“We believe this corridor concept should be scrapped and future highway planning be given serious oversight by the legislature.”
AUSTIN — The Texas Farm Bureau opposes the Trans-Texas Corridor, and the organization is making its views known before the legislature.
Testifying recently before the state Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security, Nacogdoches County cow-calf producer and timber owner Albert Thompson told the committee that Texas Farm Bureau county leaders across the state have studied the proposed massive transportation project over the last two years. In addition, he said agricultural producers have attended public meetings held throughout Texas to gain a better understanding of the issue.
“They concluded that Texas Farm Bureau should oppose the Trans-Texas Corridor because the corridor would limit landowner access to private property and it will have a major impact on taking of private property for both the corridor and mitigation requirements,” Thompson said.
Further, he added, “eminent domain would be used to condemn property for private business, and most rural communities will not benefit from its construction and, in fact, will likely be negatively impacted.”
Another reason for the Farm Bureau members’ opposition to the project is the loss of tax base to rural schools and counties. According to the proposed plan, rights-of-way will not be taxed and neither will the structures of any private businesses located on the right-of-way.
The Martinsville producer and member of the Texas Farm Bureau board of directors emphasized that the lack of access due to the division of family farms and ranches is a major reason for the organization’s opposition to the corridor.
“As proposed, the Trans-Texas Corridor provides for rights-of-way through rural Texas of up to 1200 feet. If considered as acreage, it amounts to 146 acres per road mile. Furthermore, the corridor will negatively affect wildlife and hunting in many areas of the state in which hunting has become a major part of farm and ranch income. We believe the impact will be devastating to the agricultural industry and to rural communities,” Thompson testified.
The Farm Bureau leader told the committee that the first option for new road and highway construction should be to use current rights-of-way instead of purchasing additional property. If new land is needed, at a minimum, landowners must have reasonable access to their property in situations where farms and ranches have been divided, he said.
“Imagine the challenge of moving cattle, tractors or combines 20 or 30 miles simply to reach property that may be just across the corridor. I cannot stress to you the loss of production time this would create, and the additional strain on county and state roads by moving this equipment.
“We believe this corridor concept should be scrapped and future highway planning be given serious oversight by the legislature,” Thompson concluded.
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