Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"We were told it was the done deal of the century, but we proved them wrong."

A Victory the Size of Texas!


Independent Texans
Copyright 2010

The people of Texas have killed the grand scheme of the Trans-Texas Corridor and, in so doing, won an 8-year war with Governor Rick Perry and his allies.

We were told it was the done deal of the century, but we proved them wrong. The Federal Highway Administration issued their final Record of Decision that selected the No Action Alternative for TTC-35 on July 31st.

Congratulations to the many groups across the state, including activists in all political parties, who together and separately brought the Corridor down. Though some scaled back portions of the trade Corridor are still moving forward, the grand scheme of the TTC is DOA!

The people of Texas owe Linda and David Stall of Corridor Watch a lot. Linda and David spent a huge portion of their personal income and lives since 2004 providing the technical and spiritual leadership to thousands of people across the state.

The fight to stop the TTC teaches us what ordinary citizens can do when we unite across partisan and ideological lines. From environmentalists to John Birchers, the Corridor fight galvanized a movement inside and outside both major parties the likes of which have never been seen in our particularly divided state. The Corridor battle even sparked a major independent candidacy for Governor - that of former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who brought the issue out to millions of Texans who had no idea that their state’s independent farmers were under siege by a Governor who had come from rural Texas and who had turned his back on them.

The fight morphed into the critical “391 Commissions” formed by local officials with local concerned citizens along the Corridor route established to force TxDOT and state officials to deal with them.

Many of those who pushed this universally hated project are now “retired”, including Rep. Mike Krusee, Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick and US House Speaker Tom DeLay. All but Rick Perry are gone, but we’re still working on that!

The whole thing started with a 2001 statewide proposition for the Texas Mobility Fund. Unsuspecting Texans passed the statewide proposition thinking it was to give the Texas Department of Transportation TxDOT some innocuous additional tools to raise funds for roads. We found out after passage the real plan behind it was to convert freeways to tollways and to allow roads to be privatized, tolled and leased for 50-100 years to international corporations. The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) was the mother load of all tolls roads planned as a 1/4 mile wide, 4000 mile scar across the state. And, for what? It was an international trade corridor to allow more Chinese goods to be trans-shipped through non-unionized Mexican ports into and through the United States to Canada.

What galled so many rural Texans along the planned TTC-35 route was their Governor, Rick Perry, who had been Agriculture Commissioner and had come from the Texas ranching community, was ready to lead a massive land taking for the Corridor involving some of the mere 3% of the world’s most fertile soil. Had the plan gone forward, this would have been the largest eminent domain seizure in the history of our country involving at least 500,000 acres of land.

The Texas Transportation saga is a long and winding road — pun intended. It’s a story not simply about transportation. It’s a story about government corruption, self-dealing, incompetence and political wheeling and dealing that goes on to this very day.

Groups across the state came together in 2009 to send this letter to the incoming Federal Highway Administration under the Obama administration, documenting much of our case to stop the massive Corridor.

We even tried to send a message to Joe Biden to stop stimulus funds used for toll roads (from the latest version of the film Truth Be Tolled)

Special thanks go to noted film documentarian, Bill Molina, of San Antonio who helped document some the work of many organizations and individuals over the last 8 years, you can watch this extraordinary film, Truth Be Tolled, on YouTube.

You can also visit these web sites and google for hundreds of articles on this subject and Terri Hall’s continued concerns for pieces of the Corridor still planned.

© 2010 Independent Texans:

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