Wilson County News on the passage of moratorium

Citizens get two-year moratorium on TTC
By Elaine Kolodziej
Wilson County News
May 4, 2007

Last week’s vote on HB 1892 was widely hailed by rural Texans opposed to toll roads as yet another victory in their ongoing effort to stop the Trans-Texas Corridor, at least in its present form.

“This goes to show ‘we, the people’ can do it. This is a stunning, stunning victory for the citizens of Texas,” said Kathy Palmer, vice chair on the Planning and Zoning Committee for St. Hedwig.

HB 1892 passed the Senate easily, and the House by an amazing 139-1. It places a two-year ban on the CDAs, including the TTC, through Sept. 1, 2009. CDAs are comprehensive development agreements or public-private partnerships such as the Cintra/Zachary consortium that was to planning to fund the TTC.

“The people of Texas have spoken,” said Terri Hall, regional director of San Antonio Toll Party, a non-partisan group organized to stop the “double tax tolling” of existing freeways and rights of way.

“They’ve stormed the Capitol and the Legislature listened,” she said.

With the bill headed to the governor’s desk, one of three things can happen. He can sign it, veto it, or take no action, which means it automatically becomes law.

The governor, a staunch supporter of the Trans-Texas Corridor and CDAs, has until May 14 to veto the bill.

“It’s clear we have the support to override any veto,” said Hall. “If this governor is interested in reflecting the will of the people, he would be wise not to veto this bill. Our victory is no nail-biter; it’s about as convincing as you can get.”

If the governor does follow through with a veto, backers of the moratorium are prepared to continue their efforts to ensure that the veto is overridden. A two-thirds vote by the House and the Senate is required to overrule the governor’s veto.

“We don’t need to sell off our public highways to the highest bidder like Third World countries. We’re Texans and we’ve built our own highways for the last 50 years, and we’ll continue to build our own highways for the next 50,” said Hall.

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