May 13, 2007
The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 792, which takes some toll road power away from the Texas Department of Transportation and places it in the hands of local transportation agencies.The bill also puts a two-year moratorium on toll road projects but exempts certain toll roads already planned in Harris County and the Dallas area. In Central Texas, the only toll road planned in the next two years is State Highway 130, and because that’s already a done deal, it wouldn’t be affected. As for the Trans-Texas Corridor, that’s still very much a possibility and will be discussed again in two years. The Senate passed the bill quickly, because Gov. Rick Perry has threatened to call a special session if they can’t come to a toll road compromise. “They will now be put in a position where you will have local officials, elected officials, accountable to the public, making some of these decisions, and I think that’s a step in the right direction,” said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.