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Texans May Regret An 85 MPH Highway?!

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On: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 4:49PM | By: Chris Salamone


Texans May Regret An 85 MPH Highway?!

Days ago, local Texas radio station 1200 News Radio WOAI announced that an 85 mile per hour speed limit sign had been spotted on a brand new toll road called State Highway 130, running from east San Antonio to just north of Austin. Since the discovery, auto enthusiast websites all over the internet have lauded State Highway 130’s gloriously high speed limit. Of course we all want to see roads with increased speed limits, but at what cost? Much like all too-good-to-be-true deals, there’s a catch.

Back in September the Economic Policy Journal first brought the potential problem to our attention and, unsurprisingly, State Highway 130’s success or failure hinges on the wallets of drivers or taxpayers – regardless if those taxpayers currently drive.

But wait, the plot thickens. Rick Perry is entangled in the State Highway 130 project through a multi-billion dollar business deal.

1200 News Radio WOAI stated on June 6: “Currently, Texas and Utah are the only two states which allow speed limits of 80 miles per hour, and the 85 mile an hour speed limit would be the fastest in the Western Hemisphere and the second highest in the world, according to Rhino Car Hire, a European car rental company. It says a speed of 140 kilometers per hour, or about 86 mph, is posted on some roads in Poland.”

A Spanish company called Cintra is responsible for State Highway 130. Perry has known connections with Cintra, including a staffer named Dan Shelley who became a Cintra consultant, Perry liaison, and lobbyist. Further, in a shocking twist of events, Perry endorsed Rudy Giuliani in the past presidential election. Few could piece together their relationship at the time, but Giuliani’s law firm was responsible for representing Cintra in another Texas road takeover, State Highway 121.

Then Perry pushed a fiscally enormous contract through the Texas legislature, featuring – googly eyes -- $2.1 billion dollars in road projects for Cintra.

The problem, however, is that Cintra has a default provision. Since last year the company has teetered on the edge of default in Indiana, where other toll road projects haven’t found enough toll-paying customers. If the same happens in Texas, meaning the project is deemed unprofitable, Cintra is contractually guaranteed a buyback by the State (taxpayers) of Texas.

Political cronyism aside, State Highway 130 will be paid for by the drivers or taxpayers of Texas – which isn’t dissimilar from other public works projects. The difference here is that Cintra, and likely Perry through puppet corporations, securities, foreign bank accounts, etc., have built State Highway 130 with a contractual expectation of profit which the public will end up paying for, directly or indirectly.




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AutoHistory | 1:10PM (Sat, Jun 9, 2012)

I suppose it isn't so bad to have public projects turn a profit, but isn't the government supposed to exist 'for' the people?



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