A new astonishing State Auditor's Office report, raises grave concerns as the highest ranking Auditor in the state is unable to decipher how much the first part of the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) project will actually cost, even though Cintra/TxDOT contract was signed two years ago.
The report focused on the Texas Department of Transportation's first of many sections of the TTC, the TTC-35 Comprehensive Development Agreement with Cintra-Zachry, LP.
Perhaps the most shocking part of the report is the fact that TxDOT could be required to forgo ALL the revenue it's claimed the state would receive.
The revenue TxDOT promised to members of the legislature, the public and the press, has been one of the key selling points TxDOT's has used time and time again.
This new information ads fuel to the fire as the public is finding out about TxDOT's 90 day forceable eminent domain “quick-take” for over 500,000 acres of Texas land. Charges of “misallocations and exclusions” about the work done to date, on the 50 year contract, are included in the report:
“Weaknesses in the Department's accounting for project costs and monitoring of the developer create risks that the public will not know how much the State pays for TTC-35 or whether those costs were appropriate.
Not adequately monitoring developers also exposes the State to future financial liability.”
And, 53% of TTC-35 costs to date were incorrectly allocated to other projects. Invoices included hours billed that could not be tied to any progress reports or tasks performed. The report also states:
“The Department omitted indirect costs of $906,774 in fiscal year 2005 and $583,642 in fiscal year 2004.”
Also, from the summery:
“There is a lack of reliable information regarding projected toll road construction costs, operating expenses, revenue, and developer income.”
In 2005, the State Comptroller came out with an investigative report showing how Regional Mobility Authority's, by privatizing and tolling public highways, created double taxation, by diverting tax dollars intended for free roads, into toll roads. The report also showed RMA board members giving no-bid contracts to themselves and their friends.
Bureaucracy always costs more.
The Texas Transportation Institute report that came out just weeks ago stated that tolls would not be needed if we indexed the gas tax. Tolls per mile would cost drivers about 20 times more than the additional cost of indexing the gas tax.