Note to Texas Governor Perry: Remember the Alamo.
As we reported Monday, the Trans Texas Corridor superhighway program has come to nearly naught. If you’re interested in transportation funding issues start with this 2003 article promoting the TTC as a bright and shining highway to the future. Then there’s this official pronouncement of its death, and this article noting that more than a few farmers and ranchers are dancing on its grave.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Lone Star State’s transportation network, most of the state roads are labled “FM” as in “Farm to Market.” These were built to help farmers and ranchers bring their products to the market–to promote commerce freely and equitably. But the TTC, as privately run tollway, would have required today’s drivers to pay the tollway owners– a Spanish company at that–for the right to move their goods.
If anything the demise of the TTC is a fair warning to those who hold that private tollways or private-public partnerships are the answer to our transportation infrastructure needs. I don’t think this means private or private-public transportation partnerships are doomed–but it does mean that politicians and government officials ought to do their homework, get down off their high-horse and talk to the people before plunging ahead with their plans. Lyndon Johnson went door-to-door visiting nearly every voter in his Hill Country district before bringing rural electrification to Central Texas. Pity today’s state government couldn’t do as much. With the right input and buy-in from the people, the TTC could have been a good thing.