Independent Texans, a citizens’ political action committee, put out tens of thousands of â€œImpeach Perryâ€ bumper stickers and buttons across the state over the last two years. The organization is calling hundreds of thousands of independent voters today to join with anti-TTC Republicans to help ensure the defeat of the Governor’s plan in the special session to reauthorize the Trans-Texas Corridor. Further, the independents are using Perry’s continued push for the Corridor and “double-tax” toll roads to establish organizing committees throughout the state to “identify, organize and lasso” independent voters to enter the March Republican Party primary to dump Perry. The message being delivered today says, “Once again Governor Perry is attempting ram the Trans-Texas Corridor on Texans (HB 3), despite our universal opposition to it AND to use our state pension and retirement funds (SB 1) to prop up the risky toll roads. Contact your State Representative NOW at 512-463-4630 and sign up at IndependentTexans.org to join the citizens’ movement to dump Rick Perry next March.”
Linda Curtis, Director of Independent Texans, a 30 year veteran of the independent movement, said, â€œThe Governor has a ‘thing’ about the Corridor and hiring lobbyists for the Corridor to push his legislative agenda. The newest example is Perry’s recently appointed Chief of Staff, Ray Sullivan, who came to the Governor’s office from his lobbying job for HTNB, the senior engineering firm consulting on the Trans-Texas Corridor. Is it any surprise that the Governor’s office has cranked out legislation to reauthorize the Corridor and comprehensive development agreements that the people of this state, including most of our elected officials, have said emphatically that we don’t want? Now, as the Governor’s toll roads are beginning to experience financial troubles due to low traffic volume (yesterday a plane was able to land on Texas 130, a leg of the TTC just outside of Austin), he is pushing to involve even more state pension funds to prop them up. We urge legislators to stand tall and to join Texans of all political persuasions to send this Governor down his toll roads by defeating this legislation.â€
Independent Texans is one of many organizations working to mobilize voters for this special session to, once and for all, end Perry’s toll road schemes, foisted on Texans in the 2003 legislative session by then Transportation Committee Chair in the House and Perry loyalist, Mike Krusee. Krusee was forced not to seek reelection over the issue and is now a high paid lobbyist.
Many organizations from across the state and across the political spectrum — representing farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, transportation advocates, property rights groups, and all political parties — are fighting the TTC. A letter to the incoming Obama administration was sent in January detailing their concerns about public-private partnerships and calling for major reforms. The legendary chair of the US House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, James Oberstar, put out a press release on June 22 calling for less tollways and more public transit.
The numbers of independent (non-aligned) voters in Texas is unknown, but is probably about 5 million people. 1.3 million of them voted for one of two independent gubernatorial candidates in 2006, Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman. The only organization in Texas attempting to organize political independents (a process often likened to ‘herding cats’) is Independent Texans.