Williamson unplugged at Commission hearings that report to Congress

Link to article here.

Williamson is in rare form as usual…confusing the constant steady fury of taxpayers that’s been bubbling for more than two years with “love.” And the guy speaking for TTI called the “nation’s premier annual congestion study” is a farce since TTI pulled its own index this year to rework its flawed methodology since other states are no longer using it. Its reputation and its congestion index’s relevance are in question, yet they refer to TTI’s index as the “nation’s premier annual congestion study.” Clearly there’s been a total break with reality as these guys partake in a lovefest designed to figure out ways to fleece the taxpayers and feed their egos all at the same time.

Read this for more outrageous quotes from the “hearing” (the public not invited).

Also, consider that these policy wonks want to toll everything in sight AND raise your gas taxes AND indebt the public to foreign companies. Had enough? Vote out their bosses in Congress and here in Texas, starting with Rick Perry on November 7!

National panel on transportation hears Texas ideas
Patrick Driscoll
Express-News
09/21/2006

DALLAS — There’s a good reason why a national commission studying future transportation funding is holding its first hearing in Texas.

After all, Texas officials already have started writing the playbook by trying to toll every new highway lane possible and by inviting private companies to join in.

And the state’s No. 1 toll salesman, Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson, made a strong impression on commission members when he spoke Wednesday to kick off a two-day hearing at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.

“Close your eyes and imagine what you can to see,” Williamson told the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. “And that’s your vision.”

Texas set a goal of eliminating most congestion and uses a market approach to squeeze the most out of available money, he said. Officials are looking at proposals such as the Trans Texas Corridor, a 4,000-mile network crisscrossing the state with toll lanes, railways and utility lines.

“The public will love you if you just reduce congestion,” Williamson assured.

The 12-member commission, created by last year’s federal transportation law, is tasked with figuring out what the nation should do about transportation funding through 2050.

This week’s hearing, the first of four scheduled, is being held in Texas because transportation officials here have unplugged from national efforts and come up with their own innovations, commission members said.

“I’m going to get your card, you’re going to hate me before this commission is over, because you’ve got some good ideas,” Tom Skancke of the Skancke Co. told Williamson.

Other ideas the commission has heard go beyond just tolling.

Cambridge Systematics officials who spoke at Wednesday’s hearing said federal, state and local governments will need to come up with at least $157 billion more a year to maintain and improve roads and transit, nearly double what they spend now.

They recommended indexing the gas tax to inflation, tolling more highways and involving the private sector more. Long-term solutions could include charging drivers for each mile driven and, to reduce traffic, charging higher fees on congested roads.

But no decisions have been made yet, panel members said.

“We need to know a lot more,” said Frank McArdle of the General Contractors Association of New York. “Somebody has to pay that revenue. We have to understand the impacts.

“At the end of the day, we have to hear from the people who use the system.”

Other speakers Wednesday included Patrick Jones of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association and William Millar of the American Public Transportation Association.

“The inability of our traditional policymaking bodies to deal with this deepening crisis has been wearing down public confidence in our government,” Jones said. “We must invest today to avoid paralysis tomorrow.”

Speaking today will be Tim Lomax of the Texas Transportation Institute, co-author of the nation’s premier annual congestion study, and toll and transit officials in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin.

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