Saturday, February 05, 2005

Road Show: "TxDOT needs to rethink its meeting format."

Opionion: Road Show

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Copyright 2005

If you'd like to learn more about a proposed new Texas toll road that would parallel Interstate 35 from the Oklahoma border to Mexico, you'll have a chance at a series of public meetings planned for North Central Texas and other regions.

Meetings in North Central Texas will kick off with one in Dallas on Monday, followed by others Tuesday in Fort Worth and McKinney.

Other meeting locations this month in North Central Texas include Bowie, Cleburne, Denton, Gainesville, Granbury, Hillsboro and Mineral Wells.

At the meetings, you can look at maps outlining preliminary plans for the general route of the Trans -Texas Corridor , dubbed TTC-35.

You can learn about the environmental impact study for the road, individually ask questions of transportation officials and submit comments for the record.

But what's regrettably not planned for these meetings is an in-depth, informative presentation by Texas Department of Transportation officials on the project -- a presentation that could give a detailed overview of the project, followed by a question-and-answer session in which everyone could jointly participate.

Instead, the meetings are to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. in the same general format as a typical public school open house, where visitors come and go on a random basis.

That format, similar to meetings that the department conducted several months ago on the corridor development, should prove considerably less beneficial to the public than a full-scale presentation to an audience all gathered at one time, followed by questions from the audience.

It's good that transportation officials are holding these meetings, and we urge everyone to attend. But the chosen format is very disappointing -- much less information will be conveyed to the public, and fewer people are likely to attend.

TTC-35 is just part of a huge 4,000-mile network of high-speed toll roads that might one day serve as the state's solution for a mushrooming population and increasingly choked freeways. The projected price tag is anywhere from $145 billion to $183.5 billion.

Portions of the corridor eventually might be 1,200 feet wide and include separate segments for passenger vehicles, freight trucks, high-speed passenger rail, freight railways and a utility zone for transmission of water, oil, natural gas, electricity and broadband.

It's a huge undertaking, and the public needs to become much better informed about it -- which is why the Texas Transportation Department needs to rethink its meeting format.

Trans -Texas Corridor meetings


All meetings are 5 to 8 p.m. in an open-house format in which people can stop by at any time.

Monday: Dallas, Grauwyler Community Center, 7780 Harry Hines Blvd.

Tuesday: Fort Worth, YWCA, 512 W. Fourth St.; and McKinney, Holiday Inn (Magnolia Room), 1300 North Central Expressway

Wednesday: Denton, University of North Texas , Gateway Center Ballroom, 801 N. Texas Blvd.; and Bowie, Legend Bank Community Room, 307 N. Mason St.

Thursday: Gainesville, Civic Center, 311 S. Weaver St.

Feb. 22: Mineral Wells, High School Cafeteria, 3801 Ram Blvd.; and Hillsboro, Hill College Performing Arts Center South, 112 Lamar Drive

Feb. 23: Cleburne, Civic Center Auditorium, 1501 W. Henderson St.

Feb. 24: Granbury, Granbury ISD Conference Center, 600 W. Bridge St.


Copyright 2005 Star-Telegram, Inc.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram: