March 8, 2008

TxDOT continues coordination with Regional Planning Commission

Texas Department of Transportation
North Texas E-News
Copyright 2008

For the second time in three months, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has come to Holland, Texas to meet with the Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission (ECTSRPC) over the Trans-Texas Corridor.

"They (TxDOT) are required by law to meet with us, and it's good to know they will comply," said Mae Smith, president of the ECTSRPC and mayor of Holland.

TxDOT sent eight staff, including Ed Pensock, director of Corridor Systems of Texas Turnpike Authority, Doug Booher, Environmental Manager, Dieter Billek in charge of the Master Development Plan for the Trans-Texas Corridor, John Bourne, an economist and contractor with TxDOT, John Obr, Area Engineer for the Waco District, and Richard Skopik, P.E., district engineer for the Waco District. Each made presentations and answered specific questions raised by the ECTSRPC.

"We are pointing out all the deficiencies in their environmental impact study, their economic studies, as well as all of the federal laws they must abide by, but have failed to do," said Ralph Snyder, ECTSRPC director and Holland businessman.

TxDOT informed the commission that they expect a Record of Decision by the Federal Highway Administration on the TTC-35 by the summer of 2008. TxDOT admitted that the ECTSRPC was doing exactly what was needed and lauded the commission's work in representing rural concerns.

"If you don't tell us these things, nobody will," said Skopik.

The Commission's stated purpose is to prevent the Trans-Texas Corridor from running through their jurisdiction, which is comprised of the cities and their respective school districts.

"The commission is becoming a powerful tool to show TxDOT, the EPA, and the Federal Highway Administration where they are not abiding by federal statutes," said Kerry Owens, member of commission representing Academy School District.

The meeting continues the coordination process started by the ECTSRPC with TxDOT to inform the state as to their objections and specific concerns with how the TTC will take up to 3,500 acres in their jurisdiction which the commission believes will destroy the communities and school districts of Bartlett, Holland, Little River-Academy, and Rogers.

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