Senate Hearing: "The first time our state government has asked for input on the Trans-Texas Corridor with the express purpose of actually listening."
By ANDY HOGUE
Gainesville Daily Register
AUSTIN — A public hearing at the Texas Capitol is scheduled for March 1 regarding the Trans-Texas Corridor and other transportation issues.
Anti-toll road activists are calling the hearing “the next big step” in their fight to stop the corridor from being built.
According to a press release from CorridorWatch, an organization which opposes the proposed multi-lane, limited access toll road network, the hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. March 1 (a Thursday) at the Capitol Extension Auditorium in Austin.
The hearing is regarding public policy for toll toads, public-private partnerships and the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) according to the release.
An aide in the Senate Transportation Committee verified there was a transportation hearing set for March 1 but had no other information available this morning. A representative from Sen. John Carona’s office was unavailable for comment by press time.
Carona is the chairman of the scheduled hearing.
Sheila Cox, an opponent of the Trans-Texas Corridor and eastern Cooke County resident, said she would not be attending.
“It’s not the best week for us to be away but I think it’s a great effort being put forth,” Cox said. “I think there will be great turnout that day, though.”
“We have expended years of effort challenging the TTC and the hard work is starting to payoff,” said David Stall, of CorridorWatch in an e-mail message. “We are now getting the attention of those who can make a real change in the direction of the TTC. Now is not the time to let up.
“It is extremely important that anyone and everyone who has a concern or issue with toll roads, public private partnerships, and especially the Trans-Texas Corridor attend this public hearing and if possible offer personal testimony to the senate committee. This means you, your family, friends, neighbors and all fellow Texans.
“This hearing represents the very first time that our state government has asked for input on the Trans-Texas Corridor with the express purpose of actually listening. Please do not squander this opportunity and privilege. You can’t be heard if you don’t speak out. CorridorWatch.org calls on all members to attend this public hearing.”
Stall and his wife Linda Stall attended and spoke at many anti-TTC meetings across Texas earlier this year. Two of those meetings held in nearby Woodbine were among the largest in the state with attendance reaching the thousands. The Woodbine meeting, held at the school cafeteria, opposed TTC-35, the arm of the toll road which would be built from Laredo to Gainesville. Early “preferred routes” show the road going through southeastern Cooke County while other, later plans show two routes converging in north Valley View.
David Stall said CorridorWatch has active members in 199 Texas counties, including Cooke.
He requested those against the TTC to show up outside the Capitol Extension at 8 a.m. the day of the hearing and receive a “No TTC” lapel sticker and further instruction on how to proceed.
“We need your support,” Stall said. “Sen. Carona shares many of our concerns, but other members of his committee, like former Transportation Commissioner Sen. Robert Nichols, will need some strong convincing.”
Not everyone will be requested to speak at the hearing — David Stall said gathering a large crowd is equally important.
Stall will also help those interested to find their respective state senators and representatives.
He requests that those interested in opposing the TTC send fax messages to Carona’s office at 1(512)463-0097 expressing concerns. Letters may be mailed to: The Honorable John Carona, P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711-2068.
Stall is requesting anti-TTC activists unable to attend the hearing call Carona’s office at 1(512)463-0116 on Feb. 26, 27 or 28 and briefly express their opinions.
Corridor Watch may be contacted at 1(512)585-3110 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Net:
A searchable directory of Texas senators and representatives may be viewed at www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/mnuAddress.aspx
Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at email@example.com
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