4. Perry’s transportation policy has provided Texas the most expensive solution possible for building new roads.
According to a US Department of Transportation report, Texas leads the nation in toll road projects since 1991:
Texas has the most toll activity of any state. This is not surprising in light of the Texas DOT policy of giving priority consideration to tolls for new capacity and aggressive promotion and institutionalization of public-private partnerships.
According to an open letter posted by the Texas Tea Party PAC, traditional public toll roads in Texas charge 10-20 cents per mile, but the new style of toll roads promoted by Texas DOT “bear almost no resemblance to traditional, taxpayer-controlled turnpikes.” Characteristics of these new toll roads include: relying on “innovative financing schemes,” placing control of many Texas roads in the hands of Cintra (a multinational corporation headquartered in Spain), charging up to 75 cents per mile, and limiting competition with the new toll roads.
The Economic Policy Journal reports troubling issues with Cintra: the North Tarrant Express contract has a clause that if the project is unprofitable, the state of Texas will buy back the project. In addition, a man who served as a Perry legislative liaison when the Cintra contract was awarded worked for Cintra both before and after the period he worked for Perry.
Perry claims to favor low taxes, but – in the case of Texas transportation – he avoided a fiscally conservative pay-as-you-go approach and instead imposed a far higher price tag downstream.
Many voters may prefer the Ponzi scheme of Social Security to the Perry scheme of creative government financing.