Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Texas Reps claim they "have been trying to stop the TTC (in its current form)"

Area reps voice opinion over TTC


By: TRACY DANG, Managing Editor
The Sealy News
Copyright 2006

With rising concerns about the proposed Interstate 69/Trans-Texas Corridor, state legislators from the area said they will continue to fight for the best interest of their constituents.

District 13 Rep. Lois Kolkhorst said she fought against the Trans-Texas Corridor during the 79th Legislative Session and will continue to do so in the upcoming session.

"No doubt, I have been trying to stop the corridor (in its current form)," Kolkhorst said. "My concern is that we're going about it in a manner that is not good for Texas. I am not against new highways because we obviously have a growing population, but we need to be good land stewards and have a more conservative approach that would be better for Texas."

Kolkhorst authored HB 1273, which was passed during the 79th Legislative Session, reducing TTC from 1,200 feet to 800 feet.

The bill also required on and off access ramps to every FM road and interstate highway and allowed hotels, restaurants and other companies to build along the feeder road. In addition, the bill prohibited the use of a non-complete clause and required the approval of any tolling.

"Basically, we were trying to make the Trans-Texas Corridor more like regular interstate style," Kolkhorst said.

Kolkhorst also added an amendment to HB 2707, authored by Rep. Mike Krusee, which was a large agency bill for transportation in Texas. The amendment allowed local and county governments to have a voice in what is going on in their area.

"HB 2707 did get some victory but not enough to make more Texans more comfortable," Kolkhorst said. "If we need to build new highways, we need to make it in the style of our interstates and look at the financial impact on the rural area. My goal is to have us revisit what the Trans-Texas Corridor is."

Glenn Hegar served as State Representative of District 28, which includes Waller County, Wharton County and part of Fort Bend County, during the 79th Legislative Session and is replacing Ken Armbrister as Senator of District 18 during the upcoming legislative session.

"In the last legislative session, any and every change that occurred was a result of myself and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst," Hegar said. "My personal opinion is we don't need an addition 1,200 feet of road with high-speed trains, power lines, etc.

"Who in Sealy and Bellville is going to drive to Katy to get on a train to get to Austin? It works on east or west coast, but here in Texas, things are so spread out, it just doesn't make sense."

Hegar said the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) evaluate how much of a benefit the Trans-Texas Corridor will create and look at whether it is worth hurting the rural communities.

"At the end of the day, you have to look at the traffic and see if it justifies the road. TxDOT needs to look at it in the local area and ask if it is needed, and typically, the answer is going to be no. If you want to look at 50 years down the road, that's fine. If you want to look at it today, that's okay too. But you have to look at reality."

Both legislators welcome comments from citizens in their constituents. Kolkhorst can be contact at P.O. Box 1867, Brenham, TX 77834, and Hegar can be contact at P.O. Box 1008, Katy, TX 77492.

You may contact Tracy at editor@sealynews.com or (979) 885-3562.

© 2006 Sealy Publications, Inc.: www.sealynews.com