Sunday, February 11, 2007

"One of the chief complaints from critics is that lawmakers and taxpayers weren't really consulted on the project."

Trans Texas Corridor Special Series Part 2

Feb 10, 2007

KCEN-TV Channel 6 (Waco, Temple, Killeen)

With a major interstate running right through our area traffic is a common topic for Central Texans.

How do we solve the problem of more traffic on i-35? Is the Trans Texas Corridor a realistic solution and do we even need it?

In part two of our Trans Texas Corridor series we look at the project from a needs angle.

There are basically two sides to the Trans Texas Corridor project, those for it and those against.

One thing both sides gree on is that something needs to be done.

There are twenty one million Texas residents. 45 percent of those live within 50 miles of I-35.

That means on any given day you'll hit a traffic jam on I-35 in the greater Waco area.

TexDot Executive Director Michael Behrens knows the stats all too well.

Behrens said, "When you look at traffic in the Waco area its probably at 80 thousand vehicles a day."

Those rates are expected to double in the next 25 years. At most I-35 only extends to three lanes in some areas of Central Texas.

An accident can cause delays for hours. TexDot says the proposed TTC-35 project would help take away traffic on I-35 by providing another parrallel interstate.It would have six lanes each way.

But, those who oppose TTC-35 supporters are not impressed with the proposal and point to how long it would take to complete.

Linda Stall from Corridor Watch said, "This is a huge project. 184 billion dollars, it's a 50 year agreement, 50 years. That is a long time."

The 10,000 Corridor Watch members like Stall admit we need more pavement, but they don't like this project that they call uncreative. They don't like the way it was presented either.

One of the chief complaints from critics is that lawmakers and taxpayers weren't really consulted on the project. They feel like a vote should be taken.

But, like it or not, TexDot says the ball is already rolling. In fact the director of the agency says some existing toll roads in Austin like 130 may become part of TTC-35.

Behren said construction will continue on the existing I-35 for improvement but, they can only expand so far.

"We've run outtta room, we can't expand anymore because we have had a lot of things build up adjacent, said Behren."

So what will be the real impact of TTC-35 as far as economic boost and how do land owners feel? We'll talk about it next Saturday in part 3.

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