The Chronicle editorial board today urges TXDOT to release documents various media outlets have requested under freedom of information laws:
The Houston Chronicle filed a freedom of information request with the Texas Department of Transportation seeking secret provisions of a state contract with a Spanish consortium to build and operate the Trans-Texas Corridor, a web of tolled transitways across the state.
In response, officials from TxDOT and the consortium, Cintra-Zachry, appealed to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to allow them to withhold the documents from the Chronicle and other newspapers that filed requests. Even after a sweeping rejection of the claims in an opinion from Abbott on May 31, TxDOT officials are considering going to court to prevent the release of the information.
The public has a right to know on what terms a consortium is being given a contract to build and operate toll roads in the state for the next 50 years.
That doesn’t seem objectionable.
Locally, our own transit organization (METRO) has been stonewalling Tom Bazan’s requests for their documentation on the light-rail’s stray-current problems. Will the Chronicle editorial board hold METRO to the same standard, and pressure the organization to release that information to the public (and to elected officials like Rep. Culberson, who must weigh METRO’s funding requests)?