Thursday, February 03, 2005

"We are about to witness eminent domain taken to a level unforeseen before."

Trans-Texas Corridor plan raises concerns


The Gonzales Inquirer
Copyright 2006

To the Editor:

Media sources have given the Trans-Texas Corridor Project minimal coverage, and the coverage there has been has had little scrutiny.

This project will change the face of Texas forever, and somehow the project has gone from Gov. Rick Perry's "vision" to the first bid for construction being awarded to a tune of more than $7 billion. Yet in talking to people it seems the majority of the people are clueless when you mention Trans-Texas Corridor.

I have written six elected officials expressing my opposition to this project, and a month later only one politician has responded.

The funding for this project is a joint venture between our state government and private businesses that will manage the corridor.

I have numerous grave concerns regarding this project:

As Texans we have always protected our private property rights, yet we are about to witness eminent domain taken to a level unforeseen before. Each corridor will be three to four football fields wide with the first of these corridors running from Oklahoma to Mexico. The amount of private property that landowners will be forced to sell to the government is mind-boggling.
Eminent domain will be invoked, and then the land will be managed through tolls by private companies. This is highly questionable. Where does this lead?

Some property owners might willingly sell part of their land with the assumption that this could increase their remaining property value. This may be true for a very small number of property owners who can profit from business operations near exit and entrance ramps. They may not realize that these will be very far and far between due to cost restrictions. Many small- and mid-sized towns will see their economic vitality lost due to traffic route changes.
The designers are specifically proposing that the corridors be located far enough away from larger cities to deter using the corridor as a means of traveling across town (eliminate rush-hour users). Let's work together to resolve our road and traffic problems, not ignore them.

Intentionally bypassing the cities just far enough to deter today's local traffic ensures additional outward sprawl toward the new corridor.

This project drains thousands of acres away from agricultural use, and thousands more will disappear over the years to sprawl. Yes, of course, our population will grow, but some foresight and intelligent planning needs to be applied. How will this impact agricultural production and other valuable natural resources?

Instead of our elected officials ensuring that our Mexican neighbors abide by our traffic safety and clean air laws they are building a monstrous road through Texas. Whoever said Texas hospitality was dead!

These corridors will have passenger car lanes, truck lanes, freight rail, passenger train rail, pipelines and other types of utilities. What will one derailment or gas line rupture do to a corridor? Can you say, "shut down?"

The minimal media coverage does quote politicians. From their quotes, it does seem they think this project will be a legacy of theirs.

Dane Sullivan


Copyright © 2006 The Gonzales Inquirer