Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"The reason the Trans-Texas Corridor is a dirty word in Taylor and Texas is because the people see the TTC for what it is..."

Citizens disagree with pro-Corridor column

Related link: A Case for the TTC?


Letters to the editor
The Taylor Daily Press
Copyright 2008

‘True Texans’ value heritage over TTC

To the Editor:

Concerning “A Case for the Trans Texas Corridor,” which appeared in your paper July 22, I applaud Philip Jankowski’s effort to make the case for the corridor. I think presenting both sides of the argument is healthy, but I’d suggest Philip check his facts before proceeding.

1. Rapid growth of surrounding communities is due to their proximity to Austin. Their toll roads were built as a result of the rapid growth, not vice-versa.

2. (According to TxDOT) 116,000 acres will be lost to TTC-35. In most cases, landowners will not receive market value for their land. Texas eminent domain law is based on “Hubenak vs. San Jacinto Gas,” which says any low ball offer qualifies as “just compensation.”

3. The “incredibly valuable commercial property” that Philip refers to will be inside the toll road fence and must be leased from the Spaniards. The adjoining landowners outside the fence will suffer from decreased value due to lack of access and air, noise and sight pollution.

4. The avid TTC opponent who showed Philip the possible path told Philip that his land would not be taken by the corridor. But I guess that doesn’t make as good a story as getting “run over.”

5. Philip says Taylor should forget its past, embrace the corridor and hope for rapid growth to come. The fact is Taylor’s history is one of its greatest assets. Controlled growth is the key to a good place to live. True Texans value their heritage and value their lifestyle.

Ralph Snyder


Landowners want to protect Texans from Corridor

To the Editor:

I just finished reading the article, “A case for the Trans Texas Corridor,” written by Philip Jankowski and would like to respond to some of the inaccuracies in the article.

Mr. Jankowski seems to think that the landowners in the Taylor area are eager to sell the property that, for some, has been in their families for five generations. What is it he doesn’t understand about Texans and their love of the land ... a love so big and so deep and so strong, they will fight to the last breath to keep it? They don’t want to sell it to TxDOT or anyone else.

They are where they are because that is exactly where they want to be and no amount of money could entice them to sell. And, it (is) not just about the farm and ranch land around Taylor. These folks are concerned about a 1,200-foot wide swath of farm land from the South Texas border to the North Texas border; farm land that can never be replaced at any price.

Mr. Jankowski must also believe that the entire city of Taylor detests their current lifestyle and history and is just hanging by a thread waiting to be the next Georgetown. He might be surprised to find out that the residents of Taylor are proud of their history and enjoy their friendly small city and have no desire to have it turned into a concrete shopping plaza for out-of-state retirees.

He mentions Leander, Cedar Park and Liberty Hill as three cities expanding due to a “toll road.” The toll road has only been there a year or so, but Austin has been there for decades. Doesn’t it seem more plausible that these cities are growing due to the urban sprawl of the ever spreading city of Austin?

As far as a super toll road putting Taylor on the map, he was dead wrong there, too.

This toll road would destroy Taylor, just like it would every other small town.

The TTC plans show no access roads to be built, so a driver can only enter and exit the TTC at designated on and off ramps that will be miles apart. All crossovers to be built for county roads will be built at county expense at about $18 million apiece. So how are these “drivers” going to stop off in Taylor to spend their money, when there are few exits and no access roads on the TTC?

The land one mile on either side of the TTC will be unfit for human or animal habitation due to fumes and noise pollution. Looks like Mr. Jankowski’s plan for an increase in the price of land next to this huge toll road doesn’t pan out either as that land will be worthless.

If being “fundamentally opposed” to the TTC makes me, as Mr. Jankowski charges, backward thinking and self-destructive, then he is totally uninformed as to the nature and effect the TTC will have. Not only on Taylor, but on every small town it comes near.

Mr. Jankowski mentions nothing about the school districts that will be severed. Or the police and fire departments nightmares of trying to do their jobs around this monstrosity. Or the church congregations that will be divided by it. Or by the small water districts running their line under it.

Or the farmers trying to tend to their land on both sides of it. Or the counties losing tax money on the seized land. Or the lost Blackland Prairie dirt that brought the first farmers to Texas in the first place.

Mr. Jankowski, the reason the TTC is a dirty word in Taylor is because the people in Taylor and in Texas see the TTC for what it is and are fighting with everything they can muster to stop it before it destroys an entire way of life for the folks in rural Texas. We don’t want it or need it.

Cynthia Ross

Pride in land, heritage not for sale

To the Editor:

Not everything is about money, Mr. Jankowski. Farming and the small town way of life are rapidly disappearing and a lot of us don’t want it to. My family has been in Williamson County for seven generations.

Our pride in the land and the farming lifestyle are not for sale at any price. The Trans Texas Corridor would take land away from people who have farmed it for generation(s). People who want to look at nothing but asphalt, Home Depots and Chili’s are more than welcome to go live in all the so-called prosperous places you mention in your article, as are you.

The fact that you feel these cities’ over-expansive, out-of-control growth is successful tells me you cannot possibly understand the history and pride of the farming lifestyle. No one in any of these towns knows their neighbors or even cares to.

In my opinion, the true measure of success is the people, of which our area has some of the very best. Embrace a slow death? I plan to … while sitting in my rocking chair on my porch looking out at nothing but pasture land as far as I can see.

Janna Hafernik


TTC designed to bypass, not help small towns

To the Editor:

The recent story written by Philip Jankowski was filled with such a total lack of regard for facts that it would have been deeply troubling were it simply written by an uniformed citizen.

The realization that Mr. Jankowski is a writer for your paper makes it all the more shocking! How can he not know that the intention of these roads is to deliberately bypass all towns, not bring us new customers. There would be no Taylor exit, and if there were, state contractors would own the businesses along the tollway.

Taylor would get the exhaust fumes and the noise, no new commerce. And the cost would be trampling the property rights of a good many citizens while destroying our charming, serene surroundings and reducing our property values at the same time.

I came to Taylor because it is beautiful. We have quiet streets and clean air. These things are not the enemy, nor are they trivial or outdated as Mr. Jankowski implies. These are quality of life issues ... and, really, Hutto is his example of what we should strive for? Thoughtless, out of control growth? They have 25,000 more people and a toll road but no grocery store! Gas is $4 a gallon and they have to get on a toll road to go grocery shopping.

Thanks, I’ll take Taylor any day.

Angela Kopit


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