Dear Chairmen [James L.] Oberstar and [Peter A.] DeFazio:
....as your committee studies the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in supporting our national transportation system, I encourage you to examine the fundamental question of why the states are looking to engage the private sector in the first place. I will tell you that the answer in Texas is that we could no longer wait for anyone else to solve our problems.
....I would hope that the federal government would encourage innovation and not stifle it.
....In the next 25 years, road usage in Texas is expected to increase by more than 200 percent, but road capacity would grow only 6 percent if we simply rely on state and federal gas taxes.
If we do not find new ways to pay for our highways, by 2014, Texas will have no money to increase road capacity, and the remaining funds used to maintain our infrastructure will quickly disappear thanks to increased wear-and-tear and growing materials costs. The result would be crumbling, congested roads.
....As governor, I will not sit by and allow gridlock to consume our state's roads. ....we are engaging the private sector to help us meet these transportation challenges.
Using innovative financing methods created by state and federal laws...we are already seeing the impact of market forces that are driving down the cost of transportation projects and expediting their completion for the driving public. We cannot turn back now; congestion doesn't wait for Congress to make up its mind.
Call it The Straight Talk Expressways.