Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Perry: "Four years ago I laid out a plan and the Trans-Texas Corridor subsequently became statutorily the law of the land."

Land grab fears

January 24, 2007

By Jonathan Blundell
Waxahachie Daily Light
Copyright 2007

A recent poll posted at, shows that visitors to the site consider land acquisition as the most pressing issue needing to be addressed regarding the planned Trans-Texas Corridor.

Visitors to the site chose acquisition of property by an overwhelming 64 percent of the vote, with 14,280 votes.

The next highest vote was for connectivity to cities with only 12 percent, or 2,659 votes. The Web site is published by the Texas Department of Transportation to release information regarding the planned Trans-Texas Corridor.

The Trans-Texas Corridor is a large transportation plan envisioned by Gov. Rick Perry and TxDOT to provide high-speed lanes for personal vehicles, trucks and rail to criss-cross the state over the next 50 years. The roadways will be constructed using future tolls on the road.

The recent poll has received 22,288 total votes, making it the highest ranked poll on the site in terms of total votes.

The next highest poll on the site received 3,243 total votes.

Visitors to are allowed to vote once in the poll, which appears on the front page of the Web site.

In August 2006, Perry told the Waxahachie Daily Light that the TTC would be a multi-pronged solution to the state’s transportation needs.

“(As governor) It is a multi-pronged view that you must have,” Perry said. “There’s dealing with transportation infrastructure - which is the reason why four years ago I laid out a plan to deal with the congestion, air pollution, safety issues and the Trans-Texas Corridor subsequently became statutorily the law of the land, if you will. And now it’s being constructed.” Perry also touted the TTC as the first plan for the state’s transportation needs in the last 20 years.

“For 20 years there were people who looked at it and just scratched their heads and said, ‘Well, we’ll try to keep up and keep these roads open that we have,’” Perry said. “But there were no plans to create new infrastructure in the state. Economic growth as well as degradation of our environment and degradation of our citizen safety was about to become very pronounced in this state.”

After accepting public comments from 54 public hearings across the state last year, including two in Ellis County, TxDOT has begun the environmental impact study for the proposed north to south toll road.

And in late September, TxDOT released a plan proposing the first phase of the Trans-Texas Corridor, TTC-35.

The plan includes a connection to Interstate 35 south of San Antonio and a loop surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Pending final environmental clearance to determine the ultimate alignment of TTC-35, TxDOT has reported that construction could begin by 2011.

Under the master development plan, Cintra Zachry, a consortium led by Spanish and Texas firms, has suggested that the toll road extend south of San Antonio, connecting to I-35.

In North Texas, the toll road should connect to I-35 north of Dallas-Fort Worth and according to the plan, run all the way to Oklahoma.

Also included in the master plan is the southern section of Loop 9 around Dallas Fort Worth, a project that has been under study since the 1960s.

A definitive route between Hillsboro and Loop 9 has not been determined but early plans suggest a possible route through Ellis County, between Waxahachie and Ennis, a route through the Highway 360 corridor, or a route to the west of Johnson County.

In July, the Ellis County Commissioners joined the North Central Texas Council of Governments in support of a resolution to move the corridor from the eastern half of the county to the Highway 360 and Loop 9 corridors.

Ellis County, along with the cities of Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Dallas, Duncanville and Lancaster, have each passed resolutions recently supporting the Highway 360 alternative.

The court passed a second resolution in mid-November to encourage the Texas Legislature to re-examine the legislation surrounding the development and construction of the TTC.

The September report released by TxDOT indicates private investment could potentially be worth $8.8 billion with additional concession fees to the state for other transportation projects possibly reaching $1.9 billion.

TxDOT is currently reviewing comments and input gathered at the public hearings from last year. The comments will be addressed in a report to the Federal Highway Administration, which must give approval to the plan before plans for TTC-35 can advance to a second phase, or

Tier Two level.

Approval from the FHWA is not expected until this coming summer.

TxDOT anticipates that it could be four years before a final alignment for TTC-35 could be approved by FHWA.

E-mail Jonathan at

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