Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Do you support a Republican party that wishes to take our homes, steal our land, destroy our county & state, & dig up the graves of our loved ones?"


Toll road battle continues

August 17, 2008

By Gary L. Smith Sr.
Trinity County
Lufkin Daily News
Copyright 2008

Lately I have heard from some of you, asking about the Corridor. Most folks believe it is over, dead, gone from our beautiful East Texas. I have been watching our government's actions on this subject.

Did you know that in TxDOT's cover letter to the federal government it states they will only use existing highways to build their corridor? Did you know that TxDOT also stated that it may need to build in non-existing paths also, some time in the future?

Citizens, I write you today to make sure you understand that the corridor issue in Trinity County has not left us alone. The plan by TxDOT being sent to Washington still includes us. If approved, the Environmental Impact Statement does not eliminate us from the plan. I keep searching the TxDOT plan and they have not changed it to remove us.

Did you know that even though the Feds have not approved the TTC-69 concept, that our state of Texas government through TxDOT has already awarded a contract to ZIA-ACS to build the Great Corridor?

Who is ZIA-ACS? A Spanish company linked with a Texas company to make it sound OK. Zachary is partnered with ZIA-ACS. You might remember them as Cintra-Zachary, also known as Bluebonnet Infrastructure. Cintra is Spanish-owned also. Cintra also has secured a $430 million loan from the U.S. government to start construction. Our money, loaned to a Spanish company, to build us a road that they will then toll.

On July 30, 2008, the Republican president of the U.S., George Bush, stated the privatization of all U.S. freeways is a good idea. That tolling these roads is the only way. The USDOT has identified I-10 and I-69 as cross-country toll roads. Companies planning on building these roads include Cintra and ACS, both of Spain, Macquarie and Transurban, both of Australia, and other non-U.S. companies. Their profit will come from tolls. In Central Texas, the projected toll rate on TTC-35 will be as high as 50 cents per mile, yes, per mile. That information comes directly from Cintra-Zachary.

Did you also know that after TTC-69 and TTC-35, TxDOT's next toll road is TTC-45? If TxDOT is using existing roadways when it can, that means it will only cost you a mere $25 to travel from Huntsville to Houston, one way.

How long will it be before TxDOT wants a connecting road from TTC-69 to TTC-45? This is what Republican President Bush wants; this is what Republican Gov. Perry wants. This is what the Republican party in Texas wants, including Republicans Steve Ogden and Kevin Brady. Why is it that the supporters of the Corridor all happen to be Republicans? Why is it that our state government, which happens to be controlled by Republicans, is shoving this road down our throats?

It is a Republican issue and my enemy is now the Republicans. True, I am a Democrat. But citizens, this is a good example why.

So, who is against the Corridor? Let's start at the bottom: the majority of citizens in East Texas, including Democrat state Rep. Jim McReynolds. At times like these, I am proud Trinity County is Democratic. In November of this year we will get a chance to make our voices heard.

But consider your home and your friends. Will you support a Republican party that wishes to take our homes, steal our land, destroy our county and state, and dig up the graves of our loved ones? Or will you say no. I know many of you do not agree with some or a lot of the Democrat's ideas. But if you vote Republican this November you are saying you do not care about East Texas, our counties or our lives here.

This letter will most likely upset some folks, and some of those who I consider good people and friends. The Corridor is still coming; we all are still in its way. I, for one will not leave and vow to all of you to continue the fight. We in rural Texas have the right to exist; we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have the right to the American dream. This is our land, not the politicians', not the foreign investors'. We are Texas. We will not go without a fight. I remain devoted to all of you in my county, my state and my nation remembering all those who have fought for our freedom. God bless you all.

© 2008 Lufkin Daily

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