August 28, 2007

Four cities oppose corridor

by Clay Coppedge
Temple Daily Telegram
Copyright 2007

HOLLAND - Four cities in one of the proposed routes for the Trans-Texas Corridor have banded together to fight the corridor.

The cities of Bartlett, Holland, Little River-Academy and Rogers have formed the Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission.

Holland mayor Mae Smith is president of the commission. Other board members include mayors Arthur White of Bartlett, Ronnie White of Little River-Academy and Billy Crow of Rogers along with Holland business owner Ralph Snyder.

“If the Trans-Texas Corridor goes through as planned, it will make a ghost town of Holland,” Ms. Smith said Monday. “The people who live here work out of here. If they have to drive an extra 50 miles to get in and out of town they will move.”

She also cited infrastructure issues, including water and utilities that will increase in cost if the corridor goes through.

Gov. Rick Perry announced the concept of the Trans-Texas Corridor in 2002 as a series of six-lane highways with separate lanes for cars and commercial trucks, high-speed rail lines and utility corridors. The corridors could be as wide as 1,200 feet.

TTC-35, the first phase of the project, would run about 600 miles from Gainesville to Laredo, roughly parallel to Interstate 35. Construction would be phased in gradually over 50 years with the most congested areas getting the first segments.

An international consortium, Cintra-Zachry, would build the road, set the toll rates and operate concessions along the corridors.

The proposal has drawn widespread opposition from cities and landowners along its proposed route.

The area commission was formed to enforce the Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 391, which allows cities and counties to form regional planning commissions to work together to develop plans for their local region and to force state agencies to coordinate with their activities.

“TxDOT must coordinate with us before they can implement their plans in our region,” White said. “The TTC is driven by greed and has no respect for our rural way of life.”

“By law, the state must meet with us before they implement any of these plans,” Ms. Smith said. “… We may not stop it but we’re going to make sure they at least follow the law before they do this to us.”

© 2007 Temple Daily Telegram:

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