Support HB 2104, HB 2163, HB 2167, and HB 2172 - Transportation - Texas | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Support HB 2104, HB 2163, HB 2167, and HB 2172 - Transportation - Texas

Texas House of Representatives

House Transportation Committee

1100 Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas 78701

 

Dear Representative,

On behalf of the more than 145,425 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in the state of Texas, I urge you to support HB 2104, HB 2163, HB 2167, and HB 2172, which relate to the development, construction, and financing of the Texas high-speed rail or Texas Central Rail (TCR) between Dallas and Houston proposed by Texas Central Partners, LLC (TCP).

HB 2104, HB 2163, HB 2167, and HB 2172, will collectively inhibit TCP from obtaining state taxpayer dollars or credit or a state guarantee.  When TCR was first introduced, executives at TCP made claims that no taxpayer dollars would be used to finance the high-speed rail project.  However, this claim has proven to be misleading, since the former chief executive officer and president of TCP, Tim Keith, stated that TCP would in fact be seeking federal taxpayer dollars to help finance the construction debt of the project.  If the Transportation Committee proceeds with a “no” vote for HB 2104, HB 2163, HB 2167, and HB 2172, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence against TCR’s viability, taxpayers will be on the hook for another wasteful government project.

On December 16, 2016, Harris County District Judge Joseph "Tad" Halbach denied TCP’s petition to recognize TCR’s ability to claim eminent domain from private property owners in Texas.  The judge’s ruling also concluded that TCR could not even access the private property in order to conduct surveys necessary for an Environmental Impact Statement, a required first step of the high-speed rail project.

It is understandable that the Texas legislature is focused on improving the state’s infrastructure in order to better accommodate traffic between the Dallas and Houston areas.  However, with outrageously unrealistic ridership projections, along with a Texas Department of Transportation study indicating that these ridership projections are unlikely to cover operational costs, the burden imposed by TCR far exceeds any supposed transportation need.

TCR will eventually lead to more taxpayer dollars being wasted for an unwise and unwarranted high-speed rail project.  Therefore, I urge you to vote “yes” on HB 2104, HB 2163, HB 2167, and HB 2172, during the Transportation Committee hearing on May 4, 2017.  Thank you for your consideration of CCAGW’s position on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz

President, CCAGW

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