Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kay's new anti toll road ad...

Is this the "game changer" ad? Forgive me if I am underwhelmed... although it is creative in a conceptual kind of way... and it is great that Kay is not in the ad... she has not looked all that great in her commercials so far...

Somehow I bet this ad might come back to bite Kay... number one she is running against a plan that has already been killed... although arguably she can say it might come back from the dead...

Number two I bet that the road shown in the ad is not part of the dead TTC... and is not a "free" road in peril of being turned into a a toll road... not that there is such a thing as a free road. If anything "free" roads are less "free" than the alternative... they are expensive and require tax dollars...

Number three I don't think that you can convert free roads to toll roads in Texas without a local initiative process driving that...

Kay ironically unveiled her transportation plan recently and the anti toll road peeps were not happy at all with her (link). Excerpt follows...

Kay Bailey Hutchison’s transportation plan revives the Trans Texas Corridor

Kay Bailey Hutchison calls for some good reforms in her transportation proposal, Putting Texas Transportation Back On The Road to Success. However, her plan falls short in protecting taxpayers and fails to offer a method for financing the state’s transportation system other than continuing to privatize roads and pushing the use of private toll road arrangements called public-private partnerships (PPPs) which are fraught with risk for taxpayers.

Hutchison is correct to demand that the state reform TxDOT’s broken financing system and enact measures that will regain the public’s trust in the very same state agency that made a $1.1 billion accounting error a few years back. She is also correct to insist that data be more transparent and consistent across all regions, especially data that pertains to controversial projects such as private toll roads. She is absolutely justified when she demands that the state ends the diversion of Fund 6 transportation revenue to other programs. In the 2010-2011 state budget, $1.2 billion of dedicated funds were diverted to other purposes. Hutchison also outlines some particularly good ideas for developing both local and statewide outcome-based accountability measures for transportation projects. Finally, we applaud the inclusion of a strategic freight initiative and the emphasis Hutchison places on high speed and commuter rail as alternate types of transportations as well as the emphasis she places on rail relocation for urban freight rail networks—the first step to getting Texans moving on tracks.

However, Hutchison’s promise to kill Governor Perry’s Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) project cannot be taken seriously. Her proposal offers no additional means for financing Texas’ transportation infrastructure other than the very same TTC-style private toll road arrangements that have come to define Governor Perry and TxDOT over the course of the past decade. In her transportation plan, Kay Bailey Hutchison claims that she will kill the TTC once and for all. However, without a new method for funding the multi-modal transportation system she proposes, her plan sounds awfully similar to Governor Perry’s Trans Texas Corridor.

Reviving the unpopular Trans Texas Corridor

The Trans Texas Corridor will not be dead until we rid the state of TTC-style private toll road arrangements such as public-private partnerships (PPPs) which are Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDAs) by another name. These are the same type of road privatization deals Governor Perry used to fund the unbelievably unpopular Trans TTC project. CDAs and PPPs are fraught with problems and characterized by the same leveraging of debt, reckless shifting of risk and conflicts of interest that triggered the recent financial crisis. CDAs and PPPs place transportation policy and planning in the hands of private Wall Street investors seeking reliable returns from rising tolls.

The other strange thing about Kay's attack is that she has a very similar plan with rail... and there is no way to build the rail without foreign companies... every single rail building company is foreign, and to build a huge network of rail would require hundreds of thousands of acres of private land...

I think this ad is clever in a creative sense... it is clever in that it doesn't use Kay's image or voice... but it is the kind of ad that might come back to bite her because she is so vulnerable on these very issues... more than that... I think Strayhorn showed that running an anti toll road campaign is not always a winning strategy....


  1. People would be insane to think that this is her "game-changing" ad. This is most likely a decoy ad designed to manipulate the Perry strategy. If $30,000/month Terry Sullivan called it a "game-changing" effort, we should take him at his word (no, I'm not being sarcastic).

  2. Kay Bailout fails again.

  3. I haven't done a county by county comparison, but in Tarrant County, more people penciled in Strayhorn's name in 2006 than did people who penciled in Perry's.

    Perry just had the added bonus of having the straight ticket vote go to him.

    When you add Perry's and Strayhorn's vote together, you get Dewhurst's vote in 2006.

    The point here is that the Strayhorn vote was a Republican vote and she beat Perry head to head.

  4. Terrible, this idea.January 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    It's a jump to conclusions mat. Get it? JUMP. To conclusions.

  5. KBH should fire all of her staff after this ad. All of them. This is a disgrace.

  6. Thank you for quoting TexPIRG's article in your blog post. TexPIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan consumer advocacy and good government group. TexPIRG is against road privatization, and private toll road deals that lack adequate public interest protections and safeguards for taxpayers.

    To learn more about our campaign to end bad rod privatization deals in Texas visit our website: www.texpirg.org/issues/transportation-solutions-for-texas/stop-bad-road-privatization

    Melissa Cubria, Advocate, TexPIRG


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.