Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What I said in Hillsboro at the TxDot Hearing

July 13, 2006 Hillsboro TxDot meeting re: TRANS TEXAS CORRIDOR-35

Amidst all this talk of projected growth rates and traffic congestion on our local roadways, you would think that these fine people from TxDot might better spend their time and talents addressing these issues, not trying to build a NAFTA super highway. We need upgraded roadways and we need better-designed cities with creative solutions to the very real challenges we face from growth. Problem is, solving the day-to-day travel problems of most Texans is NOT what the TTC is all about. It just isn't.

This is not primarily about passenger cars or even viable public transportation. It is not about moving people to and from their jobs or getting your kids to school safely. It just isn't. This whole Corridor principle is about relieving congestion at our seaports resulting from the massive influx of products from Asia. Containers packed in Shanghai will be brought by boat to Mexican ports to be loaded onto trucks that will barely slow down at the Texas border on their race to the new SmartPort in Kansas City....from there to be distributed throughout our country and into Canada.This is the FedEx hub model gone Global. This is about global trade and the ONE MILLION acres of Texas land alone that will be required by this project. That is 146 acres for every mile of roadway. To these road-builders, our towns and rural communities, our lakes and rivers, our ranches, farms, woodlands and prairies are of no importance. We are just in the way of some urban planner's concept of "progress". Some new vision of what Texas ought to look like. We must be mollified first and removed next. This hearing is part of that process.

The Trans-Texas Corridor will not enrich the lives or the economics of ordinary Texans. It will simply move goods faster, not PEOPLE, and certainly not people just trying to get to work or to school. This is a very limited-access roadway and you will only be able to cross it every 50 miles or so. Towns will be carved up. Water sources will become increasingly polluted and scarce. Fertile farm and ranch land will be lost forever to miles of asphalt and security fences. This is not about helping US, the folks who live and work in Texas today, it just isn't.

Even the road itself would be operated by a foreign company. CINTRA, headquartered in Spain, has already paid the State of Texas 7.5 Billion dollars just for the right to run this road project. Use eminent domain to acquire land from Texans to lease to a foreign company to generate revenue. Is this even legal? We must all contact our elected officials and tell them we are not interested in giving up our state to this super-highway. Write letters to your local newspapers. Talk to your neighbors. Call for a statewide VOTE on this project. They cannot do this without Texas land and the cooperation of our state and local officials. We are the Gateway to Mexico and if this Corridor concept does not succeed here, it will not happen. What we stand to lose in community integrity, air and water quality is just not worth cheap goods from China. Texas is better than this.

Stop this project now or watch Texas morph into something you and I will no longer recognize as our home. Stand up, stand together and speak out. Let our "leaders" know what WE want and replace them if they don't listen. There is power in numbers. Let's USE that power.

- Susan Cook

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