Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price had castigated the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) last Tuesday over allegations that this agency pursues "racist" policies by awarding over 95% of its contracts to white-owned-and-operated contractors. The Dallas Blog exclusively asked for his opinion on this disparity and he responded that the NTTA runs a "Good Ol' Boys' Club."
Apparently, Ray Hutchison, husband of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R.-Tx.), plays a vital role for this "Good Ol' Boys' Club."
Mr. Hutchison works full-time for Vinson & Elkins earning a substantial salary there. TxDOT and NTTA coordinate to build toll roads in the North Texas region. Yet, the NTTA recently earned notoriety for flagrantly hiring very few minority contractors.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that, "the report on the authority's contracting prepared by Mason Tilman Associates found significant disparities in the dollars awarded to contractors owned by women, African-Americans and Hispanics, particularly for contracts less than $500,000. It covered contracts awarded for architecture, construction, engineering and other professional services.
Somehow this all seems to blend together with Ray Hutchison's work for V&E and the story that the Associated Press ran earlier this week... this stuff is getting pretty down in the muck.
According to the Collin County document linked there Kay's husband Ray has his name all over the pro toll road papers (link)...
The super liberal Burnt Orange peeps beat me to the punch on this but have some somewhat valid things to say about what this means for the Rick vs. Kay race (link). Excerpt follows...
I actually want to go one step farther and question Senator Hutchison's sincerity on being anti-toll. Her husband defends the practice of toll privatization on behalf of the NTTA, an agency that doesn't believe minorities are up to the task of building roads as much as Anglos, but meanwhile Kay Bailey has the audacity to slam Rick Perry on allowing the building of privatized toll roads across Texas?
How can you be anti-privatization of roads when your husband brings home paychecks due to work where he advises pursuing bonds that allow private entities to build toll roads?
It looks like to me we have another case of Senator Hutchison sticking her finger in her mouth and pointing toward the sky to figure out which way the political winds are blowing on a particular issue. It is politically convenient to say you are against privatizing toll roads because that is popular, but as long as your husband gets paid to promote doing just that it's rather easy to turn the other way and play dumb. What voters don't know, won't hurt them, I suppose is what Kay Bailey is thinking.
I absolutely question Kay's sincerity on toll roads. Kay is sort of a Bailey Come Lately on toll roads... where was she back in the day about this issue? I never heard her speak out against them, and that is a good thing, because I actually think toll roads are the best way to fund new road construction. Private entities usually do things better than the government. Let companies compete for contracts is all I ask, and don't get into all that "foreign companies are evil" BS. Let the free market build the roads... they will do it faster, safer, more efficiently, and the roads will be nicer and have higher speed limits... then take the money you get from the private companies and pump it back into taxpayer funded roads. All Republicans should be for privatized roads. This should be something we convince the base about, not pander and run from.
When it turns out that the people in charge of the toll roads (Kay's husband being one of them) are not divvying the contracts correctly there is a big PR mess. Toll roads and privatization should be an open and fair process where competition reigns, not the good ole boy network.
There seems to be an emerging media pattern... checking out how Kay's status interacts with her husband's status, and how they end up wealthier as a result.
I would really be interested in seeing a chart of Rick and Kay net work over the years while in office... I bet both have gone up quite a bit, but if one of them shot upward and the other just sort of went up I think there might be a story there. Does anyone know where to find that information?