Friday, February 1, 2013

Troubling Transportation Proposals in Texas

Yesterday, Texas Senate Finance Committee chairman Tommy Williams and Texas House Appropriations committee chairman Jim Pitts spoke to the Texas Tribune about the budget.  First things first, Cahnman's Musings can live with what the legislators said about Medicaid and School Finance if we pass the Texas Budget Compact to handcuff future spending.  What the legislators said about transportation and water, however, raises more question than it answers:

Cahnman's Musings Concerns:
  • Revolving Fund to Finance Water 
    • Controlled by who?!?  Define 'revolving.'
    • Obvious Transparency concerns
    • Potential for cronyism
  • Leveraged Debt to Build Roads
    • What form, exactly, will 'leverage' take?!?
    • Who will be doing the 'leveraging'?!?
  • Road Infrastructure fund
    • Same concerns as Water fund
    • Fast Eddie Rendell has proposed the same idea nationally; obviously, anything Fast Eddie Rendell proposes leaves Cahnman's Musings nervous.
    • Sounds like a boondoggle for unions.
  • Raising Car Registration Fees
    • Non-starter.
  • "Combination of Public and Private."
    • Boondoggle, boondoggle, boondoggle.
Bottom Line: This sounds like an attempt to set up several new off-budget quasi-governmental entities.  These ideas have boondoggle and crony capitalism written all over them.  While it's too early to render judgement, early signs make us very nervous.

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