Burnt Orange Report on Perry’s Trans Texas Corridor / Toll Road Nightmare

As always, a great report from BOR:

According to a recent post in the Houston Chronicle:

A default could descend into a disastrous scenario for the operator, its creditors and the state. If the creditors sweep in and demand full payment, Texas Department of Transportation officials could dissolve their controversial concession agreement with Cintra and Zachry for the 41-mile toll portion, about half of the entire Texas 130 tollway. A termination of the deal would make it harder for creditors to get their money back, Moody’s concluded….The risk of default comes amid lingering questions about TxDOT’s funding, its overall ability to maintain and expand roads in growing areas of Texas, and its  increasing reliance on tolling.

Back in 2012 the Texas Tribune did a story on how Texas was the greatest recipient of federal loan money used for toll roads, and its main beneficiary was Cintra.

“Spain-based toll operator Cintra is the lead investor on three Texas toll projects, each of which has received help from TIFIA. The SH 130 toll road from Austin to Seguin that opened in October received a $430 TIFIA loan. Two North Texas projects under construction, the North Tarrant Express and the LBJ Express, together have received $1.5 billion from TIFIA.”

Terri Hall, a homeschool mom turned citizen activist, and the founder of Texans for Toll-free Highways pinned a blog post for the San Antonio Express News where she outlined how such projects are bad for taxpayers.

With Cintra’s SH 130 tollway attracting less than half the forecasted traffic, Moody’s downgraded the bonds to junk status last year. With SH 130 near bankruptcy, Cintra managed to get TxDOT to pony-up another $30 million to buy down the truck toll rates in the hopes of enticing more trucks to use the road. Thereby, making autos pay to subsidize trucks. This is the second year TxDOT subsidized truck toll rates, which falsely inflates the traffic on the private tollway.”

In the October edition of Rolling Stone Gov. Perry was slammed for his attempts to sellout Texas to foreign investors, but marveled at for his ability to project a public image that is its antithesis.

“To recap: Rick Perry sold the right to tax Texas highway drivers to Spanish billionaires, let a British firm write a law authorizing the sale of virtually all Texas state property to foreign corporations, and tried to literally sell the lives of retired Texas schoolteachers to a Swiss bank. Yet he’s somehow built a reputation in the national media as a fist-shaking America-first nativist, with a Tea Partier’s passion for small government. How Perry has managed to sell this fictional version of himself is a testament to the extraordinary power of marketing over reality in our modern political system. In fact, his entire career is a profound testament to our nagging collective inability, or perhaps unwillingness, to distinguish between what a politician says and what he actually does.”

It’s true, many of Perry policies along with the cronyism would be shunned by the Tea Party if they were only aware, but many of his worst offenses are buried in his tenure as Texas’ longest serving governor.

BOR: Toll Road Default Could Derail Rick Perry’s Presidential Bid With Specter Of Trans Texas Corridor.


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