Day of decision
June 27, 2007
EDITORIAL, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Put up or shut up, members of the
Texas Transportation Commission. Do what
you said you would do. Don't do
something else and then make excuses.
On Thursday, the commission will meet
in Austin to consider a recommendation
from the Dallas-Fort Worth area's
Regional Transportation Council on a
contract to build the Texas 121 toll
road in Denton and Collin counties. Last
week, the RTC picked the
North Texas Tollway Authority to do the work,
rejecting an earlier proposal from the
Spanish company Cintra.
It was a wise choice.
holds the greatest financial value for
the region. Winning the lucrative Texas
121 project would enable the local
public agency to remain strong in its
mission to serve the region's
The Texas 121 project has been
winding its way through the state
transportation bureaucracy for more than
two years. Meanwhile, people who travel
that route have been driving on
increasingly congested lanes built as
frontage roads for the planned larger
road. It's a daily nightmare for them.
The Transportation Commission -- most
notably through its chairman, Ric
Williamson of Weatherford -- has
preached for years about the need to
build toll roads because there is not
enough revenue from gasoline taxes to
pay for all of the new highways that
Texas needs. To put it mildly, that
message has not gone over well in some
parts of the state.
Four years ago, the Transportation
Commission gave bodies such as the RTC
in each of the state's major metro areas
the job of guiding their own
transportation planning and encouraged
them to make toll roads part of that
process. The commission told local
agencies to set their own priorities and
make their decisions -- and then
promised to support those decisions.
Now it's time to follow through with
that promise. The commission must ratify
the RTC's decision on Texas 121 and
approve NTTA for the work.
Cintra is building major portions of
Gov. Rick Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor,
and in February it looked as if the
company would get the Texas 121 contract
also. But when it became clear that
had been discouraged from bidding, some
North Texas legislators cried foul. Last
week, in a head-to-head comparison,
NTTA's bid beat out Cintra's.
This has gone on long enough.
Thursday is not a day for further delay.
It is not a day for the commission to
play politics. It's a day to let the
local decision prevail and to award the
Texas 121 tollway project to
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
To contact commission members, go to:
Then select "TxDOT Administration"
from the drop-down list.
Commissioners are: Chairman Richard
F. "Ric" Williamson, Weatherford; Hope
Andrade, San Antonio; Ned S. Holmes,
Houston; Ted Houghton, El Paso; Fred