Strayhorn: "I intend to fight to halt this project."
Waller County News-Citizen
The anti corridor rally brought out more than 300 citizens who learned about the project through the efforts of the Citizens for a Better Waller County.
The "Tough Texas Grandma" came to town to tell Waller County citizens and those from other counties that "we will not sit quietly by and let this governor (Gov. Rick Perry) embark on the biggest land grab in history and cram toll roads down our throats. This is not the Texas way, and it cannot continue. This is the largest land grab in Texas history ..."
In her opening remarks, Strayhorn thanked the members of the CBWC, the event sponsor, and said she was pleased to see the people of this area coming together to fight this "monstrosity" that is being termed a super highway for destruction.
"As a grandma, I am concerned about the future of Texas for my grandchildren, for your children and your grandchildren. I am concerned that little Ursula Johnson, (daughter of Sylvia Cedillo, CBWC legislative committee chair), a future governor of Texas, will have to address this mess that Governor Perry and his folks have created," she said.
The 35-mile north-south corridor route proposes to split the county, restrict travel and lengthen travel times, result in the loss of more than 5,000 acres from county tax rolls, increase air-noise pollution, cause problems for 911 and EMS service, and will result in no service or economic benefits to the citizens or county.
Strayhorn, a Republican gubernatorial candidate and Perry's biggest challenger to date for the governor's position, is one of the most vocal critics of what she calls "the Trans-Texas Catastrophe." A display on the football field included replicas of cars, trucks, trains and trolleys, representing the proposed I-69 TTC and its effects on the area.
"Texas property belongs to Texans, not foreign companies and I intend to fight to halt this project," she said.
Strayhorn expressed empathy for the victims of Hurricane Rita and referenced the traffic problems during the recent evacuation of Houston and other areas that tied up the freeway system and trapped citizens in their cars for more than 21 hours. She said this debacle is a result of poor leadership and vision.
"Governor Perry needs to go," she said. "The people of Texas deserve and demand better service, and had the Governor had a plan to address this issue, the unnecessary deaths would have been avoided. The challenges we faced in this recent evacuation could not be handled with TTC so, Governor Perry, bring it on! Let's do something for Texans now that benefit all Texans and not the foreign investors," she stated to a rousing applause.
In addressing other issues affecting the state - education finances, children's health insurance, etc., Strayhorn, a fiscal conservative, stated that she sent a spending plan on the budget surplus to Governor Perry to ease the burden on the citizen's, "however, Governor Perry would rather call fruitless and more expensive special sessions to address other issues not relevant to the citizens. We have a responsibility to help the poor and to educate our children." Strayhorn stated that she was challenging the governor because "I want to bring leadership back to the office of the governor and make it one the citizens of Texas can be proud of."
State Rep. Glenn Hegar also addressed the high-spirited audience and received a rousing welcome. Since Hegar attended the CBWC meeting Sept. 15, he stated that he was there to show his support and "to let the audience know, that he and other members are doing their best to fight the proposed I-69 Trans Texas Corridor in its current form." Hegar further stated, "The TTC is a passionate project of Governor Rick Perry, but the State of Texas has no money for this enormous project. Governor Perry believes that the project can and will attract business ventures and thereby making the project seemingly more viable."
Linda Stall, who help found CorridorWatch with her husband David, also congratulated the CBWC on its efforts. For more than two years, CorridorWatch has been following the progress of the project and has built up the largest protest to date.
The interim president of the CBWC is Karen Hansen, one of the original organizers for the group which formed in opposition to a onetime proposed airport in Waller County.
Hansen presented Strayhorn with a Hempstead watermelon and expressed her thanks to all the speakers and the audience for coming. She also encouraged the audience to donate funds to continue the fight against the TCC. Strayhorn stayed around for pictures and small chat with the constituents.
For further information on the organization, check its website at www.wallercountycitizens.org, or call (936) 857-3775. Citizens are urged to attend governmental meetings in their areas and ask the officials to take a position on the corridor. They are also requesting citizens sign targeted petitions, send in comments and spread the word about the proposed corridor. Citizens should also get their public comments on the Interstate 69/Trans-Texas Corridor through the website at www.keeptexasmoving.org; via mail at P.O. Box 14428, Austin, TX 78761; or toll-free at (866) 554-6989.
©Houston Community Newspapers Online 2005: