Friday, May 01, 2009

"We have to drive a wooden stake into the heart of the Trans-Texas Corridor, just like we would to permanently kill a vampire."

Abolish the plans for the Trans-Texas Corridor


By David McQuade Leibowitz - Guest Commentary
Southside Reporter
San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2009

State Rep. David McQuade Leibowitz presented legislation that would abolish the Trans-Texas Corridor and prevent the conversion of existing roads to toll roads in the House Transportation Committee on April 21.

“Today is San Jacinto Day, when Texas celebrates their final victory over Mexico in 1836. I hope that today is also the beginning of the end of the Trans-Texas Corridor.

“While state leaders have said the Trans-Texas Corridor is dead, the statue that allows its construction is still on the books. We need to get rid of the language so that the tolling advocates and foreign corporations will not be able to take the property of Texans and turn them into toll roads.”

Leibowitz presented two bills to the committee, House Bill 11 and House Bill 13.

House Bill 11 repeals the authority of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to contract and build the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC).

It repeals Chapter 227 of the Transportation Code which establishes the Trans-Texas Corridor. It also repeals sections providing for:
  • Regional Mobility Authorities to work on the TTC
  • An 85-mph speed limit on the TTC
  • A property tax exemption for the TTC
  • Reporting requirements x for the TTC
  • Hydrogen refueling stations on the TTC

“The Trans-Texas Corridor is sucking the very lifeblood out of the heart and soul of our beloved Texas. If we have to drive a wooden stake into the heart of the Trans-Texas Corridor, just like we would to permanently kill a vampire, then that is what we will do.

“House Bill 11 drives a wooden stake into the heart (assuming it has one to begin with) of the Trans-Texas Corridor and kills it permanently.”

House Bill 13 prohibits turning a planned state highway into a toll project unless one of the two following conditions are met:

  • The highway or lane was open to traffic as a turnpike project on or before Sept. 1, 2005.
  • Or, the highway is reconstructed so that the number of non-tolled lanes is greater than or equal to the previously existing number of non-tolled lanes; or the highway or lane was open to traffic as an HOV lane on May 1, 2005.

The goal of this bill is to limit the conversion of freeways into toll roads and I think we will accomplish that.

David McQuade Leibowitz is the state representative for District 117. His district office is located at 9107 Marbach Road, Suite 111.

He can be contacted by phone at his district office by calling 372-0759 or his Austin office at (512) 463-0269.

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