Sunday, March 25, 2007

"I didn't write it just for me. There are thousands of Texans, if not millions, who will be directly affected by the corridor."

"Howl from the Highway"

Edna man thinks Trans-Texas Corridor would ruin his home,and he wrote a song, 'That New Road,' to say exactly that

March 25, 2007

The Victoria Advocate
Copyright 2007

For the past three decades, as Jack Motley of Edna worked to perfect the land on his ranch, he did it with visions of his grandchildren playing and swinging in the oak trees. Unfortunately, those dreams were shattered when he found out that a proposed section of the Trans-Texas Corridor would cut straight through that land.

"I've spent 30 years building the land, clearing it, feathering the nest, always with the vision of my family benefiting from the land in years to come. As soon as I first heard about the corridor, those visions of my kids and grandkids swinging from the trees were replaced with ones of cars and semis rushing by," Motley, 59, said. "I was appalled, angered, hurt. I felt violated. My family has owned land in Texas before Texas was even a state and now they want to build a road right through it."

Motley isn't about to take it lying down.

He decided to voice his anger and frustration by writing a song, entitled "That New Road." The song is now being used in various television and movie projects about the corridor, Motley said.

The Trans-Texas Corridor is the largest engineering project ever proposed for Texas. Adopted by the Texas Department of Transportation, it will be a statewide network of corridors that will stretch 4,000 miles and measure up to one-fourth of a mile wide. The corridor will include toll roads for passenger vehicles and trucks, passenger bullet trains, commuter trains, high-speed freight trains, pipelines of all types, and electrical transmission towers.

"The song is about the effect the TTC would have on the land where I live, on my life, and the lives of my children. But I didn't write it just for me. There are thousands of Texans, if not millions, who will be directly affected by the corridor," said Motley, whose ranch is on the north side of the Lavaca River in Edna.

"I wrote the song because what else was I going to do? If you have something to say, you have to find a vehicle to get it said, and as a songwriter, I wrote a song so my voice could be heard."

Motley began writing songs about 10 years ago and soon after began to take guitar lessons. Motley, a school counselor by day, released a CD called "In Treatment" in 2005. But it wasn't until Motley wrote "That New Road" that his music began to garner more than just local consideration.

The song first got attention when he sang it at an open meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee in early March. Footage of him singing was picked up by several news organizations in Texas and aired in several Texas cities. Soon after, Bill Molina, a filmmaker who is working on a movie about the corridor, approached Motley. Last week, Molina filmed Motley at his ranch and plans to include the song in the movie.

While Motley isn't sure when the movie will be done, Victorians will have the chance to see his performance at the Senate Transportation Committee meeting when it airs at 11 p.m. Wednesday night on KUHT-TV Channel 8's Special Session program.

"My goal with this song is to help call attention to what is going on. This is a big issue that people need to be informed about and it's not going to go away," Motley said.

So what is Motley's solution to the problem?

"My hopes are that since Highway 59 is already there, they will use the existing right of way and, beyond that, I hope America would realize mass transit is a good idea and to utilize it more. It's better than thousands of cars and trucks driving by. People need to explore the mass transit option more and realize that while the toll road is a solution, it's only one solution. There are smarter choices," Motley said.

To find out more information about the Trans-Texas Corridor, go to or For more information about Bill Molina's movie, go to

Aprill Brandon is a reporter for the Advocate. Contact her at 361-580-6514 or, or comment on this story here.