Monday, December 24, 2007

"While advisory committees may provide input regarding location, TxDOT has made it clear there is no question TTC-69 is moving forward."

TxDOT Seeks 'Productive Conversation' On I-69, Trans-Texas Corridor

Dec 24, 2007

by Staff
Copyright 2007

Seeking “a more productive and informative conversation about transportation,” Texas Department of Transportation officials have scheduled a series of town hall meetings along the Interstate 69/Trans Texas Corridor, including in Rosenberg.

Also this month, the department issued a formal request for proposals from potential “private sector partner,” for “detailed plans on how to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain I-69/TTC.”

A panel of TxDOT officials will answer questions from the public about the massive highway project, starting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24, at the Rosenberg Civic Center, at 3825 State Highway 36.

A portion of the controversial project is is being proposed in part in the “footprint” of U.S. 59, although an exact route has yet to be revealed. TxDOT said earlier this month it will name an advisory committee to provide public input “on where the Trans Texas Corridor should be located and what it should look like.

The committee “may include” property and business owners, local government representatives and “technical experts,” according to a statement by TxDOT.

But while the committee may provide input regarding the I-69 location, TxDOT has made it clear it believes there is no question the project is moving forward.

“This corridor is a top priority not only for TxDOT but for Gov. Perry as well. We’ve met with leaders along the corridor in recent weeks explaining the work we have under way to accelerate this long overdue project,” Texas Transportation Commission member Ned Holmes said in a statement. “The I-69 corridor has been a work in progress for the past 16 years and it is high time we pour some concrete. In fact we are ready to proceed to the next step.”

TxDOT noted in a statement that recent legislation “imposes a broad moratorium on certain financing tools needed for a project” of the scale of the Trans-Texas Corridor, but added “the bill made exceptions allowing development to continue.”

There are only two private-sector teams being considered for the I-69 portion of the proposed project, which would include a 650-mile “interstate-quality” highway from the Texarkana area to South Texas.

One includes San Antonio construction company Zachry American Infrastructure and ACS Infrastructure Development Inc., part of a Spanish engineering and construction company. The other is led by Cintra S.A., a Spanish-based operator of toll roads in Spain, the U.S. and Canada.

TxDOT said in a statement that the teams must submit their proposals for the I-69 portion of the TTC by March 5, 2008.

“TxDOT officials stress selection of the final alignment for TTC-69 will be driven by public comments, local officials and the environmental process,” the department said in a statement. “The role for private developers will be to expedite delivery of this critical public asset by making it more financially feasible.”

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