Is Texas DOT circumventing the law with tolling plan?

| 8/8/2007

A Texas lawmaker is accusing the state's Department of Transportation of "arrogance," and of trying to circumvent the law.

Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas County, says TxDOT appears to be moving ahead with plans on several projects that fly in the face of a state transportation law that was passed only two months ago.

According to the San Antonio Express News, TxDOT officials say they can issue private contracts for a toll road paralleling Interstate 35 - even though the new law placed a moratorium on private leases.

Transportation officials also said they may be able to get around the private lease moratorium by having private companies build toll roads, then using TxDOT employees to collect the tolls - with the state then giving the toll money back to the private contractors.

A TxDOT official told the Express News it will proceed with a plan to test speed cameras on State Highway 6 near College Station, even though a new law prohibits cities from using the cameras.

Carona is quoted as saying, "What does it take to get TxDOT to listen to the will of the legislators?"