"Lay this I-69/TTC absurdity to rest and hold hearings on Tier I which allows for building highway infrastructure within existing footprints."
March 25, 2008
By GARY WILLMON
The Lufkin Daily News
State Representative Jim McReynolds has sent a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation saying he thinks TxDOT should drop the idea of tying the Trans-Texas Corridor in with plans for routing Interstate 69 through East Texas.
McReynolds says tremendous negative outcry from his constituents and other East Texas residents has made it clear to him no one wants infrastructure that massive and disruptive to the quality of life to be built, taking big swaths out of the Pineywoods countryside.
"Within the past several weeks, I have personally attended every TxDOT hearing held in my district regarding this proposed corridor," McReynolds said in a March 18 letter sent to Ed Pensock of TxDOT. "I have also encouraged all to attend and to voice their concerns and to receive answers to their questions. People came, people spoke and the answer is unmistakably clear — I along with 99.9 percent of East Texans adamantly oppose the I-69/TTC.
"On the House Appropriations Committee this past session, we discussed at length provisions of HB 3588 passed during the 78th session, as well as TxDOT's contracting with private industry. And I along my fellow House members proudly voted to put in place a moratorium on your agency for further contracting on new projects during the interim.
"For many years, East Texans have followed the TxDOT plans for the I-69 corridor. I have attended many meetings regarding this proposed thoroughfare. Make no mistakes, we support infrastructure and highway building — but all of us expected this to be within existing footprints of existing highways. None of us ever dreamed of combining the TTC with I-69 which TxDOT has recently done in the hearings.
"As a vice chairman of the Rural Caucus for the past decade, when the idea of the TTC was conceived in 2002, we had grave concerns about it because we are, have been and I hope will always be a private property rights state. I hope that the management at TxDOT has not forgotten this.
"The comments in my district about the proposed I-69/TTC corridor include many serious concerns: loss of cherished property, cemeteries, agriculture, antiquities, water, game, noise, air and light pollution, access, emergency, loss of business, loss of property tax base for schools and county, homeland security and NAFTA concerns to only mention a few. As far as I know, TxDOT is not taking into serious consideration high speed rail, or whether or not Texans or visitors to our state will even need this type of infrastructure 20 or 30 years from now.
"I believe that I represent every member of the East Texas delegation who serve in both the Texas House and Senate when I say, please lay this I-69/TTC absurdity to rest and begin holding hearings on Tier I which allows for building highway infrastructure within existing footprints. I believe that you will find a much more pleasant reception among us who are proud to call East Texas home."
Recent meetings held in Lufkin, Diboll, Nacogdoches and Center sparked crowds of property owners who voiced their concerns similar to those of McReynolds regarding the massive highway project. A public response deadline has been extended through April 18 by TxDOT, online at www.keeptexasmoving com. or via regular mail at I-69/TTC, P.O. Box 14428, Austin TX 78761.
14428, Austin, TX 78761.
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