Saturday, February 13, 2010
I wasn't (and am not) thrilled with either Perry or Hutchison, so I was going to consider Medina. That was, I was going to consider here until I heard what she had to say on Glenn Beck. So, do I vote for Perry, who wants toll roads run by foreign companies, or Hutchison, who voted for the "stimulus" package??
Caveat: As much of a Texas nationalist as I am, I never got much into Texas politics.
Texas has a weak executive, and the best thing I can say for Perry is that he didn't fuck anything up. A nice, easy, caretaker kind of governor. The best kind for a healthy state.
And I think that any foreigners who invest in toll roads on Perry's watch are being clandestinely screwed by him. There is a nice big new toll road on 183 in Northwest Austin that was completed during his first term (I think; I was gone at the time). If what I heard is correct, some company or other got the rights to charge tolls along it for 10 years or so. Then it becomes a normal state highway.
Problem is, almost no one uses it. It's empty almost all the time. Most people (self included, and all friends and family) will go out of their way to avoid it even if they live on the highway. Texans hate toll roads with an unnatural passion, which outsider companies probably wouldn't know. Road-building and maintenance is supposed to be a governmental function, and the idea of paying for the privilege to use something that we already pay taxes for pisses us off.
It's entirely possible that these companies might actually lose money, while Texas gets to keep the roads. If that is so, I wholeheartedly support his efforts.
I live in Austin. I'm familiar with the 183 toll road, but I'm never really out that way to use it. I will use the Mopac extension north of Parmer and also the Highway 45 toll road that runs through Round Rock when I'm headed out to the ballpark. I've also been known to use 130 that loops around to the east of Austin (in fact, used it Thursday afternoon to avoid 71 headed back into town from Del Valle coming up on rush hour...). The problem people have with some of what he proposed was turning existing highways into toll roads...
It's a huge problem in any state with large urban centers. Here in Virginia, the northern part of the state is essetnially a DC suburb and consumes VAST amounts of state treasure maintaining the roads. The rest of the state is agricultural and couldn't give a hoot. A gubenatorial candidate has to do a plate-balancing act to get elected.
It galls me. Rather than paying for the roads as you go, the state relies on tolls for upkeep. We recently had a massive reconstruction of oue of our major parkways in Richmond to allow for the use of EZ-PASS, the high speed toll sensors. Sure doesn't sound like the bill is going to marked "Paid" anytime soon.
I don't know what the hell your talking about. I travel on the 130 very often, its the one piece of road that City of Austin hasn't been able to screw up, frankly, if your not an Austin resident, but commute in and out of the area, you will use it. Its a good road.
Don't know what the issue is about "foreign" companies owning a road. Its a road, its not like they can close it off, or take it with them and go home. If it becomes to big of issue, it can always be nationalized, or just confiscated using existing domain laws.
Kay Bailey just throws that talking point in for the really stupid voters.
I was actually toying with the idea of voting for Medina until this. No way now, of course.
I'll vote for Kay Bailey for a couple of reasons. Rick Perry is an empty suit. That man as every bit as dumb as the left (wrongly, IMO) claimed W to be. Plus, Perry's ads taking KBH to task for voting for TARP -- not the big stimulus bill, but TARP -- remind me of how much I value KBH's good judgment. If I'd been in Congress, I would have held my nose and voted for TARP, too, because it was absolutely necessary to prevent a full-fledged financial panic. It's a vote that looks particularly solid in hindsight, given that the NET cost of TARP to the taxpayers is now estimated at $99 billion (much less than the authorization of $700 billion gross). And $47 billion of that $99 billion in net cost comes from bailing out the auto industry, which was not something that members voting for TARP could reasonably have foreseen as a use of TARP money. (These are recent CBO numbers; hat tip to No Oil for Pacifists.)
-- Scurvy Oaks