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AUSTIN--In what should be touted as a major grassroots victory for taxpayers in Texas, the authority to enter into contracts that sell-off Texas freeways to private investment entities expired August 31, 2009. A moratorium on private road deals or Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDAs) was set to expire this year giving the state the authority to enter into new private road contracts again.
CDAs and private investment in toll road projects has been the subject of much controversy ever since Governor Perry announced his plans to build the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC), a 4,000 mile wide swath of private road ways. The TTC was wildly unpopular and caused widespread public outrage. As a result, a moratorium was placed on private road deals in 2007 though certain high priority corridors were exempt.
“While the death of CDAs should be celebrated as a major victory for taxpayers in Texas and for the grassroots organizations that worked tirelessly to kill them, a number of private road deals were removed from the moratorium placed on CDAs in 2007. Many of these exempt contracts are still in danger of being signed and continue to advance across the state.”
It is unclear just how many toll road projects exist and which will use private investment. Some sources say hundreds of road segments will be tolled and that many roads will use a mix of public and private financing. At least two contracts from Governor Perry’s original TTC proposal have been signed, and a third has been awarded but not yet signed.
Cubria continued, “The Trans Texas Corridor is alive and as long as this is the case, it is up to state officials and lawmakers to make sure that Texans and their roadways will be operated for the long-term public interest, rather than guarantee rising tolls to private investors over coming generations. State officials and lawmakers must do more than declare these toxic contracts dead. They must give Texans the real transportation solutions and assurances they deserve and they must put an end to TxDOT’s stronghold on Texas roadways.”
“More than just kill these deals we need to bury everything that is wrong with them—for good,” concluded Cubria.
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