Monday, January 21, 2008

TTC-69 Public Hearings coming to Rosenberg

Trans-Texas comes to town

January 21, 2008

By Stephen Palkot
Fort Bend Herald
Copyright 2008

A public hearing in Rosenberg Thursday will give Fort Bend County residents a chance to speak out on one of the most highly contentious public projects in the state.

The Trans-Texas Corridor/I-69 project is a massive, multi-modal transportation corridor designed to carry trade traffic to and from the state roughly along the Gulf Coast, and to take on traffic increases expected with the state's ongoing population growth.

The corridor is expected to start near Brownsville or Laredo at its southern end and mostly follow the route of U.S. 59 for connections to Louisiana and Arkansas.

Notably, the main artery of this corridor, expected to feature rail lines alongside dedicated car and truck lanes, will be bypassing Fort Bend County and the Houston area. However, current maps of the project show that a “connector” corridor has been planned that would run through southern Fort Bend County and ultimately connect traffic to area ports and cities.

Specifically, the TTC-69 could impact Fort Bend County with what is called Section S. Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) maps show planners are examining the possibility of Section S passing either between Beasley and Kendleton or cutting across the county south of Needville. No final route has been determined, and five variations are being explored within a swath of land.

Criticisms of the TTC concept have run the gamut from landowners opposing a property grab to a growing fear that the international implications of the TTC could erode the sovereignty of the United States. TxDOT has proposed that a private company could built the project and charge tolls and other fees for its use.

Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert said he believes the connection corridors contemplated to run through Fort Bend County are likely being considered to handle traffic to and from the Port of Freeport.

Many decisions lie ahead, said Hebert, so he said he encourages Fort Bend County residents to comment on the project.

“TxDOT seems to have relaxed their drive to do a 1,000-foot-wide corridor project, and they're amendable to putting in a size the local communities find more friendly,” he said.

The hearing will take place over two portions on Thursday, Jan. 24. From 5-6:30 p.m., members of the public are invited to view a series of panels about the project and to speak directly with TxDOT engineers and employees. Starting at 6:30 p.m., TxDOT will conduct a more traditional “public hearing,” where individuals will be allowed to offer commentary on the project.

The hearing will take place at the Rosenberg Civic and Convention Center, located at 3825 Highway 36 south of town. The following day, a similar hearing is scheduled for the same hours in East Bernard, at Riverside Hall, 14643 Buhls Road.

© 2008 Fort Bend Herald:

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE