March 16, 2008

Anti-corridor groups plan Monday workshop at civic center

The Lufkin Daily News
Copyright 2008

There's been a lot of talk about the new Trans-Texas Corridor — the next-generation "super-highway" — and opinions are varying. Now the debate is coming to Lufkin's doorstep.

On Monday, the American Land Foundation, Stewards of the Range and TURF will hold a workshop at Lufkin's Pitser Garrison Civic Center on how to stop the Trans-Texas Corridor 69. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A portion of Texas citizens have voiced their opposition to the TTC-69 in public meetings held by the Texas Department of Transportation, but believing they are not being heard, four cities and their school districts have found a way to force TxDOT to "coordinate" with them on the TTC-35 and they are sharing their information across the state.

"Utilizing Chapter 391 of the Texas Local Government Code, four rural towns in Bell County, Texas formed the Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission forcing TxDOT to come to them," stated Fred Grant, attorney and president of Stewards of the Range. Grant has been helping the four cities and school districts for the past six months.

According to, the official Web site for the Trans-Texas Corridor, Texas is growing and is in dire need of a state thoroughfare. The Web site lists some startling statistics: during the past 25 years in Texas, population increased 57 percent, road use grew 95 percent, while state road capacity only grew 8 percent. The predictions for the future of Texas are even grimmer if the corridor isn't built, with road use growing 214 percent while road capacity only growing 6 percent, according to TxDOT, "Right now, we face increased congestion, deteriorating roads, safety issues, and air pollution, all of which hinder mobility as well as current and future economic opportunities," as stated by the TxDOT Web site.

Members of the various commissions campaigning against the corridor will attend the workshop to help answer questions for city leaders, businesses and concerned citizens. "If we can get commissions established up and down the I-69 Corridor we have a real shot at stopping this monster," said Hank Gilbert, director of TURF and one of the workshop speakers. The seminar is open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to attend.

Sign up by calling the American Land Foundation at 800-452-6389, or go online at Pre-registration costs $20 and will be $30 at the door. A workbook and a barbecue lunch will be provided. The Pitser Garrison Civic Center is located at 601 N. Second St.

© 2008, Lufkin Daily News:

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