Saturday, May 19, 2007

RE: I knew it was too good to be true

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The Last Boy Scout
Date: May 18, 2007 7:14 PM

I just knew it was too good to be true that we could put a halt to the Trans-Texas Corridor, and it appears my fears have come true. First it was this bill, then that bill, then I was confused which bill to support, I'm e-mailing my rep to vote for this bill, kill that bill, etc. etc. and it ends up it didn't make a shit anyhow cause the powers that be were never going to allow the TTC to be stopped.

It feels like we have lost all ability to fight the TTC and the NAU, the people running the show are going to do whatever the fuck they want, no matter what the citizens say. It's a fucking sham to the tenth degree

Have We Been Sold Out?
Afraid So!

By the time you read this the Governor's office may have already out maneuvered us all by effectively removing the Trans Texas Corridor TTC-35 from any moratorium limitations in SB792.

The Governor's office has targeted seven House amendments for removal.

Things are moving so fast there may be no time for anyone outside a small circle of key legislators to impact the outcome. By the end of today it is likely that Governor Perry will have his way and the citizens of Texas will have been sold out at the highest levels of Government.

The Governor's representatives Kris Heckmann and Ken Armbrister arrived to visit senators shortly after 11:00am this morning. About that same time a three page analysis/summary of SB792 amendments reportedly prepared by TxDOT was circulating.

CorridorWatch has been told that seven amendments has been targeted for removal. Among those are one by Pickett (6) effecting the El Paso RMA; one by Callegari (12) they believe was misdrafted; three by Kolkhorst (13, 15, & 16) effecting TTC35, CDA penalty payment funds, and a prohibition of investment firms being on both sides of a CDA; one by Quintanilla (22) a county contract provision; and, one by Y. Davis (27) requiring land taken by condemnation be offered back to the owner is unused.

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst met on the floor of the Senate this morning with Senators Williams, Carona, and Nichols in an apparent attempt to convince Nichols to sign off on the prearranged deal.

It was Dewhurst that forced SB792 in to play in the first place making his intent very clear. As expected the Senate members of the conference committee are stacked in favor of producing the Governor's outcome. With only three votes out of five required it is unlikely that Nichols will find enough support to preserve the moratorium.

You may recall Austin political insiders predicted that the legislature would fold under the Governors' pressure. We had given them more credit, but that may prove to be sorely undeserved.

Conference Committee Members.

* Senator Tommy Williams, Chair 512.463.
* Senator John Carona 512.463.0116
* Senator Eliot Shapleigh 512.463.0129
* Senator Kim Brimer 512.463.0110
* Senator Robert Nichols 512.463.0103
* Representative Wayne Smith 512.463.0733
* Representative (to be announced)
* Representative (to be announced)
* Representative (to be announced)
* Representative (to be announced)

House Conference Committee members will not be formally named until Monday. But that doesn't mean that Rep. Smith has got them picked and begun the process of looking at the bill language the Governor expects them to agree on.

Word has it that Senator Carona will start 'visiting with likely House conferees' this weekend.

Anything can happen in conference, but this time the sheet music has been supplied by the Lt. Governor and the Governor is calling the tune.

CorridorWatch was wrong!

Have you heard that HB1892 won't effect TTC-35? We had, and we thought that it was a load of baloney. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Now we know it and they know we know it.

There is no question that it was the clear legislative intent of HB1892 and SB792 to stop TxDOT from proceeding with any TTC facility construction during the two-year moratorium. Everyone knew that including the Governor and TxDOT and yet they let the legislature believe that these bills would do that. In fact the Governor went on record saying that he would sign the moratorium.

Amendment 13 to SB792 by Kolkhorst closes a moratorium loophole in HB1892 by including TTC-35 CDA facility agreements. The only exception would be Loop 9.

If only one amendment survives the Conference Committee it needs to be Amendment 13.

Amendment 13 is "Do or Die" for TTC-35.

It is no surprise that Kolkhorst amendment 13 is on the Governor's hit list. If we are to have an enforceable moratorium on the TTC, we must have amendment 13 remain on SB792.

Amendment 16 is just good business practice.

Rep. Kolkhorst doesn't think that the financial advisor who develops the market valuation for a project (for the toll authority or TxDOT) should also advise the company that will finance, build, develop or operated a TxDOT toll project. This is another amendment that is targeted for removal.

Other amendments also have merit, but we can't save the world, and were not too sure we can save ourselves from the Trans Texas Corridor.

Once again we ask, Will Our Senators and Representatives Continue Standing-Up For the People of Texas?

With your help we believe they can.

CorridorWatch will be watching and reporting.

David & Linda Stall, Co-founders

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