June 19, 2008

The Bait and Hook Scam

Letters to the Editor
The Groveton News
Copyright 2008

Concerning the Trans-Texas Corridor

By now everyone is East Texas has heard it on the 5 o’clock news or read in some newspaper about TxDOT changing the TTC course and it will not be going through East Texas. And we did this merely by voicing our opposition at the TTC hearings!!!

I cannot tell you how many excited calls I have had saying “We won; they won’t be going through Trinity /County.”

Well, I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but this is just another ploy to get the counties who have failed to establish a Sub-Regional Planning Commission to quit trying. TxDOT is hoping everyone will take the bait and it seems as though they have.

In my mind, you put it all together and the agencies have set up a scam a bait and hook” –the bait is to get all commissioners to back away with the general public and consider that TxDOT has done the right thing, from public pressure; the hook is when the public and commissioners do that, the prey is trapped. Then, sometime in the next 3 or 4 years, when all financing and plans are ready for construction, Tier 2, which will have begun without scrutiny, will suddenly find why they must go from established routes to a route that destroys the ecosystem, which we’re trying to save. And, then its: “Oh my”, “we tried so hard, but we’re sure the people will understand that we tried and it just didn’t work. Sorry…

The Houston Chronicle on June 11, 2008 reported Amadeo Saenez, TxDOT’s Executive Director as saying: He will recommend to the Texas Transportation Commission, which sets policy for TxDOT, that only existing highways, principally US 59, will be considered for the route. “Anything not on an existing highway will be set aside and not moved forward, adding that in the distant future—perhaps 50 years from now—that may become necessary.”

The Huntsville item wrote on June 11, 2008: 'TxDOT to look at using existing roads for corridor." Saenez was quoted as saying “Any route that was a new location is no longer going to be moved forward—it’s out of the mix. I can’t say it’s never going to happen, because 50 years from now someone might need to build a second or third loop around Houston.”

Quiz: Can you find the loophole at the end of each statement?

This is not a dead issue by any means. The Trinity-Neches Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission and the Piney Woods Sub-Regional Planning Commission are working diligently to ensure that TxDOT does not get to Tier II of the DEIS.

I urge all those counties that have not yet established a Sub-Regional Planning Commission to DO so ASAP. This is the only legal way to have control over whom and what goes through your jurisdiction.

Connie Fogle, member-At-Large,
Trinity–Neches Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission

© 2008, The Groveton News: www.easttexasnews.com

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