Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Curious about the Trans Texas Corridor? How about furious?"

TTC-69 Town Hall Meetings

Copyright 2008

Today the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has formally begun a massive public reeducation and public relations effort in an aggressive and expensive attempt to stem the chorus of objections voiced thus far over the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC).

Millions of tax dollars are being spent in the attempt to sway public opinion instead of building and maintaining Texas highways. Rather than listening to the public and addressing our needs and concerns, TxDOT is out to reeducate us, to convenience us that the TTC is the only solution that can meet our transportation needs.

Despite our obvious misgivings, we must all once again participate and voice our continued concerns and objections to the Trans Texas Corridor.

During January 2008, TxDOT will begin holding a series of meetings they are calling, "Town Hall Meetings." Unlike the environmental hearings held thus far, these meeting promise open discussion between TxDOT and the public. Well at least that's how they are being promoted.

Despite our obvious misgivings, we must all once again participate and voice our continued concerns and objections to the Trans Texas Corridor.

TxDOT says,

"If nothing else, Texans have been curious about the Trans-Texas Corridor, and for all the information that has been given about the project, many Texans still have lots of questions. And the Texas Department of Transportation plans to answer them at a series of town hall meetings that will begin January 15 at various locations across the state."

Curious? Curious about the Trans Texas Corridor? How about furious.

14,000 Texans attended more than 50 TTC-35 hearings and voiced their loud objections. TxDOT turned a deaf ear. Clearly TxDOT has an agenda, one that they haven't allowed to be derailed by overwhelming concern expressed by thousands of Texans. This new "Town Hall" approach appears to be in direct response to the missteps TxDOT made with TTC-35. Missteps that led to both houses of the Texas Legislature passing bills to put a two-year moratorium on the Trans Texas Corridor.

TxDOT says,

"These town hall meetings, unlike the formal project public hearings that many Texans have attended, will allow attendees to discuss the corridor and its impact to Texas with TxDOT officials. It also will allow attendees to get their questions answered about the corridor and statewide transportation policy. In short, these town hall meetings are a conversation that will lead to solutions to Texas’ current and future transportation challenges. "

Sadly TxDOT has consistently demonstrated that they lack the latitude to allow such discussion to deviate from the Governor's predetermined outcome. The Governor and his Transportation Commission appointees have no interest in participating in any conversation that doesn't end in agreement with the Governor's TTC plan.

The Texas Legislature could not even engage TxDOT in such discussion during their most recent session. Stonewalling, refusing dialogue, misrepresentations, and conspiring with the Federal Highway Administration to sabotage legislation were among the unprecedented tactics used by TxDOT under the direction of the Governor's Transportation Commission.

Notwithstanding TxDOT's determination to direct the discussion to reach their desired outcome, it is important that the citizens of Texas continue to build a record of raising legitimate concerns and objections.

Stand up and be heard.

© 2008 CorridorWatch:

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