Nelson toll road may be in trouble

April 7, 2005 at 11:15 AM
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AUSTIN, Texas, April 7 (UPI) -- Legislation naming a Texas toll road after country singer Willie Nelson, a Democrat, may have a troubled path in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The first hint came Wednesday in a Senate committee when two GOP senators objected to the road carrying Nelson's name in their districts, the Austin American-Statesmen reported. As a result, more than 18 miles of the road lost the designation.

Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, a Democrat, wanted all 49 miles of the Texas 130 toll road to be named after the singer who made Austin music famous around the world.

Republican Sens. Steve Ogden and Jeff Wentworth told him they didn't want the parts of the road in their districts to carry Nelson's name.

Ogden and Wentworth said they are against naming roads after people who are still alive, but the Legislature named roads after former President George H.W. Bush, former U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and pitcher Nolan Ryan, all alive.

The bill eventually cleared committee but some senators told the newspaper later the bill might have trouble mustering the 21 votes necessary to come up for vote in the Senate.

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