Skip to comments.Local commission takes on Trans-Texas Corridor
Posted on 07/17/2008 5:59:22 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
HOLLAND - The mayor of this small community 15 miles south of Temple said Tuesday the commission of which she is president is ready to take by the horns the Texas Department of Transportation and its controversial proposal, the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Armed with an 80-page manual, How to Fight the TTC, and backed by two non-profits who say they protect private property rights, Holland mayor Mae Smith said rural Bell County is ready for a fight.
Bell County sits here like a stepchild and theyre cramming this corridor down our throats, Ms. Smith said, regarding the commissions relationship with TxDOT. We are past sitting here at the table with them, finding out what theyve done, what theyve not done, blah, blah. Weve done that twice with them for four and a half hours each.
The commission with the long name - Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission - formed in the summer of 2007. It includes mayors and school board administrators from Holland, Rogers, Bartlett and Little River-Academy.
In June, the commission petitioned the Federal Highway Administration to provide an environmental impact statement it could present to TxDOT. Until the study is released, both parties are at a standoff.
Chris Lippincott, TxDOT spokesman, said they have worked hard to address the commissions concerns.
Were committed to working with them. We would not be doing anyone favors if we were less than thorough. Lippincott said a complicated project like the corridor is not always a linear process.
Members say the planning commission is not your ordinary grass-roots organization. Formed under Texas Local Government Code 391, it has some teeth. According to the code, city and county officials can form a regional planning commission that can force state agencies to coordinate with their activities.
And the group is growing.
Buckholts Mayor Hal Senkel said the group asked them to join after it learned the proposed corridor route included this Milam County community of several hundred.
Now that the corridor is supposed to go right down through the middle of the Buckholts area, they asked us to join up with them so they could fight for us, too, Senkel said. We dont want the corridor there either. We have some of the choice black land anywhere around. Weve got high producing land, crop land.
Ms. Smiths comments came at a workshop at which a state conservation expert met with the commission. Members say TxDOT has not consulted experts while assessing the corridors environmental impact on Bell County farmland.
Donald Gohmert with the Natural Resource Conservation Service said he could only act in an advisory capacity.
The group pushed Gohmert to provide information that detailed the value of the lost prime farmland and watershed changes the corridor would cause.
Ms. Smith said they had to call upon the NRCS themselves because their concerns have fallen on deaf ears at TxDOT.
They havent considered our farms. They havent considered our schools. They havent considered the tax base loss. Every question we ask When are you going to consider this, they say thats in phase two.
TxDOT is currently conducting phase one, which they say is the first of two environmental impact studies. The first will identify a broad area; the second, called phase two, will narrow the scope of the project.
Ms. Smith said she isnt buying that timeline. If the commission doesnt get its concerns considered now, during phase one, she said, phase two would be too late.
Phase two is when you put the pavement down, Ms. Smith said.
Trans-Texas Corridor PING!
Thanks for the update.
I’m curious if TxDOT will actually coordinate with these local planning commissions, or simply ignore them. My guess is that the financial interests backing the TTC will not be willing to walk away without a fight.
Although it appears that the law is currently on our side, does it guarantee that the courts will uphold the law?
There will be some kind of suits if this thing never gets off the ground. You can bet on that!
I hadn’t seen that. A friend who works with one of the anti-TTC groups is familiar with many of these agreements (including a few in other states).
“There will be some kind of suits if this thing never gets off the ground. You can bet on that!”
The business interests involved may not understand the kind of grass roots resistance they are dealing with.
“The business interests involved may not understand the kind of grass roots resistance they are dealing with.”
They certainly don’t. They’re use to dealing with mind-numbed Yankees and Socialist.
An earlier article suggested they were attempting to purchase some properties. Would you ask you’re friend if he can document that?
I’d really be interested because I know people in that area and nobody has said anything. Of course they might not want to approach these angry folks.
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