moratorium”.

During the past several years Wentworth has become a huge disappointment to his constituency and he does NOT deserve to be reelected in 2 years — but that doesn’t help us now.

Voters need to contact Wentworth and Senator John Carona, Chair of the Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security to tell them that their “sleight of hand” on the toll road issue is NOT appreciated and that they need to vote against any bill that helps toll road special interests, such as this one.

Bottom-line is that the majority of Texans don’t want the Trans-Texas Corridor or other toll roads and the legislature should heed the will of the people.

To read HB 1892 go to:

Senator Jeff Wentworth
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0125
(512) 463-7794 FAX
Senator John Carona, Chair
Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711
(512) 463-0116
Fax: (512) 463-3135