Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"Wake up Texans, before it is too late … it may be already."

TTC not going to benefit Texans


Jim Lamberth
Wilson County News
Copuright 2006

For a start, the Web site, www.keeptexasmoving.org, should be renamed www.takeovertexas.org.

The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) is not going to benefit Texas. Texans do not want or need it. It is not going to benefit Texas cities. It will cause them to die economically. I base this on history.

Years ago U.S. 181 went right through downtown Floresville. Floresville had a Mobil station, the Blue Bonnet Café, Eschenburg Hardware, Flieller Feed Store, etc. The Greyhound Bus stopped at Hilda Dunn’s Café on main street.

They started talking about a bypass highway to keep the traffic going to Corpus Christi, out of downtown.

My daddy, V.E. Lamberth, a country rancher, tried to tell them that this would cause downtown Floresville to die. The bypass was built anyway and is there today.

The old business route still goes to downtown, which struggles to survive. What happened? Commerce moved out to the bypass highway and is doing well. There are now two large shopping centers, several places to buy fuel, eat, bank, etc. on the bypass. There are even traffic lights on the bypass.

The traffic still goes right through Poth and Falls City, which seem to being doing well enough. It bypasses Karnes City and Kenedy, which seem to be suffering.

This has happened all over. Think of the small towns that have been bypassed versus those which are still on the main drag. They might not like the traffic but they like the commerce.

With the TTC, commerce cannot move out to the toll road and compete. The fences will block potential customers. The adjoining land will belong to the state. Cintra-Zachary will have captive customers on the toll road to spend their money on fuel, food, and lodging without exiting.

If drivers do exit, they will be charged to re-enter the toll road. Will Cintra-Zachary issue “get on free” passes for those who exit to visit Aunt Mary while passing by town?

I don’t understand why two people from the Greater Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio spoke in favor of the TTC at the East Central High School meeting. This won’t help the commerce of San Antonio; it will hurt it.

What will happen when wrecks, fires, and emergencies occur on the toll road? How will emergency vehicles and people enter and exit? Will there be emergency rooms, fire stations, etc. on the toll road?

Our problem is commuter traffic during rush hours. We need to spend Texas money on improving the road ways that handle our commuter traffic into and out of our cities, not build a toll road across Texas to haul foreign junk all over the United States to compete with our domestic manufacturers.

Will the toll road help our commuter traffic? No. It will make it worse for a long time. Consider U.S. 181 that brings people to San Antonio to work in the morning and takes them home in the evening from Floresville, Poth, Falls City, Karnes City, etc.

When they start construction on Loop 1604 to pass either over or under U.S. 181, it will take years to complete. The traffic will have to detour. Where? Through Hondo or Seguin?

U.S. 181 may need to be widened and/or improved in the future. No problem; the right-of-way is wide enough to do this in most places — good planning. Where will the money come from after TxDOT spends all our money buying up ranch land for the toll road?

Where will the workers come from that build these toll roads, work the toll booths, run the concessions, etc? Will they be employees of the company from Spain? Will they pay Social Security and income tax to the United States or will they be exempt?

Who will be responsible for security checks of the people that Cintra-Zachary bring in, Home Land Security?

I am glad to see that the Texas Farm Bureau is on record as being opposed to TTC. (Aug 4, 2006 Texas Agriculture)

A man told me that the Texas gas tax would probably drop after they did not need all that money for highways once the toll road is in place. Unfortunately, that line of thinking is too prevalent with many Texans until it is too late.

I could go on and on but the story would only get worse. Wake up Texans, before it is too late … it may be already.

Jim Lamberth lives in San Antonio. Contact him at mrjim@flash.net.

© 2006 The Associated Press: www.wilsoncountynews.com