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Judy  Beard
Founding Member

Another Bill alert for Texas. I have already called my Representative and emailed both my State Senator and Representative asking them to vote NO. I have the telephone numbers of all Representatives if needed.

PLEASE read and act.

RED ALERT: Ask your State Rep. to Vote 'No' on HB 898 & HB 2795 Move over or jail time; No to extending foreign-owned toll contract.


(Please read carefully and do each step in this email)

Action Item #1 -

We need to STOP these two BAD bills on the House floor this week!

Contact your State Rep. NOW at (512) 463-4630 and Ask your State Rep. to vote 'No' on HB 898 & HB 2795! Then send them an email using this handy tool.Background:

On the General State Calendar Monday, April 24...

HB 898 (Stucky) - This bill increases fines up to $1,250 and creates a STATE JAIL FELONY for passing emergency or other vehicles on shoulders.

Clearly no one wants to put our EMS and other workers in harm’s way. But this bill will have serious unintended consequences. Sometimes drivers cannot safely move over in time. If they can’t, drivers are forced to slam on their brakes in order to reduce their speed by 20 MPH. This is particularly hard on highways with higher posted speeds (70-85 MPH) because by the time you see the vehicles on the shoulder, you have very little time to move over or slow down safely without causing secondary accidents.

This bill allows the fines to more than double. It’s a steep increase up to $1,250 in fines, and this increases the criminal penalty to a state jail felony for the second offense.

We’re making drivers face jail time for something they may well have tried to comply with. This bill is too prescriptive. Where’s the discretion to allow for the fact that drivers may have been avoiding causing further road hazards if they move over or slow down too rapidly, or that failure to move over could still be an accident and unintentional?


On General State Calendar Wednesday, April 26...

HB 2795 (Canales) - The people of Texas (both parties) vehemently oppose CDAs, and extending this foreign-owned toll contract another 20 years. Why should we give this company the exclusive right to gouge Texas drivers for an additional 20 years (to the year 2062) on a road that’s already paid for (its debt was wiped out in bankruptcy court in 2017)?

TxDOT’s goal is to get a free (to them, not taxpayers) direct connector to SH 130 on I-35 built by the private entity. Who benefits the most from a direct connect ramp onto a private toll road? The foreign company making bank on drivers, exploiting the relentless congestion on I-35.


Though taxpayers were promised they'd get SH 130 back free and clear of any debt if the private operator ever went bankrupt, the bankruptcy court wiped out the previous owner's (Cintra-Zachry) debt and brought in Strategic Value Partners (SVP). The court kept the CDA in place and allowed this new company to continue collecting tolls until 2042. SVP quickly secured a former Transportation Commission Chairwoman, Deirdre Delisi, on its board to lobby on their behalf. SVP is yet another global company with offices in Connecticut, England, Germany and Japan, who take all of the money out of Texas.

Despite 160 pavement defects and 120 breaches of contract with the original developer, the legislature is being asked to continue this sort of road malpractice in Texas by awarding the new developer an additional 20 years with the high cost of private tolls (that’s nearly all profit since the debt was largely wiped out by the bankruptcy court). Texans have loudly objected to Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDAs) ever since they came online, and their opposition is only getting louder as private tolls can now cost drivers over $3/mile ($24/trip) in peak hours on the North Tarrant Express in Ft. Worth.


The solution here is to use some of TxDOT’s $15 billion windfall in new funds to pay-off the debt still owed on its portion of SH 130, buy back the private portion from the foreign company, and make it a freeway. That would immediately relieve significant traffic off I-35 through Austin.

Tell them to say 'No' to crony corporate welfare toll contracts. This is definitely considered a vote for toll roads!



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