State legislators reprimand Ob & Faz

June 14, 2007
By Peter Samuel
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national organization of state legislators has issued an unusually sharp rebuke to Congressmen James Oberstar and Peter Defazio saying it "strongly opposes" their efforts to dissuade states from using public private partnerships for new road projects.

In a statement just issued ALEC says that the 10th Amerndment of the US Constitution makes it clear the states have the right to fund roads "as they see fit."

They say: " It would be almost totally unprecedented and a violation of the principle of federalism for Congress to begin micro-managing the construction and funding of state highways."

The statement quotes the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Bill Howell: "Congress should not threaten to undo legally binding contracts that state governments have entered into with private companies. The elected state officials who entered into these contracts are in the best position to know what is best for their states and Congress should not interfere."

And it cites Virginia transport secretary Pierce Homer as saying that PPP agreements and tolling are "two of the most powerful tools to achieve mobility and economic growth in America."

Many states use PPPs they say and believe they are the best way to relieve traffic congestion and save taxpayer money, the statement ends.

They backgrounded the piece which was headlined "Congressmen threaten road projects" with this: "Rep. Oberstar, who serves as the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rep. DeFazio, who serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, wrote to governors, 'We write to strongly discourage you from entering into public-private partnership agreements...' They also threatened such projects by adding, 'The Committee will work to undo any state PPP agreements that do not fully protect the public interest and the integrity of the national system.' "

TOLLROADSnews 2007-06-14

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