Thursday, March 01, 2007

"My biggest problem is the apparent deception, getting it railroaded through on us."

Senators question transportation officials over toll road project


News 8 Austin
Copyright 2007

People from across the state traveled to the Capitol to speak out about the future of transportation in Texas.

A crowd packed the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee.
Before a crowd of people angry over the Trans-Texas Corridor, state senators grilled transportation commissioners Thursday about the huge toll road project and why Interstate 35 couldn't be widened instead.

The commissioners gave some financial estimates of expanding the interstate and said they would provide more. But commission chairman Ric Williamson says the dense population along the interstate and lack of public money were reasons to opt for the Trans-Texas Corridor, a superhighway expected to be built by a private firm.

The debate concerned putting state roadways in the hands of private companies.

Committee members heard favorable testimony from transportation experts who say privatizing Texas' toll roads would bridge funding gaps in future road construction budgets.

Many citizens there were outright opposed to the Trans-Texas Corridor.

“We're here in protest of the TTC [Trans-Texas Corridor.] It's basically coming through my little brother's house. My biggest problem is the apparent deception, getting it railroaded through on us. I mean, nobody's ever heard of it. I've been telling people about it all the time. I've made DVDs, I'm telling people and they still think this is just another toll road, just another highway," opponent Justin Stokes said.

In all, the project is envisioned as a $184 billion, 4,000-mile network of toll roads, rail lines and utilities across the state.

There are two initial parts of the Trans-Texas Corridor under consideration: One would parallel Interstate 35 from North Texas to Laredo. The other would be an extension of Interstate 69, from Texarkana to Laredo or the Rio Grande Valley.

© 2007 TWEAN News Channel of Austin, L.P. :

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE