Link to 7-25-13 NCTCOG Meeting in Lavon

We ask everyone to read over all of the products that are included in this link.
7-25-2013 NCTCOG Lavon Meeting Products/link
Some of it is very dry, but it is the 2035 Mobility Plan and at this time nothing has been submitted or approved as a change,(such as the Blacklands toll road project). However some concepts that have been under consideration make sense to reduce congestion in the metroplex and are not going to change or impact quality of life in the rural areas,(e.g -the eastern loop toll road west of Rockwall-pg. 10 of 2035 Executive Summary).
Please add yourself to the notification list so NCTCOG will alert you to the next meeting and send you information about this issue.
The more familiar you are with how they are building the 2035 Mobility Plan and the transportation system it creates, the easier it will be to provide united feedback to NCTCOG if they determine any transportation issues in the Blacklands corridor and how we as a community want to solve them.
We are against any major new road project being built, especially the toll road project in the Blacklands Cooridor. By using key improvements to existing county roads and making sure any new roads are built where congestion is forecasted and where it will benefit the local community is our goal.
NCTCOG wants our feedback so use the link they have created and your County Precinct Commissioners to voice your views.

Lease between NETEX and TTC/Publicwerks (CottonBelt Turnpike LP)

Here is the lease that TTC/Publicwerks asked the Texas AG to keep out of the public record.It took until last Friday to get the lease made public.
Please note-NETEX had no issue releasing this lease back in January.

AG Letter with Enclosures & copy of lease

The content of this lease was a major reason that there was a 6-5 vote by the NETEX board at the approval meeting in January. Specific changes to the lease discussed in previous meetings that were supposed to be included, were not included in the version that passed. The 5 nay votes do not see this lease as being a good business deal to meet the funding requirements that NETEX requires.
Also, the possibility of a non compete clause is not clarified in this lease and could be required by investors.
Another recent issue is the new bill that was sponsored and introduced by Rep. Dan Flynn that became SB 1110 that now allows local governments to use sales and property taxes to fund toll roads opens the door as a funding tool for public money to be used to fund this toll road. While this hasn’t been suggested yet, the enthusiasm that Judge Horn has shown for this Blacklands Corridor toll road, I could  see him looking for a reason to seek approval to gain access to the tools of this new law to fund this toll road ( and no doubt other projects).

Look over this lease with as much detail as possible and bring up your questions here in the blog and at the NTCOG and RTC meetings and demand answers to your questions.

New Bill to allow Property and Sales Taxes to be used for construction of Toll Roads!

This proposed bill will affect all Texans, not just the ones against the the Blacklands Corridor proposal.
All of the discussion about no public money being used or our taxes being used for funding this toll road or any toll road is rapidly changing. If/when this bill becomes law, you will pay additional and higher taxes to travel on a toll road funded under this law, Plus the toll fee.
The initial version passed the Senate on 4/2/2013.
A modified version of the bill passed the House today and the revised version goes back to the Senate for final vote.
Contact our Senators ASAP to tell them you are against the use of property and sales taxes to fund toll road construction. The language of this bill is very broad and will lead to increased property taxes across Texas as local governments use it to deem underdeveloped or non developed land into Transportation Reinvestment Zones ( see Bill language in this link below).
This Bill, SB1110 was a surprise to NCTCOG and Hunt Co. Commissioner Jay Atkins.
Amanda Wilson with NCTCOG called it to the attention of their legal team so they could take a look at it.
Once again the people that we elected are moving very fast to pass legislation that we have no visibility on and will affect everyone in Texas. Get involved and let our State Senators and Representatives know that you don’t want your property taxes and sales taxes to go to construction of toll roads. They won’t use current rates, government always raises taxes.
Even if you are for toll roads are you for paying for road construction with your property tax, every time you purchase any item and then the toll to use the road?

Public Werks Possibly Seeking Legislation

Just heard a rumor that Public Werks is in Austin shopping amendments that would help them get around some of the obstacles they are facing in getting approval for the Blacklands Toll Road. Apparently they don’t want to have to deal with NCTCOG/RTC, NTTA, local officials, and especially the PUBLIC! I have not been able to get any specifics, but we have to stay ahead of this. PLEASE contact the House and Senate transportation committees, and let them know there is much public opposition to this project. Tell them why this is a bad idea for our communities and how this corporation is seeking to profit on the backs of private citizens. Public Werks does not care what the public wants, and they don’t want you to speak out. They are denying the public the transparency we deserve. Let them know you are still here and you are not going to be silent. Click the link below to email everyone on the House & Senate transportation committees. If you can, call some of the members as well, especially those closest to this area. Their phone numbers are below. (Be sure to include your full name, address, and phone number in all correspondence.)

Email Transportation Committees

House Transportation Committee
Rep. Larry Phillips (Sherman-Denison/Grayson Cty area) – 512-463-0297
Rep. George Lavender (East Texas) – 512-463-0692
Rep. Allen Fletcher (Houston) – 512-463-0661
Rep. Debbie Riddle (Houston) – 512-463-0572
Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (Irving/North Texas) – 512-463-0641
Rep. Yvonne Davis (Dallas) – 512-463-0598
Rep. Cindy Burkett (Mesquite/North Texas) – 512-463-0464
Rep. Ruth McClendon (San Antonio) – 512-463-0708
Rep. Joe Pickett (El Paso) – 512-463-0596
Rep. Mando Martinez (Hidalgo County/the Rio Grande Valley) – 512-463-0530
Rep. Robert Guerra (Hidalgo County/the Rio Grande Valley) – 512-463-0578

Representative Dan Flynn – (512) 463-0880
Representative Scott Turner – (512) 463-0484
Representative Jodie Laubenberg – (512) 463-0186
Senator Bob Deuell – (512) 463-0102
Senator Ken Paxton – (512) 463-0108
Senator Craig Estes – (512) 463-0130

Texas Attorney General approves our request for copy of lease

The Texas AG has denied CottonBelt Turnpike LP request for an exception to the Public Information Act to prevent certain parts of the lease with NETEX from being made public. ( NETEX had no issue with releasing the lease, but the NETEX lawyer made the request based on a request from TTC/Publicwerks after several FOIA requests were made.) The NETEX lawyer, Mr. Banowsky has been very professional during this entire process.

AG FOIA NETEX letter 4-11-2013

Please read the entire letter from the TX AG office as it does explain what TTC/ Publicwerks was attempting to call proprietary information and prevent our examination of the lease that NETEX signed with them on 1/9/2013 with a vote of 6-5.

The nay votes were all very concerned with the language contained in the lease, and specific language (they were assured would be included from a previous review of a draft) not contained in the lease that was approved .

All of the nay votes included issue with how the lease affected NETEX’s ability to make any profit by leasing any RoW to TTC/ Publicwerks and allowing them to run a private toll road as a means to raise funds for the NETEX Rural Railroad District.

When we have a copy of the lease we will post it.