Friday, September 02, 2005

"We don't have to sit back and let the road's backers run over us with this pork barrel expressway. "

Letter to the Editor: Looking for a home


The Navasota Examiner
Copyright 2005

The Trans-Texas Corridor is a huge project looking for a home. We've seen some impressive maps and speculative future projections and equally speculative benefits. One thing we haven't seen so far from TxDOT or anyone else is how much it will cost. That is the project's greatest weakness and a weakness that can be exploited.

I've talked to several folks about the impact of this monster road and several have shrugged their shoulders, saying the one thing proponents of this road want to hear: "The government always wins." Big projects have risen and fallen in the past, defeated by taxpayers who were willing to stand up and say no. It can be done. It has been done.

Such a project was the Trinity River Barge Canal Project in 1972, backed by local politicians and other ambitious folks wanting to convert the Trinity into a barge canal from Dallas to the Gulf Coast.

When I asked the TRA chairperson how much it would cost, the exact words were, "Well, let's not put the cart before the horse." Apparently this reasoning did not impress taxpayers, and the project quietly dried up and went away, fortunately for Huntsville and other communities.

The Trinity now supplies 70 percent of Huntsville's drinking water, only 30 percent coming from wells.

Again we are faced with a money and land gobbling project, backed by powerful big shots, that has great potential for becoming an enormous tax burden at a time when many baby boomers are going into retirement.

We don't have to sit back and let the road's backers run over us with this pork barrel expressway. We can write or call our congressmen and let them know we don't want to pay for it. They know for every unhappy taxpayer and voter who does complain, there are many more who don't but who may vote accordingly.

We can write editorials, talk to friends, neighbors, spread the word. There are still people in our area who don't know about this TxDOT plan.

The project has not yet been approved. It's time to speak out.

Regina Levoy,


Copyright © 2005 The Navasota Examiner. All rights reserved:


Thursday, September 01, 2005

House Bill 2702 does little to "win back the confidence of Texas citizens."

How confident are you, really?

The Cameron Herald
Copyright 2005

Even before the US supreme court 'legislated' their opinion that our constitution allows government entities to take property from one citizen and profit on the 'exchange' of that property to another private individual or group, our own Texas leaders (some elected and many non-elected-TxDOT personnel) have been working overtime to assure that toll roads and the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) are forced on Texans before too many of us become aware, stand up, and protest.

Probably due to many groups protesting the TTC and toll projects allowed by law in 2003 with HB 3388, our Texas leaders came up with HB 2702 to...'win back the confidence of Texas citizens', according to one member of the Texas house transportation committee. I have read this bill, 2702 (something many representatives admitted that they did not do before or after voting for it).

See if you feel more confident in our 'leaders' after you read a few excerpts from this new law.

According to several points in the legislation, TxDOT can take your property, even if not used for a transportation project, and then sell or lease or trade it to someone else for any use. Just read Ch. 203 section 2.31, 227.041; Section 2.10, 203.052(b), Section 2.28, 227.028(a); Section 201.604 and 203.021. These sections clearly allow TxDOT to take your land.

Other sections give the department of transportation (an un-elected government agency) powers to order the tolling of non-tolled state highways or a segment of them with very little local input. TxDOT can lease or sell all or part of railroad right-of-way for any purpose, again allowing competition to the local area economy.

Imagine some "big money" eyeing your property for a future business of some sort. With another 2005 new law, HB1546, our department of transportation seems able to take your property under the guise of possible use for a transportation purpose, then not use it, and end up selling it to someone able to pay high bucks for it.

This does not seem related to the traffic safety or congestion on I-35, which, according to TxDOT, is the primary purpose of the Trans Texas Corridor and the multitude of new toll roads proposed for Texas.

Do you feel more confident in your Texas 'leaders' now?

Margaret Green


The Cameron Herald:


Texas Land Board bows down to Wal Mart in land lease scheme

State adds giant warehouses to real estate holdings

Wal-Mart will lease back bulk-storage center it built near Baytown, putting $338 million into public school fund over 30 years.

September 01, 2005
By Mike Ward
Austin American Statesman
Copyright 2005

State officials on Wednesday announced the purchase of a $100 million Wal-Mart bulk-storage center near Baytown, the largest real estate investment yet in a strategy they called the future for Texas school funding.

"This is a historic deal for Texas schools," Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said. "This is the equivalent of a moon landing for the School Land Board . . . the most significant, most secure investment with the best return in the history of the Land Office."

Over 30 years, he projected, the investment will earn $338 million for the Permanent School Fund, the multibillion-dollar fund that is used to finance public schools in Texas. It will also create 1,900 new jobs with an estimated payroll of $66 million.

General Land Office officials had first announced the deal in February 2004. Wednesday's numbers were larger.

Under the details made public Wednesday, the School Land Board — of which Patterson is chairman — bought a pair of gargantuan warehouses just completed by Wal-Mart Stores East LLP on a 474-acre site southeast of Baytown off Galveston and Trinity bays.

In all, the two warehouses include 4 million square feet of warehouse space, about 83 football fields in size.

Wal-Mart has leased the space back from the state. The company will make lease payments that, over the 30-year term of the agreement, will total more than $238 million.

After two years or through the end of the lease, Patterson said, Wal-Mart has the option of buying the warehouses back, for $100 million or the "current market price, whichever is greater."

"Our rate of return on this deal will be far better than we would get if we invested the money," Patterson said. "It's a true win, win, win situation . . . We consider this the flagship of our future efforts in the real estate area for the school fund."

For years, the school fund relied solely on oil and gas production on state lands for its income. Two years ago, faced with a shrinking petroleum economy, lawmakers gave the Land Office authority to get into real estate.

Since then, officials said several smaller deals have been closed involving investments in a sprawling ranch near College Station, which is leased to the prison system, and an industrial plant in Sherman, which is leased to a corporation much as in the Wal-Mart deal.

When the Arkansas-based retailer, the world's largest company, began searching for a new bulk-distribution site, Chambers County and state officials offered the site, just 14 miles from the Port of Houston, with rail and close highway access, Patterson said. He said Texas was able to win the facility over New Orleans and perhaps other locales with the purchase-lease option, attractive to Wal-Mart because it could provide them tax and other savings.

Patterson said that when the distribution center is in full operation, Wal-Mart will pay about $5.8 million annually in taxes to local governments, with about $4 million of that going to the local school district. It will save Wal-Mart about $2.8 million a year in property taxes, he said.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Bisiosaid Wal-Mart's regional distribution centers will be serviced from the site.

"We feel the deal benefits both sides," he said, noting that one benefit to Wal-Mart is that the company does not have to make a $100 million initial capital outlay for a new facility since the state is buying it.

Phil Wilson, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Rick Perry, whose office was involved in the securing the deal, said the deal highlights another option for economic development enticements in Texas.

"It's a nice investment, a nice return for the state and it create a whole bunch of jobs," Wilson said. "That's a good deal."

Patterson said the center will serve as a bulk-storage point for Wal-Mart's operations in the central United States, the point from which consumer goods will arrive from overseas for sorting and shipping to Wal-Mart distribution centers. That bulk transfer work is now done mostly at Wal-Mart's Long Beach, Calif., bulk center, he said.

"Historically, royalties from oil and gas helped the state pay for public education, but we can't rely on oil and gas forever," Patterson said. "Last year, we earned about $48 million from land transactions, an increase of almost 3,000 percent. I expect to earn even more in the future."

Austin American-Statesman:


Opposition to TTC-69 is building

For more articles on TTC-69 click [Here] and [Here]

TxDOT still accepting comments on I-69 corridor


By:Frederick Roberts and Billy Dragoo
Waller County News Citizen
Copyright 2005

WALLER COUNTY - Opponents of the I-69/Trans Texas Corridor have been frantically trying to get an extension of the Aug. 29 deadline for comments on the proposed super highway, and according to the Texas Department of Transportation, comments will continue to be accepted. The Aug. 29 deadline was for comments on the public meetings held July 28 in Hempstead and on other dates in number of counties, according to a TxDOT spokesperson.

According to information provided Wednesday by the TxDOT Public Information Office, comments can be submitted at any time. The TxDot press release said, "First and foremost, TxDOT is encouraging anyone who has public comments on the Interstate 69/Trans-Texas Corridor study to submit those anytime. All comments are valuable to identifying the best transportation solution for the state. Any comment submitted today, tomorrow, or next month is considered equally with comments submitted during the last series of public meetings for the I-69/TTC study.

"TxDOT is required by the Federal Highway Administration to set a deadline for the submission of comments that come in directly as a result of the public meeting. However, comments can still be submitted and will be included and addressed in the final environmental impact statement.

"We understand from Rep. Glenn Hegar that there is some confusion among people in Waller County about the public comment period and we appreciate his bringing this to our attention.

"Public comments can be submitted through the website at; via mail at P.O. Box 14428, Austin, TX 78761; and toll-free at 866-554-6989."

Opposition to the proposed I-69 Trans Texas Corridor, which will divide Waller County in half and disrupt families, properties and the quality of life is gaining momentum.

For more than two months, the Citizens for a Better Waller County group has been addressing the issue and its impact on the community. Evidence of the group's support became more visible on Aug. 24 when more than 500 persons attended the group's meeting at the Waller County Annex in Hempstead, forcing the meeting to be held outside on the grounds.

The purpose of the meeting was to inform the community of the proposed corridor, to muster support for the petition against the corridor and to get citizens to send comments to TxDOT.

The CABWC's effort did not go unnoticed by county officials, who were at the meeting to address the capacity crowd.

Attending the meeting were Commissioners William Eplen and Milton Whiting, along with County Judge Owen Ralston, who all expressed their opposition to the proposed project.

CBWC will hold meetings at 7 p.m. today, Thursday, Sept. 1, and Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Hempstead High School Auditorium. Anyone wanting to learn about the Trans Texas Corridor can attend and can also volunteer to help in the opposition.

Gubernatorial candidate and state Comptroller Carol Keeton Strayhorn and other officials are scheduled to speak at a special rally at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Hempstead High School football stadium.

Waller County and several surrounding counties are in the Texas Study Area for the proposed 1-69/Trans-Texas Corridor.

The I-69/TTC will extend from Texarkana, Texas and southwest of Shreveport, La. to Laredo and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Planners say the TTC, the largest engineering project ever proposed for Texas, will allow for much faster and safer transportation of people and goods and will relieve congested roadways.

It will keep hazardous materials out of populated areas and will reduce emmissions and provide a safer, more reliable utility transmission system.

The plans call for a network of corridors up to 1,200 feet wide. The corridor will include separate tollways for passenger vehicles and trucks and includes six rail lines (three in each direction) with two tracks for high speed passenger rail, two for community rail and two for freight. The third component will be a protected network of safe and reliable utility lines for water, petroleum, natural gas, electricity and data.

According to information provided by Citizens for a Better Waller County, the corridor will take about 146 acres of land for every mile of corridor and the state will use "eminent domain to acquire the property."

Information provided by CBWC says the proposed corridor is different from the interstate system of highways. The group said, "The right of way for the TTC will be like putting three interstate roads with right of ways side by side. The TTC will have limited on and off access ramps, only at US Highways and interstates. County roads and farm to market roads will not have access. unpaved roads will be abonded.

It will be designed for long distance traveling and will not be intended to address local traffic needs. It will intentionally bypass urban areas. Motels, gasoline stations and other concessions will be built and operated by the private tollroad operator within the corridor. Motorists will be discouraged from leaving the corridor because they will have to pay a new toll."

The CBWC asks what will the I-69 link do to Waller County? and says, "It will run 35 miles north to south, fracturing the county in two. It will take more than 5,000 acres away from private property owners and put it in the state's hands. It will remove 5,000 acres from county and school tax rolls. It will expose Waller County residents to increased pollution and to hazardous cargoes."

The CBWC in its bi-weekly meeting on August 25 heard comments from the membership and a few persons attending the meetings for the first time. Municipal Judge Rich Carrier, a resident of Hempstead, informed the audience of his participation in the effort to stop the corridor also. He informed them on his meetings with Wharton County officials and what is being done there in opposition of the project.

Attorney Sylvia Cedillo, chair of the group's legal committee, shared a copy of a resolution adopted by the Hempstead Independent School District voicing opposition also.

Carrier and other officials have contacted District 18 State Rep. Glenn Hegar and CBWC encourages citizens to contact Hegar at (800) 621-7980 or email to

Carrier said Wednesday Hegar is concerned about the situation and had asked for a meeting Wednesday afternoon with Carrier and CBWC President Marty Ogg.

Persons interested in working with the various CBWC committees - Research, Legal, Funding, Calendar, Newsletter and Education - can log onto the group's website at

Comments should be sent to: Ed Pensock Jr., P.E., Director of Corridor Systems, Texas Department of Transportation, P. O. Box 14428, in Austin, Texas 78761.

©Houston Community Newspapers Online 2005 :


"Some are pleased with the measure but wanted a constitutional amendment instead of a law to avoid any loopholes."

Governor signs law limiting power to seize property

August 31, 2005

By Abe Levy, Associated Press Writer

SAN ANTONIO --In a move designed to strengthen private property rights, Gov. Rick Perry signed into law Wednesday a bill that limits state and local governments from seizing land for economic development.

Perry added the eminent domain issue to the agenda of the two summer special sessions on school finance. It was approved by the House and Senate and sent to the governor for his consideration in August.

"Today we are protecting Texans' dreams and upholding the strong tradition of private property rights," Perry said before a small gathering of reporters and employees at Columbia Industries in San Antonio.

Joining Perry at the signing were House Reps. Frank J. Corte Jr. and Joe Straus, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, and Columbia Industries chairman Ron Herrmann.

"One thing Texans understand is government shouldn't take away their private property," Corte said.

Texas is one of at least 31 states to review eminent domain laws this summer since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that backed governments' power to take private land for economic development as a way to increase tax revenue. It's the second state to enact a law seeking to limit government power of eminent domain, according to the Institute for Justice in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, praised the law, which is similar to one he's proposed at the federal level. His bill would prohibit private property seizures for economic development if federal funds were used.

"Momentum continues to grow in Congress to pass legislation to protect homes, small businesses, and other private property against unreasonable government use of the power of eminent domain," Cornyn said in a prepared statement.

The Constitution allows governments to force the sale of private property in exchange for just compensation when a public use is determined.

Such powers typically have been used to build public infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, generally considered vital to a community's growth. However, court rulings over the years have widened the scope to include revitalization of deteriorated neighborhoods.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that New London, Conn., could take homes for a private development project. But the ruling also allowed states to ban that practice.

While Perry cited bipartisan support in passing the law, it is not without critics. Some are pleased with the measure but wanted a constitutional amendment instead of a law to avoid any loopholes.

Sports stadiums, such as the planned Dallas Cowboy stadium in Arlington, would be permitted under the new law despite homeowner objections that they are being displaced for economic benefit, not public use.

Perry said such large-scale stadiums benefit the overall public. He added that public input in decision-making is required before such structures can be built.

© Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The Associated Press:


Perry: "There is no bigger supporter of eminent domain than I am."

Governor signs off on property shield


Lisa Marie Gómez, Staff Writer
San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2005

With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Rick Perry signed an eminent domain bill into law Wednesday that will prohibit the government from seizing land strictly for commercial purposes.

Perry signed the bill in San Antonio at Columbia 300, a bowling ball manufacturing company on West Avenue, and said the bill will help protect 98 percent of Texas land considered to be private property.

"There is no bigger supporter of eminent domain than I am," he told the media and plant workers. "The message here today is that the ends doesn't necessarily justify the means."

Perry added Senate Bill 7 to a special-session agenda after the U.S. Supreme Court in June issued a ruling allowing the city of New London, Conn., to seize private homes so that a private developer could build a biomedical research facility.

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a Republican running for governor in 2006, criticized Perry's support of the bill calling him a "hypocrite" and a "flip-flopper."

Strayhorn's campaign said Perry signed a bill giving a North Texas water district the power to condemn private party for economic development purposes just five days before the Supreme Court ruling.

A Perry spokesman said the governor was too focused on Hurricane Katrina assistance to respond to Strayhorn's "shrill political attack."

San Antonio Express-News:


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Macquarie Infrastructure Group snaps up third US toll road.

MIG buys New Jersey toll road

August 31, 2005

By Scott Rochfort
The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Copyright 2005

Macquarie Infrastructure Group has snapped up its third US toll road and indicated it was considering a $US20 billion-plus ($26.6 billion) privatisation of two toll roads in New Jersey.

After weeks of speculation, MIG announced it had agreed to buy an 86.7 per cent stake in the 22-kilometre Dulles Greenway outside Washington DC for $US533 million.

Spruiking the road's high projected traffic growth population and ability to raise tolls from the present $US2.40 to $US3 by mid-2007, MIG chief executive Stephen Allen dubbed the road as a "high quality growth asset".

But with Macquarie Bank scouring the US for infrastructure investments, Mr Allen said he was directing its attention to the possible rush of toll-road privatisations across the US.

"Given how active the toll market is, I'm directing a lot of their focus. There are lots of opportunities that we're following," he said. With Virginia leading the way in selling off its toll-roads, MIG is considering one toll road in Texas and is said to be looking at roads from New York to Oregon.

Mr Allen said MIG was monitoring the New Jersey Government's plans to possibly sell the 190km New Jersey Turnpike and the 270km Garden State Parkway. It is speculated both roads could fetch about $US20 billion.

"They would be among the biggest privatisations that could happen in the US. They are very big. Who knows what could happen."

He said size was not a factor. "The approach we have today is that MIG has grown. We need to make bigger investments because people sort of say to me, 'If you don't make a reasonable sized investment, why bother? Why not save your firepower for the bigger ones'.

"If a deal came up and the size was going too be big we'd put a consortium together. Of course, the attractive thing about a big deal is that there are fewer people who can participate in it."

Mr Allen also played down concerns rising oil prices could affect the number of cars on the road and people using toll roads.

"Fundamentally, all the research I've seen on it tells me that you would need a very, very significant rise in oil prices before you would see any noticeable difference in people's driving behaviours," he said.

One factor in MIG's favour was a lot of its roads were based in areas where the "urban planning model" favoured car usage, instead of public transport.

Mr Allen said he was more concerned about the affect of oil prices on the economy, which could hit the number of truck trips and, to a lesser extent, car trips.

MIG shares were placed on a trading halt yesterday after the company appointed Macquarie Bank and Credit Suisse First Boston to undertake a domestic and international book-build with a minimum price of $3.77 a share. MIG hopes to raise $675 million.

The Sydney Morning Herald:


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Change orders for SH-130 have increased the cost by $52.5 million.

LSI identifies new toll-road crossings


By Kurt Johnson
Taylor Daily Press
Copyright 2005

Additional details regarding the construction of SH-130, the new toll road that will cross Williamson and Travis Counties, have been announced.

Lone Star Infrastructure (LSI), the consortium of contractors building the project, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), have identified the status of the roads that will cross the northern half of the toll road.

According to a report issued by LSI last week, Segment 2, which runs from just north of US 79 north of Hutto to just south of US 290 east of Austin, will be the first segment to be completed by the fall of 2007.

Three of the crossings in Segment 2 are scheduled to be "highway interchanges," which are defined as "the convergence of two or more major roadways" in which there can be "multiple access options for frontage roads and mainlanes in all directions." The crossings in that category will be at US 79 just west of Hutto, SH 45 North about halfway between Hutto and Pflugerville, and US 290.

Seven crossings in Segment 2 are scheduled to be "major intersections," which are defined as providing "access to SH 130 in at least one direction via frontage roads and ramps."

These crossings are at FM 685 (twice), CR 138/Gattis School Road, Kelly Lane/Wilke Lane, Pfluger Lane, Pecan Street (Pflugerville), Cameron Road and Parmer Lane.

The kinds of intersections constructed at Wells Branch and Howard Lane haven't been determined, and the Gregg Manor Road intersection is in a category titled "frontage road access only," described as roadways that do not cross SH-130 but instead route traffic "onto the SH-130 frontage roads to another intersection with greater access options."

Nine crossings are scheduled for Segment 1, which runs from the SH 195 interchange north of Georgetown to north of US 79.

Highway Interchanges in this section will be at SH 195/I-35 and SH 29 east of Georgetown. Major Intersections are scheduled for crossings with FM 971, CR 104 and CR 109.

Three roadways in Segment 1 will cross under SH-130 but won't have access to the toll road. Those roadways are CR 152, CR 105 and CR 118.

The kind of interchange to be constructed at the future Chandler Road intersection hasn't been determined. The section of Chandler Road that crosses SH-130 about three miles north of US 79 is scheduled to be completed by late 2006 or early 2007.

The entire, seven-segment length of SH-130 totals about 49 miles and runs from north of Georgetown to Mustang Ridge between Austin and San Marcos and is now estimated to cost just more than $1.3 billion.

As of June 30, about 41 percent of the total budget had been spent, according to LSI.

Change orders to the original estimate have increased the cost by $52.5 million.

San Antonio Express-News:


"Plenty of posturing."

Commissioners reaffirm stance on toll roads


Patrick Driscoll, Staff Writer
San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2005

As the smoke cleared today from the latest salvo against toll-road plans in San Antonio, Bexar County commissioners ended up asking road planners to jump through a paper hoop.

Commissioners passed a resolution that asks the Texas Department of Transportation and the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority to certify what those agencies have already been saying – that state laws and county policies are being followed.

“That's what our mission is,” Julia Brown, TxDOT’s deputy engineer in San Antonio, told commissioners.

But there was plenty of posturing.

Commissioner Lyle Larson got his licks in about state officials abdicating their responsibilities by forcing toll roads onto local communities, and County Judge Nelson Wolff got a chance to bemoan how tolling is the best of several bad options to raise needed highway funds.

“That was a good, healthy discussion,” Wolff said.

Commissioner Tommy Adkisson threw the first stone by presenting a resolution that said TxDOT has proposed converting U.S. 281 north of Loop 1604 into a tollway.

The resolution pointed out that state law says the Commissioners Court must approve such an action and that commissioners passed a resolution in 2003 to oppose conversions.

But what exactly is a conversion?

TxDOT officials say that if a highway is designated as a toll road after construction starts, then it's a conversion. But work on the U.S. 281 toll lanes is set to begin early next year, they say, and the existing highway lanes would remain free.

Toll opponents say that's a crock.

The existing U.S. 281 lanes would actually cease to exist and be replaced with frontage roads, say members of San Antonio Toll Party. As a result, posted speed limits would drop from about 65 mph to 45 mph and more traffic signals could be added – hardly a comparison, they say.

Brown said there are three sets of traffic signals on U.S. 281 from Loop 1604 to Stone Oak Parkway and that overpasses will bypass one of them when the frontage roads are built.

TxDOT plans call for express toll lanes on U.S. 281 to eventually extend to Comal County.

Wolff, who says the court's 2003 resolution acknowledges that U.S. 281 toll plans wouldn't convert anything, offered a kinder, gentler proposal today that asks planners to simply certify that laws and the county's stance are being followed.

Commissioners went along.

“That's fine. I'm very open,” Adkisson said.

Adkisson explained that he's not really against toll roads – he just doesn't want to be bowled over by TxDOT.
San Antonio Express-News:


Monday, August 29, 2005

"The TTC will be a disaster for us and Austin does not care."

Oppose corridor in Wharton County

August 29, 2005

Editor, the Advocate: Why Wharton County folks need to speak up now regarding the Trans-Texas Corridor:

Millions of our tax dollars are being spent now to fund a traveling menagerie of consultants and engineers who are crisscrossing the state to sell the TTC propaganda to the people. Plans are moving forward, and the Wharton County section of the TTC is in the "environmental study" phase.

If the "study area" that parallels U.S. Highway 59 is chosen as the TTC path between Wharton and El Campo, most of the farms north of U.S. 59 will be wiped out when the land is taken for the TTC. Larger farms will be split in half by the 1,200-foot corridor, and farmers might have to go for miles to find a crossing to get to the other half of their farm.

Since the TTC will be elevated so it will not flood, where will all that displaced water go? Yes, it will flood more of Wharton County than has ever been flooded before.

The state is taking our land to generate income, leasing it to private interests, and then they will turn around and boast how they did not raise taxes.

There will be limited access, at least one exit/entrance every 20 miles. That would probably mean one exit for Wharton and one for El Campo. We proud citizens of the Pierce area can forget it. Additionally, with food and gas being sold at TTC service centers, local businesses can forget it as well.

For those of you who live near U.S. 59 now and live with the traffic noise, imagine living next to this thing.

You can go online to www.keeptexas and submit your comments there. Today is the deadline. Also copy your comments to Glen Hegar and Kenneth Armbrister. Get more facts at web sites such as and www.transtexascorridor.blogspot. com.

In the next election, identify candidates, including those for governor, who are against this concept and vote for them. Don't vote along party lines, but vote for what is right for your family, your family land and your local business.

We have a good highway now, U.S. 59, that simply needs to be upgraded and given Interstate status.

The TTC will be a disaster for us as individuals, and Austin does not care.


The Victoria Advocate: