Perry vetoes bill
with toll road curbs
Austin bureau, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
AUSTIN — As expected, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a
transportation bill Friday, but the likely
impact will be negligible as lawmakers continue
to work on alternative legislation, including a
moratorium on most private toll roads.
"House Bill No. 1892 jeopardizes billions of
dollars of infrastructure investment and invites
a potentially significant reduction in federal
transportation funding," Perry said in his veto
message. "Projects important to fast-growth
communities would be placed on hold without
alternative financing mechanisms to get them
constructed. Even more egregiously, the bill
serves to break up the state highway system by
permitting local control over state assets."
The veto "really has no practical effect
because all of us, including the governor, are
intent in reaching a solution to this. None of
us want to be here in special session," said
Senate Transportation and Homeland Security
Chairman John Carona, R-Dallas.
Talk of overriding the veto all but vanished
this week when lawmakers crafted another
transportation bill with the help of Perry's
staff and state transportation officials.
"I do not believe that you'll see an effort
to override the veto," Carona said. "I believe
we'll see a good faith effort made on the part
of both houses of the Legislature (to pass
Senate Bill 792)."
Perry expressed gratitude that legislators
are working with him and said he's looking
forward to the new bill "without delay."
The Senate approved the legislation Monday
and the House voted 143-2 for the measure
Thursday, but added 20 amendments, which Senate
leaders want to discuss with the House as part
of a final bill.
"We need to understand what the House was
trying to accomplish," said Sen. Tommy Williams,
R-The Woodlands, author of SB 792. "This has
been an issue that both chambers have been very
Senate and House leaders expect to have a
final transportation bill early next week.
Anti-toll road groups described themselves as
lukewarm to the legislation.
"We will have achieved a private toll
moratorium on (U.S.)281/(Loop)1604 and the
Trans-Texas Corridor that no one thought
possible only five months ago," said Terri Hall,
of the San Antonio Toll Party. "We killed $106
billion total in private toll deals currently on
the table that would have given a foreign
company access to our wallets for 50-plus