Sunday, February 12, 2012

Transportation Contracts Under a Corrupt System


21:06 on 12 February 2012
The process of rewarding transportation contracts is a corrupt process. There are no true bids. Foreign companies pay to get contracts. There is nothing fair about the process. I wouldn’t mind foreign companies getting contracts fairly and only if they use a majority of American workers.
Even locally in Austin re: the MOPAC overpass at Hwy 290. The company with the lowest bid won the job. It then went bankrupt not quite halfway through the job. The insurance company hired another company outside of Texas. Why? There are plenty of companies here that can do the job. There are many unrealistic bids being made WHEN bids are accepted. No one checks into the reality of the bid. There is corruption and ineptness in the process. It’s not just regulations, taxes and unions, although they certainly may be part of the problem.
There are plenty of American companies who perform the same job that foreign companies like CINTRA do. Australian-based Macquarie Atlas Roads is managed by investment bank Macquarie Group, is one such company.  It is not so much that our American companies can't compete even with the various regulations, it is that they are not being considered.
CINTRA got a recent contract without any bid process.  It simply paid $6 MILLION for the 50-year contract and it doesn't hire a majority of American workers. 
THAT should bother people!
Fact:  The diversion of gas taxes and transportation tax income hurts the revenue to build and maintain our roadways.  Here in Texas, TxDOT is corrupt as hell and needs to be revamped, but it won't be because Rick "special interest" Perry and his merry band of legislators permit TxDOT to do whatever it wants.  He appoints the head dog, who wags its tail every time Perry wants something.
Furthermore, the government needs to keep out of public and private affairs, including business ventures.  This is true on the national and state levels.
There are many reasons NOT to have toll roads and many reasons NOT to give contracts to foreign companies.  There is a history in various states of unethical business practices, especially true here in Texas.  New York, Florida and California have plenty of corruption.  That's why I think Ron Paul is a good candidate on domestic issues.  Foreign affairs are something else.
The last payment to Texas by CINTRA was in $6 MILLION.  CINTRA is a FOREIGN conglomerate that builds and maintains toll roads all over the world. And where does that contract payoff go? Who pockets it? The money is NOT transparent and here in Texas Attorney General Abbott and his office protects corrupt officials. Where is “Open Government” as we were told we currently have.
American companies need contracts; American workers need jobs.
Furthermore, approximately 80 percent off the top of toll collections goes to the FOREIGN company for a minimum of 50 years! That’s usually how long a contract is developed. In addition, the toll costs may increase at any given time WITHOUT APPROVAL from state officials or the people --- and they are often increased.
Lastly, toll roads are generally forever. Even when the roads have been paid off the tolls continue to be collected. Where does the money go? Nowhere for the community good.
Officials and businesses don’t admit it but tolls are new taxes and many think that only those who use the toll roads pay for them. That is NOT accurate, as most people will pay toll taxes that will be included in their costs for goods and services as companies will divert their toll costs onto their customers. Consequently, though again, most would never admit it, toll taxes are another form of regressive taxation.
Whatever happened to the Republican platform of Government staying out of daily affairs and the great "No New Taxes?"  Governor Perry and Texas Legislators get all bent-out-of-shape when the Federal Government tries to tell the state what to do and how to do it, yet Perry and officials intrude in most aspects of our lives.  They have no problem doing that.
So, what are we going to do about it???

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