TxDOT spends $20 million in gas taxes to build PARK, not roads!

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Texas: Gas Tax Dollars Spent to Build Park
Texas Department of Transportation that claims it has no money for roads uses $20 million in gas tax funds to build a park.
April 15, 2008
The Newspaper.com

Woodall Rodgers ParkThe Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation announced yesterday that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) would hand over $20 million in gas tax funds to help build a 5.2 acre park near downtown Dallas. The $67 million park is intended to serve as a model public-private partnership with a restaurant, a children’s playground and a dog park. It will have no roads.

“The park… will connect Uptown, Downtown and the Arts District, and is expected to become a regional attraction,” the foundation explained in a statement.

TxDOT on several occasions has made the claim that the agency is “out of money” and therefore has no choice but to convert existing freeways into toll roads (view TxDOT plan). In February, the state’s top two legislative leaders called for an audit of TxDOT’s finances after the agency admitted that it had misstated its finances by more than $1 billion, helping to create the impression that it was out of money.

People for Efficient Transportation founder Sal Costello questioned TxDOT’s motives in spending gas tax funds on the project.

“I’m all for parks, but why is money from our transportation budget paying for a park?” Costello asked. “And why would TxDOT give $20 million to a foundation full of special interests instead of the city to do the job?”

Costello pointed out that the foundation’s board and steering committee include key employees of companies that stand to profit from the agency’s toll road plans that are in need of public relations support. JP Morgan is part of the team that intends to build the Trans Texas Corridor toll road. Carter and Burgess, a Fort Worth-based engineering consultant is heavily involved in tolling projects in the state. Both companies have seats on the foundation steering committee.

The park is scheduled to open in late 2011.

14 Replies to “TxDOT spends $20 million in gas taxes to build PARK, not roads!”

  1. Phillip Taman

    This is a misuse of funds and those involved should be served a Court Order to stop them from further earmarking money that’s allocated for Highway Use. Furthermore, those involved should be fully exposed, and held accountable, and even arrested if necessary, and to rescind any money giveaways.
    These people need to be fully exposed by the SA Express News, and therefore the public. Bring this news to KTSA RADIO and spread the word.
    Thank you for all the hard work…………….Phillip Taman

  2. Dave Ramos

    This $20million dollar giveway for a project that has NO relation to road infrastructure is just a symptom of the blatant mismanagement TXDOT (and our state legislature) for our taxpayer dollars. When one truly analyzes the percentage of gas-tax dollars that are squandered on non-road projects, it comes as no surprise that taxpayers are skeptical of TXDOT claims that their revenue source is insufficient to build roads.

    This type of giveaway should serve as a wake-up call to all Texans that this out-of-control agency needs to be reined in. I urge everyone to call their state representative and illustrate this type of non-road spending as wasteful.

    Dave Ramos

  3. Edward A Hauschild

    This is just another example of the conduct of todays citizenry. Our local, state and fed employees are running amok spending money with practically no regard for where it comes from.
    There appears that there’s no defined way to stop this lunacy.

    The general public doesn’t seem to care enough about these issues to take any action(s) against the responsible parties.

    Are there resources to fight these things. How about an injunction to halt the park progress until the 20 mil is restored in TxDot?
    E. Hauschild

  4. Frank

    Make sure the discussion stays on point…why is TDOT spending money on this type item? Focus on that and make them answer that. Often I see other issues being brought in and it gives too much wiggle room for them to not stay on point.

    Thank you.

  5. Kerry Kinchen

    If TxDOT was consistent with their rhetoric, then we would expect a need to put toll gates at the entrance of this park. Let me guess. The park will be open to all who want to use it. There is no easier way to spot a sham that to look for consistency or lack thereof. What is consistent is relentless bleeding the public of money to feed the special interests that are not really interested in the public’s interest. Always remember this quote, “out of money”–TxDOT

  6. W.G.WILSON

    WHEN WILL TXDOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE FRAUD THEY HAVE DONE?
    WHEN WILL OUR GOVENOR BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR USING THE GAS MONEY FOR OTHER THINGS?
    WHEN WIL THE TEXAS RANGERS GO AFTER ALL OF THESE THINGS AS A FRAUD TO THE TEXAS PEOPLE???

    WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US THE PEOPLE WITH NO WHERE TO SPEAK THAT THE PRESS WILL PICKUP OUR MESSAGES AND HELP US?
    IN SA ALL IS THE SAME , THE MAYOR WANTS THIS AND THAT. THE PEOPLE WANT THE STREETS PATCHED AND LANES PAINTED BUT THE MAYOR WANTS A DONWTOWN PARK FOR THE BUMS>

    WHAT HAS HAPPENED???????????????????///
    W.G.

  7. Rhonda Reichel

    TxDot needs to be cleaned out starting at the top. It is criminal the ways they are using our tax dollars to fund a park in Dallas. I am writing the attorney generals office today about this clear abuse of authority in misappropriating funds meant for roads to pet projects.

  8. Daryl Short

    Who can hold TxDot accountable for their actions? Is everyone just a spectator on the sidelines watching? I mean what if they decide to blow every gas tax dollar on something other than transportation related? You know, like they have. Who’s going to stop them?

    I continue to read story after story regarding TxDot and how they are mis-using our funds, but, I’m not seeing them suffer any consequences. A while back, I read where the department may be shut down, but, clearly they continue to direct our tax dollars to fund whatever is desired by special interests. It’s just appalling!!!!

    But, if they are not ultimately held accountable, what can be done???

  9. David Galvan

    This is nothing but sheer corporate socialism, socialism not to benefit the people, but the corporations at the expense of the people. We are not here to fund the businesses and fly-by-night schemes of Governor Perry and his already rich friends, who want us, the taxpayers, to take the risk for their self-serving ventures. This is nothing but naked fraud, and TxDot thinks we are too stupid to stop it, that we will just go along. Governor Perry is a thief, putting his buddies on the public tit, like just so many piggy babies fighting for a chance to use your taxes so that they can sit back and make you work so they won’t have to. We need to demand a statewide vote on the Toll Road issue, the fact that the government won’t allow a vote on this issue flies in the face of all that America stands for. We need to challenge them, we,and they, know the people clearly and overwhelmingly DO NOT want toll roads, and isn’t this America, where we have choices, where we have a right to petition our government?Think of this, if every Texan expressed their demand for a vote on the toll road issue, why is it in our democracy, we can’t have a simple vote? We can make this demand, we can use civil disobedience to shut down highways and tie up the legislative phone lines, we CAN force the issue, and we can demand investigations and prosecutions of TxDot officials.If everybody demanded a vote, I mean EVERYBODY!, we could change history from a future of corporate pigs feeding from the public trough, to a better Texas that is governed by, and for, the People! Rick Perry, you are nothing but a cheap thief with an expensive haircut.David Galvan, Helotes

  10. Doug Spears

    This kind of government spending has got to stop. Some time, in the very near future WE have got to verify the spending on all levels of Government. THERE SHOULD NEVER BE A TOLL ROAD, WE ARE ALREADY PAYING TOO MUCH IN TAXES THAT IS GOING UNCHECKED.

  11. Dick Clendennon

    See? Ya’ll should have elected Kinky. I reckon he’s nix this and other crapola, just to be ornery.

  12. Ray Ware

    re Dick Clendennon Says
    If EITHER Kinky or Grandma had refrained from running in the last gubernatorial race, Perry would have lost. It took only one shill to enable Bill Clinton to win his first term; Perry needed two to sneak in. Watch out for similar “independent” candidates if Perry runs again.

  13. Dave Lee

    Folks, look on the bright side-if government officials were recognized as criminals by the general public, think of all the new prisons that would have to be built. Now that could run into some huge tax dollars!!!

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