DALLAS — Texas Rep. Mike Krusee, one of the prime movers of toll road legislation through the state capitol, including the controversial Trans Texas Corridor, said he will not seek re-election next year. Krusee, a Republican from Williamson County, ran afoul of GOP House Speaker Tom Craddick as well as toll road opponents in central Texas. He barely won re-election to the largely Republican district north of Austin against an unknown Democratic opponent last year and has already drawn another challenger in next year’s election.The Texas Toll Party, a group opposed to tolling existing highways, had targeted Krusee for defeat, reflecting the political intensity around tolling in a state that has traditionally relied on free highways.Krusee has also been mentioned as potential appointee to the Texas Transportation Commission that oversees the Texas Department of Transportation.In addition to chairing the House Transportation Committee, Krusee, 48, is a member of the executive council of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization that is responsible for approving central Texas toll projects.Krusee is credited with authorizing and funding about 80 miles of toll roads built in central Texas since he became chairman of the Transportation Committee in 2003.Krusee joined Democratic and Republican opponents of Craddick in May, criticizing the speaker’s refusal to recognize any motion to remove him from his leadership post.In a prepared statement Tuesday, Krusee said he will continue to work for a title company and his document-retrieval firm while pursuing his “passion” for transportation and New Urbanism, an urban-planning movement that promotes a return to traditional “walkable” neighborhoods.Krusee is on the board of the nonprofit group Congress for New Urbanism and is a member of the National Transportation Finance Commission.“It’s a national crisis that is looming,” Krusee said in his statement, referring to transportation funding. “I think I can do better for the region, state, and country outside of the Legislature.”Krusee became chairman of the Transportation Committee in 2003, when Republicans took control of the House. He took the lead in promoting Gov. Rick Perry’s plan to expand the use of tolls for highway finance. Krusee pushed through HB 3588, a complex bill that mapped out Perry’s Trans Texas Corridor plan for cross-state supertollways, gave power and money to newly created local toll agencies, and allowed existing highways to be converted into toll roads.Although the bill received little attention at the time, its import became apparent later, leading to a two-year moratorium on private toll roads in the last legislative session.
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