Skip to comments.Farm Bureau Describes TTC Project As A Disaster For Farms And Ranches
Posted on 03/24/2007 11:13:06 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The massive Trans-Texas Corridor project is a disaster for farms and ranches that lie in its proposed path, the Waco-based Texas Farm Bureau says.
The Farm Bureau has been steadfast in its opposition to the project and says its encouraged by efforts in Austin to derail or at least delay the $184 billion plan, which ultimately calls for a 4,000-mile network of transportation corridors that would crisscross the state with separate highway lanes for passenger vehicles and trucks, passenger rail, freight rain, commuter rail and dedicated utility zones.
Our members are overwhelmingly opposed to the Trans Texas Corridor, says TFB President Kenneth Dierschke, a grain and cotton farmer from San Angelo.
Theres never been any doubt that the impact on agriculture would be negative, but now we see a growing number of people who believe the TTC would be bad for all of Texas.
Several bills are pending in Austin aimed at putting the brakes on the project, at least temporarily.
State Representative Lois W. Kolkhorst of Brenham has filed a bill that would kill the project altogether and a second measure that calls for a two-year moratorium on allowing private entities from buying the rights to build and operate toll roads.
State Senator John Carona of Dallas says he thinks most of the ambitious project will never be built, except for major projects along the Interstate 35 corridor.
Pieces of the Corridor will be built over the years ahead, Carona said.
They are the pieces that would have been built anyway, such as State Highway 130 in Austin, but not four football fields across.
Work on the Central Texas portion of the project could begin within four years, the Texas Department of Transportation said last fall as it released a plan identifying near- mid- and long-term phases of the privately developed toll road.
Click Here For The Complete Plan
The plan identifies portions of the corridor from north of Temple to near Hillsboro and from Georgetown to Temple as among the likely near-term phases of the project, on which work could begin by 2010 and could be completed by 2013.
The Temple-to-Hillsboro leg of the corridor would cost an estimated $1.1 billion to design and build. The Georgetown-to-Temple leg would cost about $1 billion to design and build.
Designers ultimately envision a corridor with six separate passenger vehicle lanes and four commercial truck lanes; two high speed passenger rail lines, two freight rain lines and two commuter rail lines and a utility zone that will accommodate water, electric, natural gas, petroleum, fiber optic and telecommunications lines.
Click Here For Interactive Map Of Proposed Corridor Route
Click Here For Trans-Texas Corridor Web Site
Click Here For Background Information On The Trans-Texas Corridor
Click Here For An Opposing Point Of View From Corridor Watch
Click Here For Blackland Coalition Web Site
Then there are some other links in the original article to various branches of the Texas state government, as well as contact info for numerous central Texas state senators and representatives.
My own addition: a link to the Texas Farm Bureau web site: http://www.txfb.org/
Web Posted: 03/23/2007 10:49 PM CDT
San Antonio Express-News
As a spate of state toll-road proposals came to light especially plans for the Trans-Texas Corridor Texas got thousands of new political activists. Suddenly, people who hadn't done much more than vote were building e-mail lists, sending out alerts and even knocking on doors, attending meetings organizing rallies and confronting elected officials.
Hold on, folks, because you are about to get a brutal course on the often-disingenuous ways of the Texas Legislature. And hopefully, you won't become so embittered and discouraged that you will stop trying to influence state government.
After all, it is widespread political "inactivism" that has allowed toll road plans to develop.
Because the Legislature meets only once every two years for 140 days, during which thousands of bills are considered, few noticed laws approved in 2003 and 2005 that authorized the Texas Department of Transportation to cut deals with private-sector interests to build toll roads on state-owned land.
But as details of the Trans-Texas Corridor became known, people from very disparate constituencies started to act.
The TTC is an ambitious 50-year plan that will forever change Texas. The state will take thousands of square miles of land in quarter-mile-wide swaths for the construction of multi-use "transportation corridors." This land will be leased to private interests that will build toll roads, railroads and utility easements at their expense in exchange for many decades of toll and lease revenue.
Different groups are alarmed by different parts of the TTC.
Farmers and ranchers fear losing their land or having it bisected, and others worry about ecological damage.
Others reject being doubly taxed by fuel taxes and tolls, and many oppose giving leaseholders noncompete agreements that will limit expansion of free roads. There is also concern that only foreign interests are bidding for TTC tollways.
Perhaps for varying reasons, thousands of TTC opponents packed TxDOT hearings throughout Texas.
Shortly after the Legislature convened, the anti-tollers were encouraged when several anti-TTC bills were filed, especially Senate Bill 1267, which was filed by Sen. Robert Nichols, a former member of the Transportation Commission.
It would slap a two-year moratorium on highway privatization deals. As more senators signed on as co-sponsors, and more representatives joined to co-sponsor an identical House bill, the anti-tollers followed closely until 25 of Texas' 30 senators and 105 of the 150 House members were on board.
"It's veto proof!" the new activists cheered.
Well, that may have been true were the bills in Congress, but for legislators to override a Texas governor's veto is so unusual that it hasn't happened since 1979, when they overrode Gov. Bill Clements' rejection of get this a bill approving changes made to hunting regulations by the Comal County Commissioners Court.
It is all in the rules. Since our Legislature only meets 140 days, and doesn't pass any laws during the first 60 days unless the governor declares something an emergency, all real lawmaking is limited to a session's last 80 days. And for a bill to become law, it must get committee approval in each chamber stumbling block No. 1 be read three times and voted on twice.
If two versions of a bill are approved, a House-Senate conference committee usually eats up another five days or more resolving differences before both chambers must vote on it again.
Only then can bills be sent to the governor, who gets 10 days during the session to sign them, let them become law without his signature or veto them. But the governor gets 20 days to decide on bills sent in a session's final 10 days.
So, he can simply wait until for the session to end before exercising a veto, and the bill's sponsors regardless of their number will simply have to try again in two years.
Trans-Texas Corridor PING!
Those idiots down there in the House on Top of the Hill Country are a bunch of leftists. They even drive on the leftist side of the road.
Uhh, PMFJI, but people are driving on the LEFT in the shot you posted...
In America, we drive on the RIGHT.
That picture is from a road in France.
hit enter too soon...the original is from a road in France. It's a CG photo submitted for a contest.
It's called humor. Deal with it and quit nit-picking.
Do you doubt me?
I doubt you not. Apparently, I should have showed up to FR without my sense of humor this afternoon.
Please see item #2 here:
Have a nice day.
"Apparently, I should have showed up to FR without my sense of humor this afternoon."
I'm can take some of the blame. The usual hardasses here are starting to irritate me. Sorry if I was blunt!
It's not humor if it must be explained.
Maybe it woulda been funnier coming from John Stewart or Stephen Colbert...
Thanks for the ping!
You're welcome. :-)
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