Friday, March 02, 2007

"We do not know if they're going to take our land, and we do not know where we're going to go. "

Ranchers, farmers march against Trans-Texas Corridor

March 2, 2007

Copyright 2007

Farmers and ranchers from Amarillo to Houston, Texarkana to the Valley and various points in between wanted to send a message to Governor Perry and legislators Friday afternoon. They're opposed to the Trans-Texas Corridor.

Tractors, horses and protesters marched up Congress Avenue to the State Capitol seeking answers on the Trans-Texas Corridor.

"We do not know if they're going to take our land, and we do not know where we're going to go. And if we feel this way, I'm sure lot's of others feel this way," said Sherry Moore.

The Trans-Texas Corridor is a proposed multi-use, statewide network of transportation routes that will incorporate existing and new highways, toll roads and railways. Supporters say the Trans-Texas Corridor is the best solution for today's traffic congestion and tomorrow's transportation needs. Friday, hundreds of protesters disagreed.

Richard Sullivan is a farmer in Bosque County, about a hundred miles north of Waco.

"I have no problem putting a toll road in for a congested city such as Austin, but you know up my way, 200-300 miles, we get a car every five to six minutes," Sullivan said. "We don't need a major toll road bulldozing through our property, where we can't own any cattle, we can't do any farming. It completely puts us out of business and there's just no reason for it."

Protesters point to the proposed quarter of a mile width of the roadways and that access roads will be only be state, U.S. and interstate highways, which usually don't run through rural areas.

"Therefore those people would not be granted access. But it's going to cut their farms in half, it's going to cut their ranches in half," said Hank Gilbert, rancher. "It's going to disproportion what they have, and they're going to have to travel miles in either direction to get from one side to the other."

The other issue of concern for protesters is the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). It would require anyone owning livestock to register that livestock and individually track that livestock through a data base. Many here say that would unnecessarily increase the farmers' expenses and cost all of us more at the grocery store. The Texas Animal Health Commission currently has the authority to make the NAIS mandatory at any time.

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