Welcome to the Internet home of CorridorWatch.org, an organization of concerned Texans and public officials who questioned the wisdom of the Trans-Texas Corridor. Our effort, together, has brought the immediate threat of the Trans-Texas Corridor to an end. Accordingly, this website is no longer actively updated and now serves as a reference for materials related to the myriad of issues related to that project.

ARCHIVED HOME PAGE [CLICK HERE]

National Coalition Formed to Oppose Privatization of Toll Roads

New coalition of highway user groups will combat the growing trend toward the privatization or leasing of toll facilities to private investors.

Group to hold government accountable for ensuring financing is transparent, motivated by public good and dedicated to transportation purposes.

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Assemblyman Questions Role of Goldman Sachs, MIG & Cintra

Concern raised about privatization advisors with a vested interest.

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Promises Made To Investors

DUNCANVILLE Texas Transportation Commission confirms private investors set rules for public safety agency use of public owned toll roads.


Seeing Gold at the End of the Privatized Road

"Thirty years from now, when they're charging exorbitant tolls and the adjacent roads are way over capacity, [motorists will] be looking for someone with pitchforks"


RPA: Proceed with Caution on Public-Private Partnerships

Report Identifies Steps to Protect Public Interest
Before Deals are Pursued on Turnpike, other Transportation Assets


A Documentary Film


What Does That Mean?
Transportation Glossary

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FREE STICKERS!


TIME MAGAZINE ASKED...
CLICK HERE For Link To Time Magazine
[ CLICK HERE ]


CLICK HERE To Learn More About How The TTC Is Different Than An Interstate Highway


"IF YOU AGGRESSIVELY INVITE THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO BE YOUR PARTNER,
YOU CAN'T TELL THEM WHERE TO BUILD THE ROAD"

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CorridorWatch.org Submitted Three
TTC-35 Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comment Documents


CorridorWatch.org Files Complaint with the Federal Highway Administration charging that TxDOT is using a CDA to circumvent NEPA requirements.

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Cintra Lobbyist With Ties To Governor Perry Offers TxDOT Officials and Key State Lawmakers a
4 Day, 3 Night,
All Expense Paid Trip to Canada.

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Resolution Filed in U.S. Congress Objecting to NAFTA Superhighway System and Foreign Consortium Funding and Management.

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Who Represents You?


Cintra's Inside Man: Dan Shelley

Cintra consultant turned Governor Perry's legislative aide, turned Cintra lobbyist. It's hard to keep up with who is working for who. Or is it?

Austin lobbyist Dan Shelley has been one of Governor Perry's aides and Cintra's inside man.

Shelley worked for Cintra making introductions to TxDOT just in time to see them get a winning proposal submitted for the Trans Texas Corridor. Then he worked for Governor Perry just in time to lobby the Legislature to protect and strengthen laws benefiting Cintra. Now he's back working for Cintra again planning all expense paid trips to Canada for TxDOT and Texas law makers.

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CorridorWatch.org Files Comment and Complaint at NEPA Tier One TTC-35 DEIS Public Hearing

During the July 27, 2006, Public Hearing in Dallas, Texas, David Stall presented oral comments and submitted written comments on behalf the members of CorridorWatch.org.

"TxDOT has failed its NEPA mandate to alert and inform the public of their planned actions."

"Under the leadership and direction of the Texas transportation commission TxDOT has failed the NEPA mandate of a careful and informed decision-making process conducted fully and in good faith."

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US SUPREME COURT RULES GOVERNMENT CAN SEIZE YOUR PROPERTY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court abandons a long-held, basic limitation on government power.

The U.S. Supreme Court has greased the wheels of the Trans Texas Corridor.

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"If you look behind the surface you'll see that a lot of what we 'know' about privatization is mere puffery. Groups such as the Reason Foundation and the National Council for Public Private Partnerships (formerly the Privatization Council) have spent a lot of time and money convincing the public that privatization is better."

Ellen J. Dannin, Professor of Law,
Wayne State University Law School

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SCORE: Taxpayers 0
Wal-Mart $2.8 Million

The State of Texas has gone into the land development business using powers and leverage only available to government. By doing so the State is now directly competing with private enterprise and violating the most fundamental principles of capitalism.

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The Newest Oxymoron: Private Property Rights

Texas Representative Frank Corte of San Antonio issued a release saying, "The right to own and use property is inherent to a free society. When a government decides they know how to use private property better than the individual, private property rights cease to exist." CorridorWatch.org couldn't agree more.

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Trouble in Public-Private Toll Road Paradise?

CorridorWatch.org learned some of the most interesting information about public-private partnerships and related activities taking place in the U.S. from sources outside the country. April 2008 was no exception.

An article titled, "Macquarie model blowtorched," appeared in that Friday's Sydney Morning Herald and it told us there was trouble in PPP paradise. The Herald report pointed us to a document just released by RiskMetrics Group, an international corporate governance service headquartered in New York. The document they authored is a report titled, "Infrastructure Funds: Managing, Financing and Accounting; In Whose Interest?"  The 39-page report details a host of concerns and issues that should give pause to anyone who thinks PPP infrastructure deals are free of serious risk.

Michael West of The Sydney Morning Herald writes, "The RiskMetrics research is likely to send shockwaves through the sector and give both state and federal governments cause for concern as governments have mostly privatized public assets via these structures." And so it should.

We have often described the financial model being used by Cintra's partner Macquarie as 'Enron-style accounting.' History has demonstrated time and again that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true. This report is another step forward in debunking the PPP easy money myth. We have consistently described the Trans Texas Corridor financial scheme as highway alchemy and are certain we will eventually be proven right. 

Summarizing the report the Herald article says, "RiskMetrics critiques the financially-engineered infrastructure model for its high debt levels, high fees, paying distributions out of capital rather than cashflow, overpaying for assets, related-party transactions, booking profits from revaluations, poor disclosure, myriad conflicts of interest, auditor conflicts and other poor corporate governance."

We hope government officials at both the federal and state level will carefully study the RiskMetrics report. As we all know tremendous pressure is being applied by the Federal Highway Administration to push state government into public-private partnerships deals, partnerships we fear will lead to disaster. We also hope this report will give rise to a greater examination of the financial impact these partnerships will have on the public. Special caution must be exercised to ensure that public infrastructure such has highways, rails, and utilities serve the public interest above any private interest.

 It's not about transportation . . . It's about revenue.

"Governor Perry and his friends spent
a great deal of time researching ideas to create more revenue" 

Transportation Commissioner Ric Williamson
(March 25, 2003)
[citation] [full text]

"in your lifetime most existing roads will have tolls"
Transportation Commissioner Ric Williamson (October 11, 2004)

"It's either toll roads, slow roads or no roads"
Transportation Commissioner Ric Williamson (May 2004)

[more about tolls]

800 Attend TxDOT Public Hearing in LaGrange.
March 23, 2004

TxDOT Director Responds with Letters to the Editor [text]

 


[ AUSTIN RALLY PHOTO ALBUM ]

 


 

"It's either toll roads, slow roads or no roads"
Transportation Commissioner Ric Williamson (May 2004)

"Highway tolls are yet another form of regressive taxation, designed to push the burden of public costs downward onto the average taxpayer/driver, while the lion's share of the benefits go to the industries demanding state-subsidized mobility and infrastructure."
Michael King, Capitol Chronicle: Blame It on the Kids, Austin Chronicle
(February 1, 2002)  [link]

"If you aggressively invite the private sector
to be your partner,
you can't tell them where to build the road"

Ric Williamson, Chairman, Texas Transportation Commission, May 24, 2006

 

Borrowing money by issuing bonds will make highways more expensive.

Bonding will not generate new money for highways.

Toll roads represent double taxation.

Creates an incentive to turn toll projects into cash cows.

Users of toll roads will subsidize other highways.

Undermine legislative oversight bypassing legislative control of a treasury-based fund.

 

The California Experience

 

"When the state first embraced toll roads, think tanks, politicians and government officials couldn't find enough superlatives to describe them."

But this public-private toll plan
turned into disaster.


 

Camino Colombia
Toll Road


The state's first and only private toll road
fails, Jan.'04.

 

 

 

 

 

"Simple logic should tell us it's impossible for the private sector to
deliver the same service for less and make a profit as well."

Ellen J. Dannin, Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School [more]

 

"The highways of Texas are built and paved in part by paths of gold leading to the Texas Governor's Mansion." R.G. Ratcliffe, Highway plans bring money to politicians, Houston Chronicle (August 30, 2002)

"Highway contractors, chemical pipeline executives and financial bond firms that stand to benefit from the plan have contributed more than $300,000 to Mr. Perry." Wayne Slater, The Dallas Morning News (January 2002)

"Texas 130 underwriters Goldman Sachs, Salomon Smith Barney and Lehman Brothers will earn about $21 million for handling the state bond sales for the highway. Goldman and Salomon gave $10,000 each to last year's campaign to pass Proposition 15, a state constitutional amendment that significantly changed the way Texas finances roads." R.G. Ratcliffe, Highway plans bring money to politicians, Houston Chronicle (August 30, 2002)

 

This Page Last Updated: Friday February 25, 2011

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