Ray Hutchison Defends use of Private Activity Bonds for Toll Projects

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You may have read an interesting article this week in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the fact that the North Texas Transportation Authority rarely hires, or considers hiring, minority owned contractors to manage NTTA projects.  Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price commented that the NTTA runs a “Good Ole' Boys' Club.”  Apparently so if roughly 95% of all projects are awarded to white males.    

The Dallas Blog did a bit more investigating and found that Ray Hutchison, husband to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, advised the Collin County Commissioners' Court as bond counsel with Vinson & Elkins, LLP, on the pros and cons of pursing private activity bonds to build a toll road between Denton and Collin counties.  Dallas Blog came to the following conclusion, under the headline of, “Ray Hutchison Promotes NTTA's “Good Ol' Boys' Club”:

Mr. Hutchison works full-time for Vinson & Elkins earning a substantial salary there. TxDOT and NTTA coordinate to build toll roads in the North Texas region. Yet, the NTTA recently earned notoriety for flagrantly hiring very few minority contractors.

I actually want to go one step farther and question Senator Hutchison's sincerity on being anti-toll.  Her husband defends the practice of toll privatization on behalf of the NTTA, an agency that doesn't believe minorities are up to the task of building roads as much as Anglos, but meanwhile Kay Bailey has the audacity to slam Rick Perry on allowing the building of privatized toll roads across Texas?  

How can you be anti-privatization of roads when your husband brings home paychecks due to work where he advises pursuing bonds that allow private entities to build toll roads?

It looks like to me we have another case of Senator Hutchison sticking her finger in her mouth and pointing toward the sky to figure out which way the political winds are blowing on a particular issue.  It is politically convenient to say you are against privatizing toll roads because that is popular, but as long as your husband gets paid to promote doing just that it's rather easy to turn the other way and play dumb.  What voters don't know, won't hurt them, I suppose is what Kay Bailey is thinking.      


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  1. Embarrassed to admit
    I only found BOR a couple of months ago (via Burkablog), but today's nugget is a perfect example of why I tune in on a daily basis. (In my defense, I've subscribed to Texas Observer for longer than I can remember.) That out of the way ~

    What are the odds we'll be stuck with Perry for another four disastrous years?  I don't believe KBH would be any better, but she might be just a shade less worse. What are the odds they will both slog towards the primary with so much mud slinging that voters will turn their backs on whoever claws to the top?

    The question should be what are the odds we'll see a Democratic candidate that has a snow ball's chance ~ But I'm too old for fairy tales. My only consolation will be watching Guv Goodhair and Kay Faily tear each other up. Politics is a blood sport, might as well enjoy what I can.

  2. Filled with Misinformation
       I should probably continue my year-long practice of ignoring errors on the Burnt Orange Report.  My previous attempts to straighten out misinformation on BOR was met with personal attack.  But this item is so laughably off base that I can't help myself.

      First of all, the agency in question is the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA), not the transportation authority.  Ray Hutchison has nothing to do with the NTTA.  Neither he, nor his firm, Vinson & Elkins, represents NTTA.  Neither he nor his firm have EVER represented, or done any work, for the NTTA.

      In 2007, TxDot, a state agency, was in the process of attempting to collect a huge sum of money from Cintra, a Spanish corporation, in return for rights to build and collect tolls on proposed Hwy. 121 through Denton and Collin County.  Collin County commissioners asked Ray and V&E for advice on how to STOP what promised to be a disadvantageous deal for residents of that county.  He supplied that advice, without charge.

      For the record, Ray Hutchison has never done any bond work on toll roads in his 50-year career.  So much for the BOR story.

      One additional item.  Todd Hill posted this breathless report at 6 p.m. on Aug. 6.  Approximately 90 minutes later, it appears “OnTheRoad” signed up as BOR's 5300th user.  A couple of hours after that, “OnTheRoad” posted disinformation in the form of a comment just above.  BOR should be pleased, or alarmed, that agents of the Rick Perry re-elect campaign are now attempting to use the BOR site to spread their sleaze.

      David Beckwith, volunteer for Sen. Hutchison

    • Pots and Kettles…
      It should be pointed out how the senator doesn't mind using misinformation from BOR when it suits her purpose.

      “Rick Perry. Gay. Governor.”

      According to ABC News, Google didn't think much of that. And bounced her from the search engine.

      As for Vinson & Elkins everyone in the state can read which may come as a suprise to the senator and everyone read the Batson Report and everyone has come to their own conclusion about Vinson & Elkins and its “ethical standards.”

      She was running against a Democrat in 2006. So Republicans put that little detail aside. They are not necessarily putting it aside at this point. Most in fact are not. Not after she voted to bail-out more corporate crooks.

      Pots shouldn't call kettles black. Especially nasty old rusted out pots that can't even hold water.

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