Friday, November 14, 2008

Advisory Committee recommends the name 'Trans Texas Corridor' be abolished.

Citizens Committee: Abolish Trans Texas Corridor Idea

Committee looking into I-35 improvements also chides TxDOT for failing to get public backing for toll road plans


By Jim Forsyth
WOAI News Radio (San Antonio, TX)
Copyright 2008

A citizens committee appointed by the Texas Department of Transportation has issued a series of recommendations on what should be done to deal with increasing congestion on Interstate 35, 1200 WOAI news reports.

The committee said stretches of Interstate 35, which runs from Laredo to Gainesville and is the most heavily traveled Interstate highway in the country, have 'pushed the limit of the road's design capacity.'

Gabby Garcia of TxDOT says the committee reacted strongly against Governor Perry's 'Trans Texas Corridor' toll road plan, saying the TTC 'has come to represent what Texans do not want in transportation project delivery. The TTC lacks public and political support.' The committee recommended that even the name 'Trans Texas Corridor' be abolished.

The main focus of the committee was to determine how to deal with increasing levels of congestion on 35.

"Looking at expansion where it is appropriate, and using existing right of way where possible," Garcia said.

But beyond that, the committee recommended studying passenger rail along the I-35 corridor, HOV lanes, and even additional toll lanes where necessary, but Garcia said the committee said TxDOT needs to do more to make sure local communities support radical departures like toll roads.

"It has to include the local community, to make sure they are part of the process."

The committee repeatedly took TxDOT to task for not gaining public support when suggesting new toll lanes, or major new toll roads like the TTC.

The committee said any funding allocated to I-35 should stay on I-35 and not be siphoned off to other projects for political purposes. It said more consideration should be given to aesthetics as the highway enters a community.

Due to the existence of frontage roads, with businesses built right on the highway, many motorists say Texas' Interstate highways are the ugliest in the country. In other states, traffic is routed onto side streets and businesses are located there, allowing for landscaping along the expressway.

The committee also recommended the construction of new bridges into Mexico on the south end of I-35 in Laredo, and improved freight rail between Austin and San Antonio.

© 2008 WOAI:

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