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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC): Help STOP IT While There is STILL TIME!

The Trans-Texas Corridor: Governor Perry LOVES it. Judging from his comments, a President Obama would support it.....and it's a BAD Idea! If approved, it will be one, if not THE most outrageous private-property steals in the history of America. And that's just for starters.

Below is a detailed explanation about what, and more importantly, HOW you can try to stop it from becoming a reality. Thanks to my friends at CFIR for forwarding this to me and a special thank you to Rep. Kolkhorst for dedicating so much of her time and energy in fighting this boondoggle.

Read Rep. Kolkhorst's piece below FIRST because it is very time sensitive.
After you have finished it, I strongly recommend reading this article, America for Sale, the NAFTA Superhighway Travesty; The Great American Political LIE, by my friend and fellow blogger Marc Chamot.

Stopping the Trans-Texas Corridor is an issue that is simply too important ignore: especially while there is still time left to do something.
"Straight Talk"
What's Happening in Austin

From the office of
Lois W. Kolkhorst
State Representative
District 13

February 25, 2008

As you might have heard, I’ve been working for the last four years to deconstruct the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) concept that's been proposed in Austin. Along the way, I've heard from many of you out there who agree with me. In fact, over ten thousand Texans attended the recent set of "Town Hall" meetings regarding the I-69 portion of the TTC. Nearly all of the public feedback has been negative.

People are angry that this plan would require too much land and would do more harm than good to their community. Maybe the most heat has been created by the idea that local control will be lost if our state sells or leases its infrastructure. I agree. As I've said before, Texas should own and operate its own highways rather than allowing foreign companies to profit for 50 years off the movement of Texans.

I was in a tiny minority of lawmakers during the 2005 session who openly fought the TTC, once it was fully explained. Perhaps because the planners knew that a foreign-owned super-highway eating up rural land would be controversial to Texas lawmakers, the idea was tucked away in a large transportation bill in 2003.

By the 2007 legislative session, most legislators had heard from their angry constituents, and agreed that we should stop moving ahead with the TTC. Because of the help of grassroots groups who kept the heat up, I was able to pass a two-year moratorium on the use of Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDAs) as a method to build highways in Texas (with some exceptions in North Texas and in the Valley).

The TTC I-69 in our area can only be built using CDAs, likely with private equity utilizing foreign money. This means that the moratorium has frozen the finances available to sign a deal to build I-69 with private toll operators for the time being.

However, even though the method to sign the financing of the TTC is dead for now, the Texas Department of Transportation and the political forces pushing the TTC have continued planning the TTC, and specifically, I-69.

This explains why TXDoT has held the many “Town Hall” meetings in various places along the pathway of the TTC I-69, including Bellville and Huntsville. The forces that are pushing for the Trans-Texas Corridor feel that if they simply "re-educate" the public, somehow the idea of selling off our valuable highway system to foreign companies will become more politically acceptable.

We should be proud that so many people in our district came out and expressed concerns over the TTC I-69. In fact, nearly 1,200 turned out for the meeting in Bellville and over 1,400 turned out in Huntsville. That's great news, but remember that those town hall meetings were "informational" only, merely a public relations effort.

Many times I’m asked, “How can I help you really stop the TTC?” My answer is found in this email. Now is your time to act. The town hall meetings are over and the next stage for TXDoT is called the I-69 TTC Tier One Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Right now is your time to officially enter your comments (written or verbally) into the official record. Public comments by you on the DEIS can have a major impact on the Federal Highway Administration’s final decision.

Taking part in the DEIS is more important than attending the prior series of "Town Hall" discussions, or writing a letter to Governor Perry or TXDoT. Your comments will be part of the official documents submitted to the Federal Government.

There are several public hearings scheduled where you can make your voice heard in the DEIS process. The first one in our area was recently held in Huntsville. The next one in our district is in Sealy, on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the Sealy High School. Another one is scheduled in Navasota on Thursday, Feb. 28 at the Grimes County Fairgrounds (Grimes County Expo Center). The doors will open at 5 pm and the official meeting starts at 6:30 pm. If you are interested in being part of the official record, you should go to a hearing in person to submit your comments in writing or orally
If you cannot attend a hearing, you can still submit comments online at This is a TxDOT sponsored website which provides detailed, up-to-date, information on the Trans-Texas Corridor and allows individuals to submit electronic comments directly to TxDOT. There are also other public hearings scheduled in Waller, Hempstead, El Campo & Bryan. The details, dates and times are available on the website.

You can also mail your comments to TTC/I-69, P.O. Box 14428, Austin, TX 78761.
The deadline for officially registering your comments in the DEIS for I-69 is March 19. I'm sending this email to my friends with the hope that many of you will take the time to get involved. This is a great example of how our state government relies on your participation. It's also a great chance for Texans to take a stand against the international plans to build a corridor that has been dubbed in official documents as "the NAFTA superhighway" and remind the powers on high that there's a better way to build roads.

No decision has been made on the I-69, no route has been agreed on, and no funding is in place to go build it. The level of negative public feedback will be on record for the federal officials, and will further force TxDOT and the Governor to reconsider the push for the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC).

Everyone agrees we need new roads. The point we need to keep making is that we need to seek a more local, regional set of solutions. The primary goal of a Texas road project should be to benefit the public, not to create profits for a foreign company.

I believe that our transportation issues can be just as easily solved by allowing our urban areas to locally build loops to fight congestion. Where our rural areas are concerned, why not use existing right-of-ways on roads like Highway 59 or Highway 6 instead of constructing new threats to thousands of acres of private property?

During your DEIS comments, it's important that you not simply say you are against the TTC, but try to explain why you oppose it. For instance, some are aware of a local threat to a cemetery, or a historic site, or natural resources or wildlife areas. Please express specifically why this plan would not be good for your region, and how it would negatively touch your family and local community.

In Summary:
· The Texas Department of Transportation is now holding a series of public hearings to discuss the Trans-Texas Corridor I-69/TTC Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in order to give the public a chance to raise their concerns about the project for the official record.

· You can read the entire DEIS online at:

· The public can voice their opinions and concerns in writing or verbally at these public hearings.

· In addition, they can also visit This is a TxDOT sponsored website which provides detailed, up-to-date, information on the Trans-Texas Corridor and allows individuals to submit electronic comments directly to TxDOT.

· If someone would prefer to mail their comments in, they can send them to: TTC/I-69, P.O. Box 14428, Austin, TX 78761

· All electronic or handwritten comments must be received by March 19, 2008 in order to be included in TxDOT's official report.

Key Points from Rep. Kolkhorst:

· No decision has been made, no route has been agreed on, and no funding is in place to actively build the I-69 project. The foreign control of the project hinges on our state signing a Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA). My office helped pass a moratorium on CDAs during last session.

· It is our hope that a negative public reaction will further force TxDOT and the Governor to reconsider the push for the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC), and seek a more local, regional set of solutions.

· In my opinion, I believe the rural transportation issues can be just as easily solved by widening existing roadways as opposed to constructing new ones that threaten to destroy rural Texas.

· I urge you to attend these TxDOT meetings and voice your opinion. It is up to you to tell TxDOT, the Governor, and your local county officials that you do not want the TTC in your area.

· Please give reasons why you are against the TTC. This will have a greater impact.

· Although TxDOT can't actively finance the TTC, there is a very powerful political and financial force that is pushing to continue with the planning of an international highway to connect Mexico, the US, and Canada. The hope among the NAFTA Superhighway planners is that you will grow tired of fighting the idea and give up fighting this idea. It's your chance to prove them wrong.

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Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone
"The Girl of my Dreams"