Escape to the hilts Great cabin,’ on the beautiful Frio River Seven Bluff Cabins On River Road in Concan, TX frioconcan.corn 1.800.360.5260 Nine Texas Hill Country cabins with fully equipped kitchens, heat, air conditioning, TVs with DSS REPRODUCTIVE EQUITY AWARDS April 12, 2007 Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve Because economics should not determine choice For event information and ways in which or go to www.lilithfund.org Reproductive Equity PIs, continued from page 5 Willing, executive director of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. “It may not be illegal … but it certainly gives the appearance of impropriety.” She said that under agency rules, she could not say whether an investigation into Lopez had been initiated, but Guerra says he has filed complaints. Some locals are calling for an outside investigation into the county’s affairs. “What this county really needs is to have everything looked into by objective people, and let the chips fall where they may,” says Billie Pickard, a local civic-minded Republican. KINGS OF THE ROAD The recent report from the State Auditor’s Office on the Trans-Texas Corridor is a road map to a potential disaster. The Transportation Department’s records on the multi-corridor network are so incomplete and inaccurate that it’s impossible to come up with a reliable estimate of what the ultimate price tag will be. TXDOT incorrectly allocated costs to the corridor that should have been allocated to other projects, excluded indirect costs, and did not have a way to link tasks performed to the hours billed. \(For example, $52,000 of a $628,000 invoice charged to engineering was actually for public relations expenses. No doubt that was an innocent error, but it’s worth pointing out that TXDOT’s catching heat from lawmakers for the millions spent on The auditor’s office also pointed out that TXDOT is not monitoring the insurance coverage of its private partner, Cintra-Zachry. The insurance is of critical importance because if Cintra can’t cover its liabilities, then third parties could recover the damages from the state. TXDOT’s also not monitoring Cintra-Zachry’s financial health to ascertain if the developer has the capability to take on billions more in debt, nor does the department question financial assumptions, such as inflation and interest rates, that will have a huge impact on expenses as well as revenues. TXDOT sold the Trans-Texas Corridor and other toll-road projects to lawmakers as a way to get roads built quickly without any public money. But the audit report notes that the state may well end up paying $16.5 billion of the nearly $30 billion it’s going to cost to build TTC-35’s rail lines. With all the confusion, the auditor is recommending that contracts over $250 million be submitted to the attorney general’s office for review and approval. The report also recommends that the toll revenue projection job be transferred from TXDOT to the state comptroller. “Having an independent third party project toll revenue could play a valuable role in increasing the reliability of financial estimates,” the report concludes. MARCH 9, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19
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