Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Who's spreading myths now, Commissioner Houghton?"

TxDOT Commission Houghton's myth regarding TTC connecting to Mexico

January 30th, 2008

Robbie Peterson & Trey Duhon
Citizens for a Better Waller County
Copyright 2008

Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton seems to enjoy "dispelling the myths" about the Trans Texas Corridor as he plays his own version of "Fact vs. Myth" with the Texas citizens. However, last week it was Commissioner Houghton who was caught giving out a few myths of his own.

For those that attended the Jan. 22 TXDOT Town Hall meeting in Hempstead, many may recall how Transportation Commissioner Houghton responded to a citizen's question on why the TTC is not a part of NAFTA, to which Houghton replied, "It doesn't connect to Mexico," which caused the room of 800+ folks in attendance to erupt with laughter.

The man at the microphone told Houghton that the map that he had shows TTC-69 going to Brownsville. Houghton quickly responded that the TTC stops in the city of Brownsville and it stops in the city of McAllen.

Well, it seems that Mr. Houghton is not very familiar with TxDOT's Tier I Enviromental Impact Statement (DEIS) on TTC-69. On page 4-3, under the Section of "Transportation Planning Evaluation" and the subsection "International Border Crossings", the report states:

"In the study area, there are 12 bridges that provide connectivity across the international border. Five are in the Laredo area and seven are in the Rio Grande Valley. There are also seven bridges in various stages of planning. Figure 4.7 locates these existing and proposed border crossing bridges.

Since NAFTA was enacted in 1994, trade between the United States and Mexico increased by approximately 225 percent, reaching $611 billion in 2002 (USBTS 2005). The international trade border crossing points at Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley are among the highest volume in the United States. Within the study area, approximately two-thirds of the trucks and three-fourths of the rail containers enter the United States at Laredo (USBTS 2006a and USBTS 2006b)."

TxDOT was even kind enough to provide a map of the current border crossing in the study area, and the bridges under construction which will provide "connectivity" across the border. (Figure 4.7 of the DEIS). Hmmm..... Shame on Commissioner Houghton for playing games with the citizens in a forum that is supposed to promote a frank and open discussion of the TTC-69. We here at Citizens for a Better Waller County only see this as further evidence of TXDOT's unwillingness to be honest with the citizens of the state of Texas.

Who's spreading myths now, Commissioner Houghton?

© 2008 Citizens for a Better Waller County:

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE