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In search of the NAFTA highway to hell
Macleans ^ | October 8, 2007 | Luiza Ch. Savage

Posted on 10/08/2007 1:48:03 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Road plans in Texas have conspiracy theorists in an uproar

I am driving along a mostly empty road in rural Fayette County, Texas, about an hour east of Austin, looking for the NAFTA superhighway -- the one that Stephen Harper, George W. Bush and Felipe Calderón mocked as a conspiracy theory when they were asked about it at their trilateral meeting in Montebello, Que., in August. Critics, who say that behind the leaders' denials lurks a larger, nefarious plan to unite North America, fear that such a roadway will eventually be a four-football-stadium-wide artery connecting Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, with special fast lanes and minimal border checks. It will bring, they say, drugs, illegal immigrants, cheap goods from China, and who knows what else from Mexican ports up into the heart of North America. Maps on critics' websites portray the colossus as running somewhere around here in central Texas, east of Interstate 35, among the cattle pastures, the occasional pickup truck, and the signs that say "Drive Friendly."

Most Canadians first heard talk of a NAFTA superhighway shortly before the summit, at which the leaders discussed their ongoing co-operation under the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). Members of the John Birch Society -- a fringe conservative group opposed to Communists, the UN, and the "New World Order" -- held a press conference in Ottawa with the leftist Canadian Action Party to condemn the summit and the SPP as a plot to foist "transnational socialism" on the U.S. CNN's Lou Dobbs put some of their remarks on the air, and attacked the "proposed NAFTA superhighway," along with the SPP and a plan to allow Mexican truckers to operate in the U.S. (a provision of NAFTA which has never been put into effect) as being "as straightforward an attack on national sovereignty as there could be outside of war."

But the issue had already been percolating. A month earlier, a Republican congressman from California and long-shot presidential candidate, Duncan Hunter, who pioneered the idea of building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, introduced an amendment to a highway bill in the House of Representatives. It would cut off funding for a tri-national SPP transportation working group reporting to the three leaders. "We have right now in Texas a project that is underway, a massive project to build a 12-lane highway heading north." It was, he claimed, "part of an overall plan to develop a corridor between Mexico and Canada transiting the United States." Congress was being kept in the dark, he complained. Hunter's amendment passed the House, 362 to 63.

As the congressman noted, there is, in fact, a superhighway of sorts being planned by Texas that would run from the Mexican border. But this proposed roadway that is feeding the nightmares of conspiracy theorists would end at the state's northern border with Oklahoma. Texan proponents of the road say its sole purpose is to solve their state's own traffic congestion problems. And even that project may never happen, thanks in no small part to Linda Stall, a local activist I meet up with at a Best Western hotel in La Grange, the quaint seat of Fayette County, which, despite its exquisite limestone courthouse, is perhaps best known for having been home to the brothel immortalized in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Stall arrives looking very Texan in faux pearls, heels and a well-worn pickup truck, though she later admits to being a transplant from southern California. It's a fact she doesn't advertise much, but one that she credits for imbuing her with a political culture of ballot initiatives, recall votes, and generally hands-on, in-your-face politics. As she begins to chauffeur me around, she expresses her dismay that the state is planning to pave over farms that have been in some families ever since they were obtained in land grants from the Spanish crown before Texas was even a state. Stall is not a farmer; she is an escrow officer for a real estate firm. But the thought makes her angry. "If you take away their land, you take away their livelihood," she says several times. Stall wants to make it clear that she is not a conspiracy theorist. But she has enough reasons to oppose the project right here in Texas without worrying about the New World Order.

The drama that would transform Stall's life and eventually explode into a nationwide controversy that found its way to Montebello began in 2002, when Texas's governor, Rick Perry, a former U.S. Air Force pilot who had served as lieutenant-governor under George W. Bush and shared his Mexico-friendly stance, rolled out a breathtaking transportation plan known as the Trans-Texas Corridor. Perry, a Republican, proposed the construction of a futuristic highway from Mexico up to Oklahoma, beginning with three lanes in each direction and expanding up to six, with additional special lanes reserved for 18-wheeler trucks. Alongside the highway would run freight trains, commuter rail, high-speed rail, and rows of utilities from power transmission lines to gas pipelines, water pipelines, fibre optic cables, and whatever else might be useful over the next 50 years -- which is how long it would take to complete. The price tag? More than US$180 billion.

In 2004, the Texas Department of Transportation (TexDOT) put out a map that spooked landowners. It showed a "scoping area" for the road, a wide yellow swath cutting through the heart of Texas, 160 km wide at some points, that even enveloped the presidential ranch near Crawford. The highway would be built somewhere in that coloured area -- but no one would say exactly where. Stall was flabbergasted. "I said, you've got to be kidding me! What do we need with this in rural Texas? We started talking to people and they didn't imagine it could be true. That was actually one of our first hurdles: people said, 'That'll never happen. That's crazy.' "

She started going around to communities, telling residents about the planned corridor. People worried that their small towns could be cut off from their neighbours, that the road would have few interchanges, leaving farmers and rural school buses driving long distances to get to homes on the other side of the highway. They worried about hazardous materials being transported past towns with all-volunteer fire departments. And, Stall told them, the picture only got worse.

It turned out that in order to raise the money needed, the road would be tolled. Worse still, Perry wanted to turn the financing over to a private company that would collect the tolls and make profits. Worse yet, the company chosen to draft the master plan for the first part of the project was foreign, Spain's Cintra (which runs Highway 407 in Ontario), in a consortium with Texan minority partner Zachry Construction. To Stall and the legions of people who eventually joined her opposition movement, it appeared that Texans would be losing their land so a private foreign company could build a big road to Mexico and charge them for the privilege of using it.

It didn't help matters when it emerged that a consultant for Cintra was hired as Perry's legislative director just a few months before the firm was given the contract -- and shortly thereafter was working again for Cintra. Or when the state went to court to keep secret some of its dealings with the company. Or when the state auditor accused TexDOT of downplaying the project's potential costs. Or the fact that this snowballing political drama was playing out against a backdrop of pitched national arguments over what to do with an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, most from Mexico, and public outrage over a proposed and ultimately failed deal that would have allowed several U.S. ports to be sold to a company in Dubai.

Texas had already privatized prisons, so a privately administered road didn't seem radical to some officials. But to people like Arnold Romberg, a La Grange city councilman, and his wife, Suzy, radical seemed an understatement. "What's next? Is it going to be the Southwest Airlines Capitol Dome?" asks Suzy Romberg in the La Grange restaurant where we meet. "If the government is going to sell its responsibilities to private entities, does that mean we won't pay any more taxes?" She's worried about sovereignty, borders, and being inundated by "poor and uneducated" Mexican migrants who "come here and don't want to contribute." Though nothing about the road would impact immigration policy, there is a concern that "if you build it, they will come." Her husband, who sports a tie emblazoned with maps of Texas, is afraid that truckers won't want to pay the tolls, and the state will be left to bail out the company. But mostly he's furious that the project was handled "without consultation or consideration of the people."

The state also angered regional tolling authorities who wanted a chance to run the project, and cities that wanted to decide how highways would be routed in their regions. Anti-toll groups proliferated. Environmentalists joined in. Auditoriums overflowed. Both the state Democratic and Republican parties came out against the project in their 2006 platforms. So did more than 30 counties and the influential Texas Farm Bureau. The issue exploded during the 2006 gubernatorial race, in which Perry's 58 per cent vote from the previous election was reduced to 39 per cent after a six-way race in which every other candidate stood against his plan.

Texas Monthly magazine recently declared Perry's close friend and corridor evangelist, Texas Transportation Commission chairman Ric Williamson, as "the most hated person in Texas," noting that he faces vitriol wherever he goes, has had two heart attacks since starting with the agency in 2001, and has been told that a third could be fatal. And life is no picnic lately at TexDOT, which occupies an impressive art deco building across the street from the state capitol in Austin. "A foreign company is not going to come here and take your land, and roll it up and take it home," sighs Gaby Garcia, the petite spokeswoman for the department, who has faced her share of hostile community meetings and now has taken up heavy daily doses of hot-room yoga. Her boss, Randall Dillard, says only half in jest that his own uncle wouldn't speak to him after he came to work at the department, because decades ago a highway was built through some of his land. "And he got fair market value for it," he notes.

The department's interim executive director, an imposing, mustachioed civil engineer named Steve Simmons, says he understands the resistance in a place where nothing is more sacred than private property. If the state puts a corridor "through a family farm that came down from the Spanish land grant that has 15 dogs buried by the family tree, people will get upset," Simmons says. But he didn't expect it so soon -- at least not until the specific location of the highway would be made public. But the huge "scoping area" on the early map had landowners up in arms, even though the government was planning to buy a right of way only 370 m wide.

To hear the officials tell it, the plan is perfectly logical. Texas is a little like Canada: a sprawling land mass where the population is concentrated in a long ribbon. In Canada, most people live along the U.S. border. In Texas, almost half of the population lives within 80 km of Interstate 35, from Gainesville near the Oklahoma border down through Dallas-Fort Worth, and then further down through Austin and San Antonio to the Mexican border at Laredo, the largest freight crossing on the border. The population of Texas, meanwhile, is growing by 1,000 a day, with the current population of 23 million people slated to double by 2040. According to TexDOT, it would be cheaper to build an entirely new route than to expand the current highway outward, which would require buying out many established businesses.

Simmons maintains that the public-private partnership is necessary because the money the state receives from state and federal gas taxes barely covers upkeep of existing highways -- and Texas has more miles of interstate than any other state. It has already borrowed heavily for infrastructure improvement. "The project started out as the state's long-run plan to address the long-term needs of population growth and congestion," he says. "We don't have enough highways and we don't have enough money to build enough roads in this state. This is a fact that every state will have to face. We are the first one facing up to it."

The state has now narrowed the "scoping area" to a 16-km-wide study area. Garcia says an environmental study should be completed by the end of this year, and passed on to the Federal Highway Administration for approval. If it gets the green light, TexDOT will start planning the specific route. The earliest any construction could begin is 2010.

But the Texas legislature might keep that from happening. It meets for only 140 days every two years (Texans joke it should be two days every 140 years). During the session that ended last spring, anger over the highway project boiled over. Stall and her husband, David, more or less camped out at the capitol, working the legislators, who eventually passed a two-year moratorium on new privately financed toll roads. Meanwhile, the legislation authorizing the project expires in 2009. Sherri Greenberg, a fellow in state and local government at the University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs, who spent 10 years in the Texas House of Representatives, says it's unlikely lawmakers would re-authorize the project in its current form. "There were concerns that we were giving away the farm. That we weren't getting enough money up front, and that it looked like a free hand for the private company to go about increasing tolls," she says. "I don't know that they will re-authorize it again with a private partner." But Mike Krusee, chairman of the House transportation committee, says he will keep pushing for the project. "The road needs to be built."

So far, the plan has the highway ending at the Oklahoma border, and Oklahoma has no plans to build anything similar on its side. So where is the NAFTA superhighway? In the eye of the beholder. To Krusee, it's a phrase invented by groups who oppose trade agreements and greater continental integration, and whose use was encouraged by opponents of the Texas project as a tactical ploy to fuel greater public hysteria. "People who were against the road in general collected allies wherever they could find them. One source was the immigration debate, and the anti-free-traders like Lou Dobbs," he says.

But it is also true that in the wake of NAFTA there have long been calls to upgrade the north-south infrastructure of the continent. A Dallas-based group, North America's SuperCorridor Coalition, or NASCO, has for 13 years been calling for improvements to transportation infrastructure, which they say is straining under traffic that exploded after NAFTA. But they don't advocate building a monster road. The group's website says the North American superhighway "already exists," in the form of Interstate 35 and its branches -- it just needs to be kept up and improved.

It is also true that talk of "corridors" proliferated in the 1990s after the feds called for states to identify priority trade corridors, and many rushed to designate their highways as such in the hopes of getting more federal money. But Congress didn't actually end up funding a coherent north-south corridor. Because of the congressional earmarking process -- in which lawmakers funnel projects to their own districts -- what was funded was less a north-south line than a "bowl of spaghetti," says Stephen Blank, co-chair of the North American Transportation Competitiveness Research Council, a group of independent specialists in transportation logistics and supply-chain management from the three NAFTA countries. He doubts a plan for a single north-south superhighway could ever survive a rapacious Congress. "Even if we wanted to, we couldn't do it," Blank says. "Can you imagine a 'NAFTA superhighway' that wends its way through every congressional constituency in the country? It would be this double-jointed, creepy-crawly thing."

So if the notion of a "NAFTA superhighway" is taken to mean a mega-multi-modal corridor cutting through the continent, that's not in the works. There is a coalition advocating for a "ports-to-plains" corridor from Mexico through west Texas and ultimately into Canada, but this is nothing more than a big idea on paper. There is also no sign that the bureaucrats in the transportation working group under the Security and Prosperity Partnership are agitating to build such a superhighway, though in fairness to the critics it's unclear what exactly they are doing. A spokesman for the group declined to comment for this story. So far, their efforts seem to be centred on aviation and regulation.

But clearly the interstate highway system, started in the 1950s by Dwight Eisenhower, who wanted to ensure that in the Cold War era U.S. troops could deploy quickly if necessary to defend the nation, is now largely at capacity. Key rail routes are also suffering congestion. And more and more freight from Asia -- not just China, but also India, Malaysia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia -- is expected to bypass bottlenecked American ports such as Long Beach, Calif., and arrive not just via Mexico, but also through Prince Rupert, B.C., or even Halifax, where it will add to rail and truck congestion moving into the U.S.

The critics are correct in saying that improving north-south highways and railways will make it cheaper and faster to bring in goods from Asia. But it will also help get exports out and improve the integrated North American supply chain that firms in all three countries rely on. Simmons argues that far from hurting North America, improving infrastructure will help compete against China. But because the states, not Washington, are in charge of building highways, there is no agency in charge of planning such a thing. "The real story is not only that there is no conspiracy -- there is no strategy, there is no discussion, there is no there there," says Blank.

Back in Fayette County, Linda Stall wants to keep it that way. Her next plan is to take her campaign to Oklahoma, and encourage citizens and lawmakers there to oppose tolled corridors and private-public partnerships. Meanwhile, at TexDOT, Simmons shakes his head. "I just don't get it. The goods are flowing and we need the infrastructure to support it. It's just a road."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Canada; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Mexico; News/Current Events; US: Oklahoma; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: asia; canada; cda; china; cintra; cintrazachry; congress; conspiracy; corridorwatch; cuespookymusic; davidstall; deathofthewest; dumbassengineering; duncanhunter; exports; farmers; fayettcounty; foreigners; foreigninvestment; freetrade; furriners; gabrielagarcia; house; i35; icecreammandrake; ih35; imports; india; integration; interstate35; interstates; johnbirchsociety; lagrange; legislature; lindastall; malaysia; mexico; moratorium; nafta; naftasuperhighway; nasco; nau; nwo; ok; oklahoma; opposition; p3; ports; ppp; preciousbodilyfluids; privatefunding; privateinvestment; privatesector; privatization; ranchers; rickperry; ricwilliamson; sapandimpurify; sb792; spp; texas; texasfarmbureau; tfb; tinfoil; tolling; tollroads; tolls; tollways; trade; tradecorridors; transtexascorridor; trashtexasconjob; ttc; ttc35; tx; txdot; unitedstates; us; usa; zachry

1 posted on 10/08/2007 1:48:08 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: TxDOT; 1066AD; 185JHP; Abcdefg; Adrastus; Alamo-Girl; antivenom; AprilfromTexas; B4Ranch; B-Chan; ..

Trans-Texas Corridor PING!


2 posted on 10/08/2007 1:49:39 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Repeal the Terrible Two - the 16th and 17th Amendments. Sink LOST! Stop SPP!)
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To: fanfan; GMMAC

Canada PING!


3 posted on 10/08/2007 1:50:23 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Repeal the Terrible Two - the 16th and 17th Amendments. Sink LOST! Stop SPP!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Detour to Hell sign.

Funny little Michigan town. Visit the Ice Cream/Gift Shop and the Dam Site Inn while in Hell. Both were fun, friendly, and just twisted.

4 posted on 10/08/2007 1:53:30 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Now, now. What could Ms Stall possibly know?

Michael Medved assures us from his island perch off of Washington State that this is pure conspiracy nonsense that only kooks believe.

Next thing you conspiracy buffs will try to tell us is that Dubya is soft on illegal immigration from Mexico.


5 posted on 10/08/2007 2:00:15 PM PDT by Pelham ( "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Just how many American products are actually being bought in China compared to what they sell here?


6 posted on 10/08/2007 2:06:51 PM PDT by wolfcreek (The Status Quo Sucks!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks; GMMAC; Clive; exg; kanawa; conniew; backhoe; -YYZ-; Former Proud Canadian; ..
It's just a road.


7 posted on 10/08/2007 2:12:56 PM PDT by fanfan ("We don't start fights my friends, but we finish them, and never leave until our work is done."PMSH)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Just as I suspected: the “NAFTA Superhighway” is much like Anthropogenic Global Warming. It’s probably not really happening, and if it were, it would probably be a good thing.


8 posted on 10/08/2007 2:13:02 PM PDT by xjcsa (Defenseless enemies are fun.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

related thread:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1899514/posts


9 posted on 10/08/2007 2:14:04 PM PDT by Pelham ( "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

This might interest you.


10 posted on 10/08/2007 2:17:28 PM PDT by xjcsa (Defenseless enemies are fun.)
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To: xjcsa; 1rudeboy

Bump and Ping!


11 posted on 10/08/2007 2:30:13 PM PDT by fanfan ("We don't start fights my friends, but we finish them, and never leave until our work is done."PMSH)
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To: xjcsa
"...La Grange, the quaint seat of Fayette County, which, despite its exquisite limestone courthouse, is perhaps best known for having been home to the brothel immortalized in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas...."

Um, hel-loooo, is someone forgetting the epic and awesome ZZ Top song of the same name? It certainly was not inspired by La Grange, France.

12 posted on 10/08/2007 2:30:57 PM PDT by -=SoylentSquirrel=-
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

“…in faux pearls…”

Luiza Ch. Savage, as we say in the Republic of Panama, you are a beech.


13 posted on 10/08/2007 2:43:43 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

BTTT


14 posted on 10/08/2007 2:46:19 PM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: xjcsa
Just as I suspected: the “NAFTA Superhighway” is much like Anthropogenic Global Warming. It’s probably not really happening, and if it were, it would probably be a good thing.

Previous threads on this topic have noted a point of confusion: the Trans-Texas Corridor is not the same thing as the "NAFTA Superhighway". The former is a concept that some would like to see built, but the latter already exists in the form of a network of existing Interstate highways.

As for whether a realignment of our cargo transportation network away from the west coast and favoring Mexican ports is a good thing for us, I don't see what benefit can come of it. I'm certain that it benefits Mexico, no matter what the impact is in the U.S.

15 posted on 10/08/2007 3:01:30 PM PDT by Charles Martel (The Tree of Liberty thirsts.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The state of Texas should improve its existing north/south highways and forget about the rest. Any increased port capacity needed to offload Asian goods headed for the US should come from expansion of our west coast ports, not from ports in Mexico.

However they want to spin it, this is just one more scheme to eliminate jobs in the US (in this case port workers and truckers) and use the cheaper labor south of the border.

Supporters even say it will bring imported goods in more “efficiently”, in other words cheaper by eliminating more jobs in the US and giving them to Mexicans.


16 posted on 10/08/2007 3:05:34 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Charles Martel
The deal is that building more port facilities on the US East or West coasts is not only exhoribtantly expensive, we'd have to start cutting into publicly owned recreational property, or estates owned by the rich, or state beaches, or municipal beaches, or residential areas owned by middle-class people, or small fishing villages, et al, owned by working class people, or game preserves, migratory bird reserves, etc.

In short, usable space for increased port facilities just isn't there at a cost anyone can afford.

Mexico ends up having THREE West coasts, and there are vast expanses of undeveloped territory where new and expanded port facilities are possible.

So, here's the choice ~ constricted port facilities if we stick to our own shoreline, or vastly expanded port facilities if we develop Mexico's West coasts.

The United States also needs a new Chicago and a new New York, and maybe even a new Dallas and a new Atlanta when it comes to international travel.

At the present time a couple of Midwestern cities (Indianapolis and Columbus) have the space and runway capacity to begin serving that need. I kind of wonder what they'll call the newer, longer, lower, wider land transport corridors serving those cities ~ certainly nothing to do with NAFTA.

17 posted on 10/08/2007 3:25:34 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

“In short, usable space for increased port facilities just isn’t there at a cost anyone can afford.”

Of course it’s there: Eminent Domain, the same as would be necessary for that Trans-Texas corridor, or whatever it’s called.

And this would be a perfectly legitimate use of eminent domain, unlike the SC case which approved the taking of private, beach front homes for a hotel or condo development because it would pay more taxes

And those homes were taken at FMV, though the owner’s didn’t think the price offered was fair. But if beachfront property can be taken for that purpose, it can definitely be take for needed new port facilities.


18 posted on 10/08/2007 3:35:06 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Will88
In general to get a serious oceanside port going you need riparian access.

The East Coast is already pretty much tied up in properties the public wants to keep that way ~ and eminent domain won't change a thing ~ since most of those properties are already owned by the government.

The politics of things won't even let the oil fields off the coast of Florida be tapped, nor windfarms be set out off Cape Cod.

The West coast is also tied up.

Expansion can take place in Mexico with little impact on anybody.

19 posted on 10/08/2007 3:52:32 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

So, land can be taken for condos, but not for ports?

I’ve seen nothing that says our existing west coast ports couldn’t be expanded, or modernized. We have quite a few and they are already receiving cargo from Asia.

This is like the rhetoric surrounding immigration proposals: don’t believe a word anyone says. What can be done about improving expanding existing ports and building new ones needs to be studied by independent parties.

Not buying these blanket dismissals from people who desire to see the cargo come through Mexico.


20 posted on 10/08/2007 4:04:49 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Yeah, it’s “just a road in Texas”, that’s what some of them say. But, you can go on some of those websites, talking about it and it will show maps extending from Texas all the way to Canada.

Kansas City is also “excited” about it coming through their area, too. But people in Oklahoma say it can just do a “U-turn right at the Texas border, thank-you!”.

I hope Oklahomans stop it right at the border and kill those plans for running all the way up to Canada.


21 posted on 10/08/2007 4:08:00 PM PDT by Star Traveler
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To: Star Traveler

While all eyes are on Texas and the TTC, Canamex corridor (in AZ.) has sections already built. It will bring goods from Mexico, too.
Somewhere in the desert southwest a train system will connect to Punta Colonet and connect it to an existing rail track. The North-South transportation corridors are happening!


22 posted on 10/08/2007 4:59:34 PM PDT by kactus
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To: muawiyah; Charles Martel
The United States also needs a new Chicago and a new New York, and maybe even a new Dallas and a new Atlanta when it comes to international travel.

Well lots of international flights are shifting to tradtionally domestic hubs like Atlanta (ATL) and Houston (IAH). The new open skies agreement between the EU and US allowing flights between any two airports in the EU and US. One great improvement is that is supercedes the Bermuda II treaty that restricts which US cities may have nonstop service to London Heathrow (LHR). Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta were specifically banned from having nonstop service to Heathrow in violation of the US Constitution. Also planes like the 787 will decrease the cost of flying internationally from midsize markets.

23 posted on 10/08/2007 4:59:50 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: Will88
If the government already OWNS the land, it simply cannot be "taken". That's because the government does the taking, and the federal government can take state/municipal owned land only with the permission of the state affected.

That means that politics rules ~ it's unlikely a really great beach in New Jersey can be converted into use as a site for port expansion.

24 posted on 10/08/2007 5:14:58 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Star Traveler
Image and video hosting by TinyPic Shove La Jolla into the ocean First...
25 posted on 10/08/2007 5:37:12 PM PDT by 1COUNTER-MORTER-68 (THROWING ANOTHER BULLET-RIDDLED TV IN THE PILE OUT BACK~~~~~)
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To: muawiyah

“If the government already OWNS the land, it simply cannot be “taken”. That’s because the government does the taking, and the federal government can take state/municipal owned land only with the permission of the state affected.”

I think many, or most ports are owned by states or cities, and those entities would be the ones to expand existing ports or construct new ones, not the feds.

And the need for new ports in this discussion is primarily on the west coast, not New Jersey.


26 posted on 10/08/2007 6:04:11 PM PDT by Will88
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To: muawiyah

Expansion can take place in Mexico with little impact on anybody.


And it will happen at some point in the future. Ecomomics will dictate increased portals.

The Texas Gulf Coast and LA I’d guess are looking forward to any expansion of the Panama Canal as that will let the larger container vessels into the Gulf. Walmart has already built a 4 million sq. ft. distribution facility in Houston that imports up to 28% of their Asian goods via the Panama Canal on smaller ships with an added 3000 mile shipping distance. But it has cut days off their ontime destination delivery to their retail outlets. The strike at the West Coast ports during the Christmas season of I think 2002 causesd Walmart to rethink their importation system and Houston was the benefactor.

Think Prince Rupert and you’ll find a new facility in British Columbia being built to bring in Asian goods. This is the deepest port on the Continent and the northern rail head of the Canadian rail system. Memphis here we come.


27 posted on 10/08/2007 6:11:41 PM PDT by deport (>>>--Iowa Caucuses .. 101 days and counting--<<< [ Meanwhile:-- Cue Spooky Music--])
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To: Will88
I’ve seen nothing that says our existing west coast ports couldn’t be expanded, or modernized.

Maybe the construction of competing ports might get the Longshoremen's union to start using barcode scanners. Just a thought.

28 posted on 10/08/2007 6:17:42 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

“The population of Texas, meanwhile, is growing by 1,000 a day, with the current population of 23 million people slated to double by 2040. According to TexDOT, it would be cheaper to build an entirely new route than to expand the current highway outward, which would require buying out many established businesses.”

This part makes sense. Does anyone dispute that?


29 posted on 10/08/2007 7:54:13 PM PDT by WOSG (I just wish freepers would bash Democrats as much as they bash Republicans)
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To: Will88

“The state of Texas should improve its existing north/south highways and forget about the rest. “

Yeah, but building a new highway is cheaper than buying all the land on I-35 in order to expand it. JMHO.

The TTC is way over-engineered and they ought to kick out the Cintra folks... but not all new highways are bad.


30 posted on 10/08/2007 8:00:49 PM PDT by WOSG (I just wish freepers would bash Democrats as much as they bash Republicans)
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To: WOSG

“Yeah, but building a new highway is cheaper than buying all the land on I-35 in order to expand it. JMHO.”

But if other ports are developed to handle more of the cargo, there might be no need for that new system. And, if it’s feasible to send more ships through the Panama Canal, there are Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic ports that can handle more, or expand, or possibly build new ports.

It’s absurd to plan huge amounts of cargo bound for the US to come through new Mexican ports and be delivered throughout the US by Mexican truckers.

Everyone doesn’t buy the lowest possible cost is the only value approach. If the American people become involved in this, they’ll want to see US ports handle the cargo and US truckers move it around the country.


31 posted on 10/08/2007 8:14:51 PM PDT by Will88
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To: WOSG
According to TexDOT, it would be cheaper to build an entirely new route than to expand the current highway outward, which would require buying out many established businesses.

"This part makes sense. Does anyone dispute that?"

~~~~~~~~~~

Yep. Most Texas highways run thru rural land, where this is not a consideration -- and the TTC route is already "looped around" the big urban areas where it applies.

32 posted on 10/08/2007 8:54:52 PM PDT by TXnMA (Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! REPEAT San Jacinto!!!)
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To: TXnMA

“Yep. Most Texas highways run thru rural land, where this is not a consideration — and the TTC route is already “looped around” the big urban areas where it applies.”

I wondered. Where I live there’s plenty of room along the interstates to add lanes, and as you say, the cities are looped with new six or more lane bypasses.


33 posted on 10/08/2007 9:01:31 PM PDT by Will88
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To: TXnMA

“Most Texas highways run thru rural land”

NOT I-35!! Which is the key bottleneck.

“the TTC route is already “looped around” the big urban areas where it applies.”

yes, that is the point... it is rural because land is cheaper.


34 posted on 10/08/2007 10:09:10 PM PDT by WOSG (I just wish freepers would bash Democrats as much as they bash Republicans)
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To: WOSG; Tolerance Sucks Rocks; All
“Most Texas highways run thru rural land”

NOT I-35!! Which is the key bottleneck.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Look at a map of all of I-35. My guess is that you live within the urban sprawl of one of our larger cities, and that your "worldview" of I-35 is strongly influenced by your daily commute.

Most of I-35 does, indeed, pass thru rural landscape -- and it has plenty of room to accommodate the only thing that is needed: additional passenger vehice lanes -- made possible by building separate truck lanes.

There definitely should be no ever-widening ROW consumed by idiocy like fenced-in pipelines, power lines, passenger rail, etc., etc. that must be crossed by ever-longer [and more expensive] overpasses on local roads.

Simply moving truck traffic onto separate lanes (or, better, a separate "freight pipeline") designed to handle the overweight traffic and stress would

  1. Allow existing interstate lanes to last much longer -- with far less maintenance.

  2. Enable existing interstate lanes to handle far more passenger traffic.

  3. Greatly increase passenger vehicle safety.

  4. Provider greater control and supervision over truck (including Mexican) traffic.

From an engineering standpoint, nothing in the "corridor" concept makes sense -- except for separate truck lanes.

Example: When was the last time you had to use an overpass to cross over a pipeline -- or under a power line?

35 posted on 10/09/2007 7:34:19 AM PDT by TXnMA (Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! REPEAT San Jacinto!!!)
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To: TXnMA

“Look at a map of all of I-35. My guess is that you live within the urban sprawl of one of our larger cities, and that your “worldview” of I-35 is strongly influenced by your daily commute.”

I’ve been on I-35 from above Dallas to San Antonio. I dont use any of I35 for daily commute (thank God!)

I know perfectly well the multiple cities, large and small that would make expansion of I-35 an expensive proposition. Not just Austin, where I-35 has about 35 miles from Georgetown to RoundRock to Austin to Buda that is developed, but also Temple, Waco, San Marcos, New Braunfels, and of course San Antonio itself.

What you fail to understand in my point is that even if most of it is rural, you will still need alterante routes to get around the significant amount of urban and outer urban roadway...

So what is the solution?

Well for the San marcos- Austin corridor, it is IH-130, which lays about 10 miles to the east of Austin and connects up at georgetown then down to Seguin. It would cost an enormous sum, easily billions of dollars, to buy out all the 30 miles of businesses along I-35. So IH-130 was a much more cost-effective answer ... now replicate that all along the corridor and what are your choices?
1. Build about 10-12 additional bypasses like IH-130, not very effective but relieves some urban congestion.
2. Expand I-35 even in urban areas at great cost.
3. A parallel highway.

“Most of I-35 does, indeed, pass thru rural landscape — and it has plenty of room to accommodate the only thing that is needed: additional passenger vehice lanes — made possible by building separate truck lanes.”

The problem is that where the extra lanes are really needed, there is no space for expansion. Been there, done that.

the stuff about other infrastructure is another issue. One that, you are right. TTC doesnt need all that extract stuff, it is way over-engineered. I am simply making a point that TxDOT has studied and concluded: Expanding I-35 would cost a lot more and add less capactiy than a separate parallel highway.


36 posted on 10/09/2007 8:49:34 PM PDT by WOSG (I just wish freepers would bash Democrats as much as they bash Republicans)
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To: deport

They have this Fall thing up there though ~ 14 meter waves ~ comes just about every year ~ just in time for Christmas!


37 posted on 10/10/2007 7:17:57 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Will88
West Coast port facilities are needed.

California's Coastal Zone Management Act, plus the Coastal Range and its impact on potential locations for railheads and quays, pretty much wipes out that state as a place where serious expansion can be made.

Then, of course, there are the crazoids in Oregon, and I'm sure they'd rather plough Mexico under than allow a single linear foot of their precious shoreline be used to do anything (/sarc).

This doesn't mean East Coast facilities are not needed ~ they will be ~ but no one is going to build them.

38 posted on 10/10/2007 7:20:38 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Will88

Not sure why the American people want American ports to handle the unloading of ships’ cargo when all that mess can be readily kicked into an adjoining country.


39 posted on 10/10/2007 7:27:22 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

They have this Fall thing up there though ~ 14 meter waves ~ comes just about every year ~ just in time for Christmas!


Yes but someone is spending and developing with shipping to begin this fall...... waves and cold excepted based upon the following articles.

http://www.rupertport.com/

http://www.cn.ca/specialized/ports_docks/prince_rupert/en_KFPortsPrinceRupert.shtml


40 posted on 10/10/2007 2:39:52 PM PDT by deport (>>>--Iowa Caucuses .. 101 days and counting--<<< [ Meanwhile:-- Cue Spooky Music--])
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To: deport

Be interesting to see if the capital investment on the intercoastal up there is equaled with capital investment on the oceanside ~ bet it’s not. Makes those port facilities “intermittent” at best, and then you have to haul the stuff over the Rockies ~ Mexico is a better bet.


41 posted on 10/10/2007 3:06:46 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

I haven’t read enough about the project to know how they plan to traverse the Continent except to read the following article about using rail. My only point is that apparently the incoming will be spread among many ports, West Coast, Mexico, Gulf of Mexico, and Canada.... It will mean jobs and growth for some I’m sure.

.....excerpt......
On Oct. 31, when the first Asian shipping vessel docks in what Canadians call The New World Port at Prince Rupert — loaded with 5,500 containers of consumables, electronics, clothing and all manner of goods North Americans buy every day from China — the whole economy will change.

The magnitude will ripple across the continent — arriving in Memphis 133 hours later by train — in an uptick at Canadian National’s Intermodal Gateway Memphis terminal in Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park.

In the first year, CN expects 30 percent of the shipping containers — or 75,000 — will come through Memphis for storage and shipment across the region.

By the time the port’s second phase is built in 2011, Prince Rupert will have capacity for 2 million containers. About 300,000 a year could be headed to Memphis, more than doubling CN’s container business in Memphis.

“It’s the opening of a brand-new trade route between North America and China,” said John Moore, president and chief executive of the Memphis Regional Chamber. “That’s very significant for us because China is Tennessee’s No. 3 largest trade partner.
.....End excerpt.....

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2007/sep/30/b30rupert/


42 posted on 10/10/2007 3:30:35 PM PDT by deport (>>>--Iowa Caucuses .. 101 days and counting--<<< [ Meanwhile:-- Cue Spooky Music--])
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To: deport

Modern intermodal systems (using international shipping containers) don’t generate all that many jobs.


43 posted on 10/10/2007 3:51:56 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

Modern intermodal systems (using international shipping containers) don’t generate all that many jobs.


Many or a few it’s money into the local economy.....


44 posted on 10/10/2007 5:52:17 PM PDT by deport (>>>--Iowa Caucuses .. 101 days and counting--<<< [ Meanwhile:-- Cue Spooky Music--])
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