Arguing that the Metroplex and other high volume traffic areas do not need answers, and quickly, to major transportation quandaries is an untenable position. Equally untenable is simply hiking taxes and fees on families to fund the same bureaucracies already wasting much of every dollar they are given.
In an editorial published by the Fort Worth Star Telegram on Saturday state Representative Vicki Truitt blamed Democrat antics during the session for killing her “local option” taxing legislation.
Although chubbing in the House did slow the progress of her legislation this tax was still on the table at the 11th hour and she was still fighting hard for it.
What Truitt fails to point out is that her own constituents and thousands of Texans also worked to kill this legislation by calling their representatives, signing petitions and writing letters. These Texans agree that there are transportation problems but are not on board with simply conducting business as usual by raising taxes, continuing diversions and funding failed mass transportation boondoggles.
Sunday the FWST ran a response to Truitt’s article by one of the true fiscal conservatives in the Texas Legislature Representative Phil King.
King has a three part response to Truitt that has solutions for funding that do not require an increase in current taxation.
The first and most logical step to addressing perceived funding woes is to stop diversions. In 2008 and 2009 $1.6 billion were redirected to from the transportation fund to non transportation spending. These are funds that should be dedicated to infrastructure not fine arts and sidewalks.
In 2007 voters bonded $5 billion for transportation; all of this money is still available to the Legislature for funding projects and is the second part of Rep. King’s argument against raising unwarranted taxes.
Finally King points out that projections for dollars needed to fund new projects are out of line based on the method of transportation being prescribed.
Instead of funding additional roadways Truitt, her counterpart in the Senate John Carona and lobbying firm HillCo this session continued to advocate for light rail, a costly and ineffective method of transportation.
Texas needs answers to taxing and spending as badly as it needs answers to gridlock on our roadways. Instead of using what avenues were readily available this Session, stopping diversions and assigning $5 billion in bonding already available big government lawmakers tried to impose higher taxes.
The cry from overtaxed Texans is, “exhaust these options before you ask me for more money.”