Monday, March 05, 2007

Some Aggies aren't up to speed on corridor costs


Drive on stand strong

Corridor paves way for progress, says Jim Foreman


By: Jim Foreman

Copyright 2007

It's no secret that Texas is expanding in both population and commerce. It's also no secret that constructing transportation infrastructure to keep up with that expansion has been trivial. The Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) will substantially improve Texas' transportation systems to alleviate traffic issues in major metropolitan areas.

The TTC is a transportation network carrying tollways, rail lines and utilities across Texas from Laredo to the Oklahoma border. The tollway will have separate lanes for cars and trucks hauling goods with a speed limit cap of 85 mph. The rail lines will include freight lines, passenger lines and a high-speed train line. The TTC will even carry water, electric and telecommunication lines. The tollway will also reduce traffic congestion in metropolitan areas such as Houston and Dallas. Streamlining commercial traffic by truck, train and passenger vehicles traveling across the state will keep them out of city traffic.

Several organizations have expressed concerns about the TTC and oppose its construction. The primary motivation for these groups is that the TTC will require the state to purchase large portions of land from owners not interested in relocating. It is unfortunate that some people must be troubled for the sake of progress, but they will receive payment based on market value for their property.

The TTC will contribute monumentally to Texas' economy. Unfortunately, many of those anti-TTC organizations fail to look past its price tag. Although the cost of the 4,000-mile stretch will approach approximately $183 billion, the project will be funded privately over a period of 50 years. Since taxpayers in general will not be affected, there is little reason to refuse the TTC.

Investing companies expect to receive a whopping 15-to-one return on their investment by operating tollbooths along the TTC. Paying a toll to use the TTC will be almost negligible when compared to the amount of time saved by avoiding city traffic and constant construction. This gain will be especially attractive to shipping companies that depend on trucks arriving at their destinations as quickly as possible. Truck drivers will earn more money by covering more ground in less time and a high-speed train will put Texas on par with the northern states where transportation by rail is more readily available and far more efficient. Even the electric utility lines will prove economically supportive by improving the potential for power companies in Texas to transfer electricity to under-powered northern states where it will fetch a higher price.

The only potential shortcoming of the TTC is the need to acquire land in rural areas that some may not be willing to give up. Their shortsightedness is the reason they oppose the TTC. Progress is necessary to life. And forgive the cold sentiment, but progress should not be impeded by every stubborn fool who selfishly prevents this state from moving forward because he or she does not wish to sell a hunk of dirt.

Mail Call

Corridor will hurt economy


By: Lance Rothe
Copyright 2007

Foreman has overlooked a very large audience that will be negatively affected by the Trans-Texas Corridor. Nearby communities will take a large hit, because unlike the Interstate system, the TTC will not be easily accessible, will not promote development along it and will be served by state concessions (gas stations, hotels, restaurants) that are located IN the corridor. Local economies will be left in ruins. Also, when completed, the state will have no control over tolls and other usage charges. That will be left up to the concessionaire, giving them the option to make as much money as they want. How exactly does this benefit the state and its residents?

Lance Rothe
Graduate Student

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