Texas Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Pauken Tuesday criticized a proposed rule change by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The change would allow TxDOT to bypass the Texas legislature and enter into private toll road contracts, a move which would significantly increase Texas taxpayers’ responsibilities for additional billions of dollars in transportation debt.

Pauken commented as follows:

“The power to spend money through private toll road contracts and increased debt does not reside in an unelected transportation bureaucracy, especially since Texans are already on the hook for more than $400 million in bonds for the SH130 Tollway owned in part by a foreign entity.

“This is not the time to give the highway department unlimited authority to enter into private toll contracts without legislative approval.

“Texas taxpayers should not be saddled with more debt and questionable toll deals.  Texas already leads the nation in transportation debt. The transportation commission should not be making its own laws by simply adopting rules for something it couldn’t get passed by the Texas legislature.

“As governor, I will lead the way to reduce our transportation debt and make sure that tollroads pay for themselves.”