Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"We need to stick to our guns and make sure our cities and the folks who live within them are protected."

We Are Not Going To Back Down


Kathy Palmer, President
South Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission
Copyright 2009

“The Trans Texas Corridor, as it was originally envisioned, is no more,” Karen Amacker (TxDOT spokesperson) told 1200 WOAI news just today.

Before we have “No More TTC Parties” however, let me explain what that means.
  • The TTC project instead of being one large project as originally proposed, will now be broken down into many smaller projects with each having their own individual name.
  • The width of the route will be changed from 1200 feet to approximately 600 feet in most places.
  • The route will still include in some areas, not only vehicular traffic, but rail and truck only lanes.
Please do not misunderstand me, this is a great accomplishment and one that would not have occurred had folks not decided enough was enough. What I hope to prevent however, is folks thinking we won the battle and therefore the war is over. It is far from over.

In TxDOT’s own Vision 2009 document (TxDOT-Vision-2009) page 5, you will see the following:

“What’s in a Name? Quite a lot. The Trans-Texas Corridor name has taken on unintended meaning that can obscure the facts. The Texas Department of Transportation has decided to put the name to rest. Instead, we will implement a corridor program that will house the tools of innovative project development and delivery springing from TTC events, but will use the names generally associated with individual projects from the beginning, such as State Highway 130, Interstate 69, and Loop 9.”

The DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) for the TTC concept is still under review and awaiting final approval from the Federal Highway Administration. TxDOT does not have any intent to dump that DEIS and start over, which means that if/when it is approved, it will have the original TTC concept in it thus allowing it to be used if TxDOT chooses to revert back to the original concept. I am not saying they will, but if folks do not stay vigilant and make sure they don’t, depending on who is in office and what the Texas Legislature allows or disallows, anything can happen.

Now you may ask, how does the Legislature have anything to do with the TTC Concept continuing?

The Legislature is who dictates the funding. If they withdraw the funding, then and only then will the project die. At that point, in order for any part of the project to move forward, funding must be found, whether it be state money, federal money or a combination thereof.

For those of us that have been involved in this for some time, we saw the writing on the wall of the name change when the Corridor Advisory Committee reports (See TTC I-35 report link HERE) stated that the TTC name evoked negative images in most Texan’s minds. We knew the only logical thing TxDOT could do was to dump the TTC name in the hopes that folks would then begin to back off.

I know I am not alone when I say that backing off now is the farthest thing from my mind.

I will be addressing the SCTSRPC in our meeting tomorrow and again tomorrow night at the East Central Citizen’s Forum to reiterate that now more than ever we need to stick to our guns and make sure our cities and the folks who live within them are protected.

It might take more effort now than before, since there may be more than one project related to the old “TTC” that will require coordination, but we did not form the Commission just to turn around and dissolve it at the drop of a hat.

I look forward to continuing working with TxDOT as we strive to assist them in providing for the transportation needs of the future while protecting what we have worked so hard to build in the past. Stay strong, stay focused, do your homework and research what you hear. Remember that knowledge is power.

Have a very Happy New Year!

© 2009 South Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission:

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE