Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"No state senator or representative is going to introduce a bill to outright stop the corridor because they know it would never see the light of day."

Editorial: Derailing train takes patience

By Dave Lewis
The Navasota Examiner
Copyright 2005

Last Tuesday evening's rally at the steps of the Grimes County Courthouse was pretty downright impressive and left no doubt in the minds of anyone there that sentiments in these parts don't favor building a mammoth transportation route through Grimes County.

Anyone who wished to speak to the issue was given an opportunity to do so by moderator Gwen Patterson, who somewhat reluctantly took on the duty of organizing the rally. Among the several who spoke, none favored the corridor plan, and only one speaker used the pulpit to campaign.

It was impressive in that 135-plus people of all ages and demographics showed up, making the rally a success if for no other reason. There was even one friendly, gregarious Beagle present, and he was heard from briefly, too.

While there are several counties and cities in Texas favoring the Trans-Texas Corridor as proposed, they have entirely different agendas. Several who favor it are economically depressed and seem to think the Mexico-to-Canada route will be a boon. Some seem to think business and industry will sprout along the corridor, bringing retail and job growth. While there might be some positive local economic impact from the route, it just doesn't make sense to think a high-speed transportation artery with limited access is going to benefit a local business.

One major objection is that I-69 wasn't designed for residents to use. I like good highways as much as the next person, but it my neighbors and I can't use it and we're taxed to pay for it, it's like they say in New Jersey - "Fagetaboutit!"

What pleased me most about the rally is what State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst told the crowd. In effect she said that while it will take a unified effort on the part of Grimes Countians, defeating the corridor won't happen through a full frontal assault, and she's right. One person might be able to derail a locomotive, but not by standing on the tracks and butting heads with it. One person can, given the time and tools, pull up a section of rail and take out the train. Legislation works the same way. No state senator or representative is going to introduce a bill to outright stop the corridor because they know it would never see the light of day.

Kolkhorst thinks the key components of the corridor plan must first be disabled, in small steps if necessary. Seemingly minor stipulations or amendments to general and appropriations bills can be worded in such a way that the big money backers and the big financial houses in New York will become nervous. When the money plans dry up, so will the corridor plans.

Nevertheless, Grimes Countians still need to let their state and national officials know they don't want the corridor, because there are others out there who do want it, and their voices are being heard, too. Write them often and faithfully, and write to The Examiner, too, whether you like the corridor or not.

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