Sunday, May 20, 2007

ACTION ALERT - Moratorium Bill

SEND A MESSAGE TO THE LEGISLATURE, DAVID DEWHURST AND RICK PERRY THAT ADDING "MARKET VALUATION" Requirements to public toll authorities public transporation projects and elimination of Amendment 13 from SB 792 are DEAL BREAKERS for the voters. We'll remember those who allow this to happen when the PEOPLE VOTE next time.

"Please INSIST that the Trans Texas Corridor unquestionably be INCLUDED in the moratorium by RETAINING Amendment 13 in SB 792! We're counting on you TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!"

The NCTCOG's RTC and many local elected officials serving on the RTC descended on Austin arguing for the DFW region (NCTCOG area)to be exempted from the 2 year moratorium. In order to protect their districts and keep them included in the moratorium, legislators from other districts agreeded to exclude the DFW region from the moratorium. North Texas Senators and State Representatives need to hear from hundreds of voters from this region IMMEDIATELY to help offset the pressure from the NCTCOG, TxDOT and RTC.

They need to know that we are upset! Call and email them and make them understand that allowing MARKET VALUATION to be applied to public toll authorities projects in this region is the LAST STRAW. We've been taking note and taking names of those who sold the public out by not allowing us protection from bad CDA contracts.

The following Senators and State Representatives' districts are within the NCTCOG. Their clout impacts the entire state. Call your rep and your senator. Then call others on this iist. Call them all! Tell them that they are there to represent you, not the RTC or NCTCOG. Make sure that not understanding the implications of applying Market Valuation to public toll authorities bid is not a good enough answer. They have one last chance to UNDO the damage. This bill is in conference committee and must be voted on again. MARKET VALUATION is said to be a deal breaker for Perry. Let these officials know that MARKET VALUATION is a deal breaker for the people and our vote in November trumps Perry's threat of VETO in May!

Point out that members of the RTC and local elected officials only get one vote when it is time to reelect Legislators. The people get thousands of votes.

Also, Lois Kolkhorst got a good amendment (#13) into the House version of the Bill. It includes the TTC in the moratorium. Perry is insisting that it come out. Let these North Texas Legislators know that keeping the TTC in the moratorium is a Deal Breaker for the people.
Dewhurst contact info:
Via a web mail form:
(512) 463-0001 (his voicemail is already full!)

DFW area Senators need to hear from OUTRAGED CITIZENS who object to their allowing MARKET VALUATION BE APPLIED TO DFW Toll Projects by Public Toll Authorities. Our Delegation has rolled over and played lap dog to the NCTCOG RTC, TxDOT and pro Cintra lobby groups headed by Rick Perry. They are elected to represent the Citizens. It is imperative that Citizens make these elected officals understand that they get one more opportunity to serve us. We will remember how they sold us out when we go to the polls to vote when they run for re-election.

To find House Members contact information: HOUSE MEMBERS

To find Texas Senate Members Contact information: Senate Members
DFW area legislators:

Rep. Roberto Alonzo(512) 463-0408 (817) 424-3446
Rep. Rafael Anchía (512) 463-0746 (214) 943-6081
Rep. Dan Branch (512) 463-0367 (214) 745-5888
Rep. Lon Burnham 817 924-1997 Austin 512 463-0740
Rep. Myra Crownover (512) 463-0582 (940) 321-0013
Rep. Yvonne Davis (512) 463-0598 (214) 941-3895
Rep. Joe Driver (512) 463-0574 (972) 276-1556
Rep. Kirk England (512) 463-0694 (972) 264-4231
Rep. Charlie Geren (512) 463-0610 (817) 738-8333
Rep. Helen Giddings (512) 463-0953 (972) 224-6795
Rep. Tony Goolsby (512) 463-0454 (972) 979-8822
Rep. Kelly Hancock (512) 463-0599 (817) 686-8998
Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (512) 463-0641 (972) 401-8825
Rep. Will Hartnett (512) 463-0576 (214) 891-1776
Rep. Fred Hill (512) 463-0486 (972) 234-8980
Rep. Terri Hodge (512) 463-0586 (214) 824-1996
Rep. Jim Jackson (512) 463-0468 (972) 416-7698
Rep. Jim Keffer (512) 478-8805 (800) 586-4515 (800) 586-4515
Rep. Phil King (512) 463-0738 (817) 596-4796
Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (512) 463-0186 (972) 772-8525
Rep. Jerry Madden (512) 463-0544 (972) 424-2235
Rep. Brian McCall (512) 463-0594 (972) 881-0890
Rep. Sid Miller(512) 463-0628 (254) 968-3535
Rep. Anna Mowery (512) 463-0608 (817) 732-1372
Rep. Rob Orr (512) 463-0538 (817) 295-5158
Rep. Diane Patrick (512) 463-0624 817-548-9091
Rep. Ken Paxton (512) 463-0356 (972) 562-4543
Rep. Paula Pierson (512) 463-0562 (817) 385-4786
Rep. Jim Pitts (512) 463-0516 (972) 938-9392
Rep. Todd Smith (512) 463-0522 (817) 283-3131
Rep. Burt Solomons (512) 463-0478 (972) 394-3904
Rep. Allen Vaught (512) 463-0244 (214) 370-8305
Rep. Mark Veasey (512) 463-0716 (817) 339-1430

SENATE NORTH TEXAS DELEGATION (Representing Districts Within NCTCOG Region):
Kim Brimer (512) 463-0110
Sen. John Carona (512) 463-0116 (Steve Pulaski is his transportation staffer)
Sen. Bob Duell (512) 463-0102 (972) 279-1800
Sen. Craig Estes (512) 463-0130 (940) 689-0191
Sen. Chris Harris (512) 463-0109 (817) 461-9109
Sen. Jane Nelson (512) 463-0112 (817) 424-3446 (Zack Adams is her transportation staffer)
Robert Nichols (512) 463-0103
Sen. Steve Odgen (512) 463-0105
Sen. Florence Shapiro (512) 463-0108 (972) 403-3404 (Sarah Bagdwell is her transportation staffer)
Sen. Royce West (512) 463-0123 (214) 467-0123
Other key Senators to call are:
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (512) 463-0126

Other key Representatives to call are:
Rep. Debbie Riddle (512) 463-0572 (281) 537-5252Thank her. She fought hardest for her district. Wish my rep fought half as hard for us! She was one of two who voted against SB 792.
Rep. Senfronia Thompson (512) 463-0720 (Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus)
Rep. Harvey Hilderbrand (512) 463-0536 (830) 257-2333 Thank him.
Rep. Dwayne Bohac (512) 463-0727 Thank him.
Lois Kolkhorst (512) 463-0600 (979) 251-7888 Thank her for authoring the moratorium and leading the debate. Express disappointment that she urged members to vote for SB 762 with market valuation inserted and additional toll projects carved out of the moratorium!

Governor Perry, as promised, vetoed HB 1892. (HB 1892 began as the moratorium bill and was stalled in the House by Mike Kusee's Transportation Committee. In the Senate, John Carona turned it into an monstrous transportation bill, keeping the moratorium but carving out (exempting many urban projects, and all private toll projects in the DFW region). Rick Perry objected to the bill and promised to veto it (and all bills on all topics sponsored by Senators who voted for it). Carona's committee and the Perry's staff collaborated and turned SB 792 (which started as a companion to SB 1892) into a "Compromise Bill". Without debate or public testimony, this monster transportation bill was passed unamiously by the Senate last week. On the House floor it underwent rigorous debate and had over 30 amendments (most tabled or voted down) which attempted to migite some of its impact. A number (which passed) carved out even more projects to exclude from the 2 year toll moratorium.

Perry's office insisted on "Market Valuation" being applied to public toll projects. This negates much of the benefit of using a public toll authority on a project over a private company such as Cintra. Market Evaluation and additional exemptions from the moratorium are the major differences between SB 1892 (now vetod by Perry) and SB 792. On the floor of the House an amendment was added to SB 792 which clarifies that the TTC is included in the 2 year moratorium. Rick Perry objects to this amendment and his office is reported to be saying that inclusion of that amendment in the House Senate Conference Committee version of SB 792 will be a "deal breaker."

Anti-toll/TTC groups consider their options. David Stall of Corridor Watch found a "legal loophole in HB 1892 which would prevent the TTC from coming under the 2 year toll moratorium if the House and Senate were to override the Governor's veto on SB 1892.

The only other option on the table to get a 2 year moratorium on the TTC appears to be passage into law of SB 792 (despite much of the bill is detested by many grassroots activists and citizens).

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst added Amendment 13 to SB 792 to INCLUDE the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) in the moratorium. Perry says he won't sign SB 792 unless Amendment 13 comes out of SB 792.

In the North Texas area, there is mixed opinions on applying Market Valuation to toll projects in this region. Yvonne Davis and Paula Pierson both argued against applying Market Valuation to SH 161.
Terri Hall of the San Antonio Toll Party wrote that the North Texas folks want it so their tolling authority can use it to prevent a CDA on Hwy 121 in the Dallas area." San Antonio Toll Party is insisting that activists call the Capitol Switchboard (512) 463-4630 and insist that San Antonio area project be exempted from application of Market Valuation.

I don't think that most members of the North Texas Delegation really want Market Valuation applied to NTTA bids. I suspect some are intimidated by the Governor. When the Governor and NCTCOG pushes to the detriment of the people's interest, it is imperative that THE PEOPLE PUSH BACK!I am urging activist to call and insist that DFW project be exempted from MARKET VALUATION. Applying Market Valuation removed the advantage of using a public toll authority.

T.U.R.F. and San Antonio Toll Party also advise activists to:
CONTACT Lt. Governor David Dewhurst
He wants to be Governor and he alone has the power to pressure these senators to keep Amendment 13 in the bill and get San Antonio carved out from "market valuation" projects. He thought, as we all did, that HB 1892 included the Trans Texas Corridor in the moratorium. So please ask him to ensure the TTC IS in the moratorium as our legislators, including Dewhurst, intended!

Applying Market Valuation to a public toll authority's bid/project removes the benefit to the people of using a public toll authority. It makes the public toll authority act like a private entity such as Cintra. Applying Market Valuation to the projects in the DFW Region which NTTA is bidding on in competition with Cintra, levels the playing field and makes Cintra more competitive!

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