Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"We’ve got to remain vigilant. We can’t let our guard down even though we have seen some positive results.”

Frydek community discusses TTC/I-69 updates


By TRACY DANG, Managing Editor
The Sealy News
Copyright 2008

Frydek residents are not sure what they should believe about the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor/I-69. All they know is they do not want it.

“The opposition against the TTC has come to roost in the legislature,” Pct. 4 Commissioner David Hubenak said. “They have heard that this project has been ill-conceived since the beginning, and those elements are starting to come together. We’ve got to remain vigilant. We can’t let our guard down even though we have seen some positive results.”

Approximately 75 people attended the town hall meeting at Frydek Hall Sunday to discuss updates regarding the TTC project.

“The Sunset Advisory Committee is a legislative group that periodically reviews state agencies to see whether they’re still functioning properly,” said Martha Estes, a member of Citizens for a Better Waller County who is active in the anti-TTC effort. “It just turned out that this was the year for Texas Department of Transportation. The Sunset Advisory Committee is about to drop a report next week. Let me tell you what that report will say.

“It’s calling for the axing of the Texas transportation board and recommending that a conservator take over the Texas Department of Transportation. One of the key recommendations is to replace the current five-member transportation commission with a single commissioner, who would serve a two-year, paid term and report to the legislature.”

Estes quoted Rep. Linda Harper-Brown of Irving, who serves on the Sunset Advisory Committee, in saying, “TxDOT has become an agency that is focused on making money and deciding policy, and they need to get back to the business of building roads.”

The Sunset Advisory Commission will debate the Texas Transportation Commission’s management during a hearing in Austin. The recommendations could become state law during the 2009 legislative session.*

“This is just the preliminary report,” Estes said. “Then they’re going to have that hearing. I’ll let you know when that hearing date is, but start raising your funds now for buses for the lobbying day so we can go up there and visit with some of these legislators, not only ours, because they answer to you if they’re serving on a committee.”

Those at the meeting said there is still time to contact state legislators.

“We’re asking you again to make your voices be heard,” meeting moderator Gene Eschenburg said. “All you hae to do is write one letter and make 12 copies and give it to the Sunset Advisory Committee.”

In addition to the update about the Sunset Advisory Committee’s pending preliminary report, Dennis Mlcak also informed attendees that Terri Hall’s lawsuit against TxDOT.

Hall is the founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom. Her lawsuit prevents TxDOT from spending taxpayers’ money on publicity that lobbies for the TTC project.?“It’s so unfair that (TxDOT) is saying they’re short on funds for transportation purposes, and then they’re throwing away funds to make this look like a good project,” Mlcak said.

While some said the state is taking small steps in the right direction, they advise residents not to believe everything they hear and to read between the lines.

“Don’t fool yourself,” Estes said. “Every Texan should be concerned if they’re going to be someone that travels. There are eight (corridors) that are planned. You don’t have to know everything that I know. It comes down to a few simple things. Should property owners deserve to decide when it comes to selling their property?”

After the updates, the documentary “Truth Be Tolled” by William Molina was shown. Eschenburg announced there will be another town hall meeting planned, and he will notify everyone of the date.

© 2008 The Sealy News www.sealynews.com

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