Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"What we basically are doing is we are terminating the process. "

Final nail in Trans Texas Corridor's coffin


Gordon Dickson
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Copyright 2009

The Texas Department of Transportation is once and for all pulling the plug on the Trans Texas Corridor, the controversial plan to build toll roads and utility lines across the state, an official said.

"The reason that's being given for the no-build option is that people don't want it," Texas Transportation Commission member Bill Meadows of Fort Worth said Tuesday in a phone interview. "They said 'Hell no.' "

The Trans Texas Corridor was originally pitched as an innovative way to pay for congestion improvements, and reduce truck and train gridlock in metro areas. But opponents seized upon several hotly contested components of the plan, including the impact of tolls on Texans' pocketbooks, the infusion of foreign influence in toll investment and the taking of such a massive amount of private property necessary to build the roads.

Earlier this year, state officials announced the Trans Texas Corridor was essentially dead, in large part because of public outrage and a backlash from state legislators who felt the transportation department had overstepped its bounds. But despite that announcement, the planning process for the Trans Texas Corridor continued behind the scenes. A consortium led by Cintra of Madrid, Spain and Zachry Construction of San Antonio had prepared a master plan, and a detailed environmental study of the TTC-35 corridor between Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio was underway.

Well, on Wednesday, Texas Department of Transportation officials plan to hold a news conference in Austin to announce that they've selected the "no build" option for the TTC-35 Corridor, which formally brings an end to the project, Meadows said. "What we basically are doing is we are terminating the process. It's the no-build option," he said. "Formally, absolutely, TTC-35 is dead. We are canceling the contract with Zachry."

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