"The more community involvement and the louder the community voice, the more the state government will be forced to take notice."
Related Link: Texas 391 Commission Alliance
March 17, 2008
By STEVEN ALFORD
The Lufkin Daily News
Plots by Communists to infiltrate America. The disintegration of borders and rural areas. Citizens mobilizing and rising up against government agencies and big business.
It all sounds like the plot for a summer blockbuster, but it's something that could be happening in your own backyard.
These were just a few of the topics addressed in the "How to fight the TTC" workshop, held Monday at the Pitser Garrison Civic Center in Lufkin. The conference served as an informational meeting aimed at informing citizens and local government officials how they can unite in trying to stop the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor project.
The TTC, a new grid of superhighway being proposed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), would crisscross the state and connect Texas with the rest of the nation in a thoroughfare that would take large trucks and heavy traffic off of local roads and place them into one, fast-moving highway. But with a budget at an estimated $145 billion to $183 billion, many organizations are questioning if the money could be spent elsewhere. Plus the fact that the overall plan would involve the confiscation of 584,000 acres of privately owned Texas agriculture and rural land doesn't have environmentalists too pleased either.
"There is a rogue agency out there that isn't listening to you and what you have to say," said Dan Byfield, president of the American Land Foundation, one of the hosts of Monday's workshop. "If you form your own committees, you can force TxDOT to work with you and let them know how you feel." Byfield gave a step-by-step process on how activists can form a sub-regional planning commission and circumvent local government committees altogether in a continued grass-roots effort to stop the TTC.
The conference was hosted by the American Land Foundation, the Stewards of the Range, and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, with the heads of all the organizations giving seminars on topics ranging from community coordination and organization, to detailed legalities that groups can utilize to fight TxDOT and possibly stop the construction of the Trans-Texas Corridor.
"This plan has not considered the environmental impacts on our communities," said Hank Gilbert, director for TURF, and the program's moderator. "The more community involvement, the louder the community voice, and the more the state government will be forced to take notice."
One of the bigger underlying issues at hand was that the TTC would be the first step toward a unification of Canada, America and Mexico in an effort to create a "North American Union" similar to the European Union, which could even maintain its own currency, the Amero. In its final realization, the highway would begin in Chinese-controlled ports in Mexico and run all the way up through Canada, basically dissolving any ideas of borders or searchable cargo.
Standing Ground, a newsletter printed by the ALF that was distributed at the conference, touched deeper on the subject: "This treatise is the blueprint for the North American Union... which would signal the destruction of America as we know it by merging the United States, Canada and Mexico into a single economic and political entity... Once only considered a conspiracy theory, the NAU is dangerously close to reality, with timetables set for partial completion in this decade."
Attempts to reach a TxDOT official for comment Monday afternoon were unsuccessful, but according to the TxDOT Web site, www.keeptexasmoving.com, because of the corridor, "drivers will face less congestion, businesses will have more reliable transportation networks, users will have more choices, including rail and transit, and more job opportunities will arise due to new and improved trade and transport corridors." All of which sounds good on paper, opponents said, but remains fishy in the eyes of the various organizations gathered at Monday's meeting.
With the deadline for proposals from developers to orchestrate the project being pushed back to March 26, there is still time for advocacy groups to let TxDOT know how they feel. Opinions are varied about the outcomes of the TTC, but as one Texan landowner who asked not to be named put it, "if TxDOT tries to come and take my land, they'll find me waiting on the porch with a loaded gun."
For more information visit www.amland.us, www.stewards.us and www.texasturf.org.
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