Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dallas Morning News rambles on about transportation... let me ramble a little more...

The Dallas Morning News has an op ed about transportation that whacks Rick and Kay both (link). Excerpt follows...
In either case, Texas deserves a realistic strategy, one that confronts the size and urgency of the problem. Would-be fixes now on the table fail to form the foundation of a solution:

Perry's approach centers on his call to "stop diversions," a reference to siphoning off fuel taxes meant for road building. Even if lawmakers would go along, money put back in the road fund every year would maybe pay for a couple of new highway intersections.

Hutchison's work in Washington centers on her call for return of every dollar Texans pay in federal fuel taxes instead of siphoning off some for other states. Even if Congress would go along, the money recovered would maybe pay for a couple of new highway intersections.
Another excerpt...
This region's legislative delegation should write that down for debate on reviving the proposal for local-option elections on building roads and expanding rail. North Texans deserve the chance to decide whether to raise new money through local taxes and fees. It's that or waste time and fuel.

Many members of this region's fractured House delegation ignored the insidious cost of congestion when they refused to support local-option legislation this spring.

The next governor will have a key role in the local-option debate. He or she should pledge not only to sign a self-help transportation bill but pledge to help lead the charge to finally get it passed.
Reading between the lines, they don't like Rick for opposing higher taxes through the local option plan, and they don't like Kay for not speaking up on the issue one way or the other.

They want higher taxes. They want more money from the federal government.

If I had to devise a plan it would include a lot of privatization, and a lot of innovation. Surely there is a way to cut down construction costs... or somehow hedge or lock in costs at today's rates... local option taxes are a backdoor recipe for higher taxes everywhere. Higher gas taxes are a recipe for losing any political campaign in either party. Toll roads are a recipe for a small number of crazy, vocal people being obsessed with you in a bad way. Doing nothing is a recipe for gridlock, stunted growth, and crumbling, unsafe infrastructure.

It seems like the least bad option is privatization, mixed with a lot of incentives for bringing costs down. I know where Rick stands on this... where is Kay on these issues?

It reminds me of the Man in the Arena speech Teddy Roosevelt gave. Rick takes some heat from people for actually advocating solutions, but Kay has not said a peep about where she stands on transportation, except on that high speed train plan she has which reminds me of the high speed train plan in the TTC minus the actual roads.

Finally... I just have to rant here... I see people complaining that Rick's support of transportation privatization makes him not a conservative... who are these people? In my mind, privatization and conservatism go hand in hand. How can someone stand up and whine and complain about socialism this and big government that, and then oppose privatizing an enormous line item in the budget? It doesn't fit. "DOWN WITH SOCIALISM... except for when it comes to roads. Keep socialized roads... and slow, big government construction! But... but... throw out the socialists and cut my taxes and stop growing government!"


If you want to shrink government, privatization should be among the top options in the bag of tricks. Privatization shouldn't be a dirty word either. If it is a bad word politically speaking, use something else. Call it patriotization. Call it Americanization... or Texasization. Just stop worrying about a handful of stubborn people who would be upset no matter how you built the roads... they would rather everyone just go home and leave Texas alone and stop building new roads entirely, privately or with tax dollars. They should be marginalized, because they are backward thinking idiots.

Kay should not pander to those idiots. That was Strayhorn's failed strategy. Rick should get some props for taking a stand contrary to those idiots, even if far too many people in the lege are afraid of and beholden to them.

I agree with the Dallas Morning News in that I am interested in hearing what Kay has to say on transportation. If her answer is to rattle off a bunch of projects she has secured funding for... or to claim credit for x amount of dollars from the federal government... she loses this game.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.