Thursday, February 17, 2011

"This bill will ensure that it can never be built in the future.”

Legislators file bills to end talk of TTC


The Sealy News
Copyright 2011

References to the Trans-Texas Corridor, the highly debated superhighway that was once planned to cut through Austin County, could soon be completely erased from state law.

State Representative Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, and State Senator Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, have jointly filed legislation that would bring a formal and final close to the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC), removing all remaining references to it from state law.

Each filed identical bills in the House and Senate, respectively. The lawmakers said the legislation is necessary because although the financial tools to build the TTC have already been removed, the underlying legal code, which enables the building of the superhighway at a later date, has not.

“There are still over a hundred references to the Trans-Texas Corridor still found in our state’s law books,” Kolkhorst said. “The idea of building the Trans-Texas Corridor may be dead today, but removing the code ensures that it stays dead.

Original TTC plans called for construction south of Interstate Highway 10, through Sealy, Frydek and Wallis, which would have gobbled up 146 acres per mile due to the proposed 1,200-foot wide roads.

However, the state agency previously announced that it would only use existing roadways and any impact to Austin County and the surrounding area vanished. The Trans-Texas Corridor name was being dropped, however, the concept and legal authority to build the superhighway were still in law.

At the time, Kolkhorst said she was cautiously optimistic about the change, but stressed Texans needed to be careful on the big issue to ensure TxDOT “isn’t just going to re-package the Trans-Texas Corridor under a different name.”

The lawmakers have been working closely with the Texas Farm Bureau, which has listed the bill as one of their top legislative priorities.

Hegar, who chairs the Sunset Advisory Commission, and his fellow commissioners have dealt extensively with statewide transportation issues through their review of the Texas Department of Transportation.

“It is important to remove all remaining mention of the Trans-Texas Corridor from our state’s transportation and tax codes,” Hegar said. “Although the victory of putting a stop of the TTC has already been accomplished, this bill will ensure that it can never be built in the future.”

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