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Dewhurst Directs Traffic In Right Direction

Despite the Dallas Morning News innuendo, everyone acknowledges congestion and mobility are serious issues confronting the state’s long-term economic viability. The difference is found in how to solve it. The DMN and their friends in the pro-tax-and-waste crowd would have us believe higher taxes are the only way to go. To their chagrin, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is holding up a big stop sign.

Gov. Dewhurst told the Morning News “he wouldn’t support a tax increase to fund the state’s exploding transportation needs.”

Instead, Dewhurst is suggesting what is commonsense for families and legitimate businesses, though foreign to bureaucrats and members of the collapsing mainstream media. He has the temerity to hint at prioritization.

What a concept!

Transportation, by and large, is treated as a patronage game at all levels of government. Money is currently allocated for projects on political seniority, personal relationships and irrational advocacy. Instead, dollars should be spent where they can do the most good. (That’s what makes the earmark system so offensive.)

As he likes to point out, Dewhurst is “of the 29 statewide elected officials, I’m the only traditional businessperson elected…” We’ll let the other folks defend their biz-cred, but Dewhurst is approaching transportation with an eye toward reality.

“I’m not going to call for a huge increase in taxes in the middle of a recession,” he reportedly told the Morning News. (I say “reportedly” because it is, after all, the DMN.)

Instead, Dewhurst has come up with some creative financing ideas — such as allowing a portion of the state general revenue sales taxes generated by businesses near or fronting roads to be used to fund specific road projects.

The Morning News would have everyone believe opposition to new and higher taxes is the same as disregarding the problem.

In reality, it’s just that their “solution” doesn’t make sense absent prioritization, accountability and transparency.

The Dallas Morning News‘ editorial position is, apparently, tax now, and always, without asking questions. Such is the state of journalism…

Texas needs to be setting priorities, checked by strong systems of accountability, to ensure that tax dollars marked as “transportation” are actually used first and foremost to enhance mobility and reduce congestion. (Some 20 percent of current gas tax dollars are diverted by the legislature, without constitutional authority, to non-road construction purposes. Another 25 percent is constitutionally diverted to public education.)

Texas should also impose full transparency on all levels of government (already exists at state level), and especially on transportation-related entities. That’s our money, going to critical infrastructure, and it shouldn’t be hidden.

Of course, fighting transparency and accountability have been, and will continue to be, high-priced bond lawyers and tax-funded lobbyists. For some odd reason, they don’t want you to see where the money is going. Go figure…

But to actually solve our transportation it will take a lot more creative commonsense, and a lot less of the tax-and-waste driven drivel.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is the CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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