"A disregard for our communities and way of life."
BY JOYCE FLOYD
The Navasota Examiner
An uninformed observer dropping in on the Walker County Fairgrounds on January 30 might certainly have gotten the impression that Grimes County has declared war!
Somewhere between 800 and 1000 concerned citizens gathered to voice their opinions and hopefully have questions answered regarding the proposed Trans Texas Corridor Toll Road Project. Walker County's meeting had the dubious distinction to be the only venue offered to Grimes and Trinity Counties as they weren't afforded the opportunity to host a town hall meeting.
At both meetings property owners and concerned citizens voiced their discontent with Perry's vision of a multi-use toll road corridor being attached to the proposed Interstate 69 path that would take approximately 145 acres per mile of roadway.
Additionally at the January 23 meeting, at least five officials from the Bryan/College Station/Brazos Valley area (which will lose no land to the corridor) touted their approval and recommendations of the corridor's division of Grimes County to service their wants and needs for contact with an Interstate Highway.
January 30 told a different story however, as Grimes County had its own representation this time. Along with some 50 citizens, our esteemed County Judge and every County Commissioner attended. Judge Shiflett informed the Texas Department of Transportation in no uncertain terms that the corridor vision would not be welcome in Grimes County and “what part of no didn't they understand?”
Commissioner Pendley likewise was emphatic in his vocal opposition for himself and his constituents to the loss of thousands of acres of agricultural use land, “some that has been farmed for over 100 years” and the forever change of face the corridor would bring to Grimes County.
Julian Melcher agreed in his defense of Grimes County and the corridors disregard for our communities and way of life. Judge Shiflett assured attendees that the resolution previously filed by Grimes County officials would be rescinded and replaced with “no build” verbage.
Representative Lois Kolkorst had her input too. She ardently recommended alternatives to the corridor toll road vision of Rick Perry's. She suggested that with some thought, legislative work and maybe some change to the gas tax, Texas could fund new road projects itself without the need of toll roads and the foreign company ownership suggested by Rick Perry's plan.
The Texas Transportation Commission and The Texas Department of Transportation agreed that this corridor vision - which would stop at the Texas State border - can be stopped. It can be stopped by our comments, but our comments must be recorded at the public hearings, sent formally in letter format or through their Web site, and the comments must fit into their specific point category. Comments must be received by March 19, 2008 in order to count towards the official record.
In order to be counted, your comments must address a reason for your negative response pertaining to the route, environment, historical places, people, funding, privatization, etc.
Mail to P.O. Box 14428, Austin, TX 78761 or go to keeptexasmoving.com
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