Wednesday, October 19, 2005

" There may not be enough voices crying in the wilderness to fend off the corridor."

Voice in the Wilderness

By Dave Lewis

Managing Editor
The Navasota Examiner
Copyright 2005

Voters don't normally pay much attention to constitutional amendments that show up on the November ballots in Texas unless the amendments look like they might directly impact them.

There are nine proposed amendments on the Nov. 8 special election ballot, and probably the hottest one is Proposition 2. It would amend the state constitution to prohibit recognizing as legal marriage between anyone except a man and a woman. In short, Texas wouldn't recognize same sex marriages, even if performed in another state where they are legal and the people involved move here.

Not so politically charged - but certainly closer to home - are a couple of other amendments that look as if they are directly hooked to building the I-69 TransTexas Corridor, which most folks in Grimes County vocally oppose.

Proposition 1, if passed, would let the state use tax money to relocate, expand or improve private and public passenger and rail facilities and build overpasses and underpasses. If memory serves, one of the items being touted by TransTexas Corridor supporters is making room for railroad lines.

Just down the list is Proposition 5, which would allow the state legislature to set maximum rates for commercial loans. Those loans would apply to agriculture, business, investment commercial or similar purposes. It would appear TransTexas Corridor plans include all of those except agriculture.

Proposition 9, if approved, would allow the state legislature to award six-year terms for board members serving on regional mobility authorities. The buzz words here are "regional mobility authorities." It is safe to say, some regional mobility authority would have a lot to do with the TransTexas Corridor.

Opponents of the TransTexas Corridor loudly proclaim it is Gov. Rick Perry's baby, but we all know that Texas governors - whoever they are - don't have nearly as much power as those of other states. I'm not a really big Rick Perry fan, but he didn't put these amendments on the ballot. They were placed there by members of the Texas House and Senate. I rather doubt the governor held a gun to anyone's head.

Truth of the matter is, Texas doesn't have as many rural voices in Austin as it once did, although most of Texas is still wide open space. The voices in Austin now, at least in the house, come from elected officials who represent large populations who demand more and more goods. Texas will need more and more highways to supply those populations with the goods they demand, but a highway to connect - and to benefit - Mexico and Canada will likely hurt more Texans in the long run than it will help.

At least, with the propositions now on the ballot, voters are being given a voice, but there may not be enough voices crying in the wilderness to fend off the corridor.

Copyright © 2005 The Navasota Examiner.