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Rep. Anchia, Rafael

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PROVISION PUTTING NORTH TEXAS TOLLWAY AUTHORITY UNDER STATE REVIEW PASSES HOUSE  print page

by: Rep. Anchia, Rafael
05/02/2011

AUSTIN – Today, the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1420, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Sunset bill which included an amendment that would require the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) to undergo either an annual financial audit by the Texas State Auditor or undergo state Sunset review.

Representative Laubenberg's amendment has the effect of requiring the NTTA to choose between two options, both of which the Authority has vigorously opposed in testimony on bills by Representatives Ken Paxton (McKinney) and Rafael Anchia (Dallas) that came before the House Transportation Committee earlier in the legislative session.

"Given the issues we've seen with the NTTA over the last several years, we need to make sure this agency undergoes some form of state review, and my amendment simply makes sure that this will happen", said Representative Laubenberg, adding, "This is transparency. Any tools we can give citizens to help hold government entities accountable is good policy."

House Bill 1636 by Rep. Ken Paxton would require tollway authorities to undergo an annual financial audit by the state auditor. House Bill 1577 by Rep. Rafael Anchia would bring the NTTA under state Sunset review.

Representative Paxton said, "The Legislature required state agencies to report their expenditures online in 2007 to promote transparency and public oversight of public funds. Additionally, the State Auditor's Office audits state agencies if there is a risk determined to the state. The transparency and oversight promote cost-savings and provide information to ensure that public funds are used wisely. Our toll road authorities should be held to the same standard so the public has confidence in how their money is spent."

Added Representative Anchia, "I applaud the initiative the counties are taking in commissioning their own review of NTTA, but I feel that additional state scrutiny of the agency is definitely warranted."

The TxDOT Sunset bill, as amended, will now return to the Senate for approval. If the Senate concurs with the amendments, the bill will be sent to the Governor for signature.

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