Friday, August 24, 2007

T.U.R.F. asks Ronnie Earl to block TxDOT's multi million dollar pro Trans Texas Corridor Ad campaign

Mr. Ronnie Earle
District Attorney
Travis County
509 W.11th St
Austin, TX 78701
August 22, 2007

Dear Mr. Earle:
The citizens of Texas believe the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is illegally using taxpayer money to wage a cleverly cloaked public relations campaign to push the wildly controversial Trans Texas Corridor and toll road proliferation.

According to a memorandum obtained by the Express-News entitled "Keep Texas Moving: Tolling and Trans-Texas Corridor Outreach" sent to transportation officials by Coby Chase, director of the agency's government and public affairs division, TxDOT has undertaken a multi-million dollar campaign including direct mail, billboards, and training of employees to sell the public their proposals over talk radio.

It's not only an inappropriate and wasteful use of our gas tax dollars by an agency perpetually claiming it’s out of money for roads, but it's ILLEGAL for a PUBLIC agency to take a policy position and use the public's tax money to sell them something using an under-handed PR campaign.

The State Auditor already found TxDOT "cooked the books" Enron-style on the Trans Texas Corridor mismarking funds as "engineering" when in fact, they spent it on PR. The Auditor’s office testified to this before the Senate Transportation Committee on March 1, 2007. See the report entitled “An Audit Report on the Department of Transportation and the Trans-Texas Corridor” released in February 2007.

Please open an investigation and prosecute this agency for its repeated illegal activities. The people of Texas want justice. When Ken Lay cooked the books at Enron, he was sent to jail. The same needs to happen with those guilty of breaking the law at the highway department.


Terri Hall
Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF)
San Antonio, Texas 78232
(210) 275-0640 •

“If a corporate CEO had done this to their shareholders, they’d be in JAIL!” notes Hall.

Citizens gasped when the Texas State Auditor’s office revealed that TxDOT cooked the books at the Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee hearing March 1. A record 800 witnesses heard this testimony at the hearing.

Source: E-mail from T.U.R.F. written by Terri Hall.

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