(IMG:http://www.dennis4president.com/images/stories/texas.jpg) The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC 35) and the privatization of public assets:
The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC 35) and the privatization of public
Statement by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH),
candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States
Almost thirty years ago, as mayor of the City of Cleveland, I confronted
the money, the power, and the arrogance of private corporate interests seeking
to rob our citizens of one of their most valuable public assets: a municipal
electric system that provided low-cost power to much of the city, Muny Light.
As I observe the political machinations regarding the Trans-Texas Corridor and
related attempts to turn publicly financed highways into privately controlled
profit centers for giant corporations, I find the similarities chilling.
despite unprecedented political and financial pressure from the investor-owned
electric utility, its banking allies, powerful law firms, and other willing
accomplices in the city’s leadership, the public interest prevailed. It was an
historic fight, but it had to be fought and won, whatever the price. And the
price was high: The banks refused to refinance a paltry $15 million in credit
to the city, forcing Cleveland
into fiscal default. Our ability to finance major public improvement projects
suffered. We reluctantly had to ask voters to dig into their pockets to support
a tax increase, and they did. And a year later, I was defeated for reelection
by a candidate heavily financed by those same interests who had failed to
blackmail and coerce us into submission.
What I see here in Texas
is the latest incarnation of that same public-good vs. private- gain struggle,
and I want you to know that I’ve never shied away from a fight when the public
interest is at stake.
Special interests have controlled government and dictated public
policies far too long. The fault certainly lies with the White House, but the
responsibility also rests with members of Congress, Democrat and Republican,
who have supported those policies, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement,
which facilitated the outsourcing of millions of American jobs overseas. Now
we’re talking about a “NAFTA Superhighway” through Texas
and the heartland of the United
States – another corporate grab..
What’s happening in Texas with TTC 35 and
the efforts of the Governor to turn public highways into private toll roads is
a national issue. The same push for privatization is quietly being advanced in
two dozen other states. Americans have a right to know what’s going on, and as
a Democratic candidate for President, I have no reservations about telling them
and supporting them as they fight against the corporate takeover of America.
Unlike other candidates, I am not funded by those corporate interests. I owe
them no loyalty, and they have no influence over me or my policies.
Schemes like those being hatched
in Texas and
other states demand the highest levels of public scrutiny and public exposure.
I will use every resource at my disposal to ensure that that happens. I
don’t hear any other candidate saying that.
Whether you’re a Democrat, an
Independent, or a disenchanted Republican, I hope you will support me so we can
take on this fight together. And win.