Thursday, July 27, 2006

"I really don’t understand why TxDOT even bothers going through the motions of trying to make us 'little people' feel we have a voice."

In defense of the Indefensible

July 27, 2006

Larry M. Jones
Weatherford Democrat
Copyright 2006

For years David Letterman has been famous for his “Top 10” lists of singularly distinguished people, places and events. In this vein, I’ve decided to create my very own list. I hereby declare that the No. 1 Top 10 all-time worst job in America would be to work for the Texas Department of Transportation and travel across Texas conducting Trans Texas Corridor community forums. Every one and every thing has its price, but I’m not sure there’s enough money to make me prostitute myself in support of such a charade.

A week ago Thursday, representatives from TxDOT showed up at Weatherford College’s Alkek Fine Arts Center to allow the public to ask questions, comment on the draft environmental study, and submit official statements and comments regarding the development of the Trans Texas Corridor. Despite having attended one last year in Mineral Wells, I elected to waste my evening at this event. I wasn’t disappointed.

I really don’t understand why TxDOT even bothers going through the motions of trying to make us “little people” feel we have a voice in what happens to Texas. The Trans Texas Corridor appears to be a foregone conclusion that shares equal billing with death and taxes — deal with it, my friend! A contract has been signed and, one way or another, we are going to have this conduit across Texas whether we want it or not. Sam Houston is probably rolling over in his grave.

Despite being a fairly well informed citizen and tax payer, by the time I first began hearing about this “toll road from hell” fiasco, the authority for creating this monstrosity and the legislative approval had already been effected. How many people do you know who can tell you what Proposition 15, HB 3588, or HB 2702 have to say? I’ve been told these seemingly innocuous little documents give our entrusted Austin officials all the authority they need to proceed with the rape of our once sovereign republic.

Mark Twain once said, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” He may have been correct in his assessment, but he wasn’t the first to recognize this fact. When the Texas constitution was first drafted, the state leaders deliberately authorized sessions to be held every two years. No way could we endure or afford annual sessions.

The more closely I examine what few facts are actually offered on this massive toll way, the more appalled I become. Growing up down on a “hardscrabble” peanut farm and raised by honest, hard-working parents, I suppose I am a bit naive about what makes the business world click. I imagine most of the folks in the county are in much the same boat. I would expect a huge, new road system across Texas would be to assist in easing traffic flow within the state due to increased population. I must have fallen off a turnip truck!

Nowhere do you read about this Spanish operated consortium creating a conduit for tax free goods from China and other nations being funneled into the U.S. through Mexico as a result of NAFTA. Why can’t these foreign goods be shipped to U.S. ports instead of Mexican ports? Nowhere do you read about this opening up the border to unrestrained drug trafficking or illegal immigration. Why must all this commerce come through the center of Texas? Why not Arizona or New Mexico where there are wide open spaces?

Perhaps now we see the real reason for not sealing our borders. It isn’t just demand for cheap Mexican labor that creates a porous border. There are several much larger snakes under this rock.

Quite a few local citizens offered formal statements to the TxDOT delegation with regard to this transportation project. Almost without exception, each speaker opposed the project and offered a myriad of sound reasons for rejecting this boondoggle. If the project were offered to the voters of Texas for approval, I can guarantee it would be resoundingly defeated by a huge margin. Perhaps we should demand it.

During an intermission at the meeting, I directly asked the moderator for this gathering if he could tell me how this toll way would benefit me or any other resident of Parker County. He could not!

You cannot defend the indefensible.

Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to Columns submitted to The Weatherford Democrat by guest writers reflect the opinions of the writer and in no way reflect the beliefs or opinions of The Weatherford Democrat.

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