The old saying that all politics is local applies here. The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, a Republican, is trying to push a new set of highways on to the people of Texas. These roads will be a monster project that the Texas Dept of Transportation is attempting to oversee. They will be toll roads. The roads will be approximately 1,200 feet across. This is an out and out land grab for the sake of more tax money in the coffers of the State of Texas.
The TxDOT has said that they can and will use the Emanate Domain laws to acquire the land for the roadway. The roadway is being called the Trans-Texas Corridor. Just two years ago this deal looked to be a done deal. Lately there has been a ground swell of disagreement from the communities that will be most affected much to the dismay of TxDOT. Commissions are being formed and they are asking for TxDOT to follow the letter of the law with regards to the environmental impact studies and the like. The TxDOT has admitted to not having the impact studies done yet. Interestingly, before the commissions were formed, TxDOT had said on the record that the studies had been done. They have been caught in a lie.
In central Texas, there are several small towns that will be affected. The proposed plans show no exit or entrance ramps near these towns. Most people’s opinions are that it will kill these small towns in much the same way Interstate 35 killed other smaller towns when that highway by-passed them. This is also some of the best farmland in North America. It is black clay land. There is a federal law already in place called the Farmland Protection Act. There are about 5000 acres that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has identified as land that deserves to be designated as “high priority protection”. These 5000 acres is smack dab in the middle of the very land that Governor Perry wants to be used for highways. These laws and Parks and Wildlife statements are not enough for the powers that be regarding this obvious land grab.
The contract for this road has been given to a road building company from Spain. They will build the road and collect the tolls. The Central Texas group as environmental, economic, and legal issues to pick with TxDOT. There are supposed to be 434,000 permanent new jobs and $135 billion in additional personal income in the state. The report done for the state agency on the TTC economic impact doesn’t make that prediction on new job creation. This study suggests that the personal income will only be reduced around 90 million dollars. On the TTC-35 section alone, The Perryman Group consultants predicted governments would lose $94 million a year in taxable property.
The Central Texas commission has sent a request to the Feds to get a ruling about the need for another Environmental Impact Statement study. If the Feds side with the commission the small towns just might get a win out of this yet. That is my hope anyway. OK, time to hit the lake.
Adios para ahora, mis amigo
Yo soy un demócrata amarillo del perro.
¡yo soy Horsedooty!
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