Maybe there's a parallel universe where it's OK for a select few, without being given the power directly by voters, to spend $100 million in public money on a secret project.That universe must be where the 43 members of the Regional Transportation Council live. On Thursday, they pulled $100 million out of a pile of public cash they control and bought 20 expensive rail cars for the 37-mile TEX Rail commuter line between southwest Fort Worth and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.TEX Rail is not funded and not even fully planned. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, the T, is working on putting it together, has been for several years, and hopes to have it up and running sometime in 2016.But the T wasn't planning to use these cars, because it can't afford them. Cheaper vehicles, like those used on the Trinity Railway Express between Fort Worth and Dallas, are available for about half the price and can carry more people.The RTC and NTCOG's transportation director, Michael Morris, chose to buy the more-expensive cars after working behind the scenes with a private developer on a still-secret proposal to extend the TEX Rail line 25 miles to the northeast, connecting with Plano. The plan uses the same cars along the entire corridor.The grand plan calls for that private developer, whomever he, she or it is, to pay for or help pay for parts of the extended TEX Rail line in exchange for future revenue, derived through as-yet-undisclosed taxes or other means, from commercial projects built around stations along the line. It is still a secret whether the developer wants revenue from projects around the TEX Rail stations in Tarrant County.Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which owns the Cotton Belt rail line on which TEX Rail and its extension to Plano would operate, wants the more expensive, sleeker, modern-looking cars. Who wouldn't?The T can't afford them. It operates on about one-quarter of the tax revenue that DART has. The T needs a federal grant to cover about half of the $960 million TEX Rail cost between Fort Worth and DFW.The sleeker, more modern-looking cars can't be used for a federal project because they are not built in the U.S.The solution, says the RTC, is to get the unidentified manufacturer to erect a plant to build the cars in North Texas, allowing federal funds to be used to buy them and providing hundreds of new local jobs at the same time.The T has not tied itself to a particular 2016 TEX Rail start date. But supporters of the RTC's quick action would have everyone believe the cars must be ordered right away, not next month or the month after, when all secrets are promised to be revealed, in order to get the commuter line operating in the next four years.The T is supposed to pay back the $100 million after the grand plan is launched.All of this may indeed turn out well, but it is running away without proper checks and balances. The people who are supposed to have it under control are not accountable to voters for these decisions.The RTC is made up mostly of city council members, mayors and county commissioners appointed from the 16 counties in the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Their main job, the one for which they are accountable to voters, is back with their local governments. The council also has members who are not elected anywhere, including people from the Texas Department of Transportation; the public transportation authorities in Fort Worth, Dallas and Denton; the North Texas Tollway Authority; the DFW Airport board and two "citizen representatives" from Dallas.The RTC is rushing too fast to spend too much public money on a plan that has not yet been laid out for public feedback.