Legislator files bill to put brakes on the Trans-Texas Corridor
Local lawmaker urges moratorium on funds until '07
By RAD SALLEE
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
State Rep. Garnet Coleman has filed a bill seeking to bar the state from spending money on the Trans-Texas Corridor until 2007 and calling for a committee to study the corridor plan and its use of toll and bond financing.
The Houston Democrat's bill, HB 3363, would place the same moratorium on tolling currently free roads. It was one of four bills — the others filed by Republicans — that seek to limit the corridor plan proposed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2002.
The Texas Department of Transportation is negotiating a 50-year contract with Cintra-Zachry, a Spanish-led group of companies, to build the first leg of the corridor parallel to I-35 from Oklahoma to Mexico.
The company proposes to start with a $6 billion toll road from Dallas to San Antonio, paying the state $1.2 billion and keeping other profits.
HB 1273, filed by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, bars "noncompetition" clauses in contracts between the state and corridor developers that would prevent government from building roads nearby.
The bill would narrow the corridor's maximum width from 1,200 feet to 800 feet and require that state highways and farm-to-market roads intersecting it remain unobstructed and connect to it. A Cintra-Zachry spokesman said the company is not interested in doing that.
HB 1794 by Rep. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, calls for at least one public hearing in every county through which the corridor passes, with public disclosure of each of its proposed transportation modes, entrances and exits.
TxDOT spokeswoman Gaby Garcia declined to comment on the bills.