September 29, 2008

TTC-69 “New Corridor” Alternative Not off the table!

Connie Fogle

Press Release
Trinity-Neches Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission (TNT SRPC)
Copyright 2008

“Even though TXDOT has said the ‘New Corridor’ alternative will not be chosen for the Trans-Texas Corridor 69, we have proof that it is not off the table and could be chosen in the future,” announced Trinity-Neches Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission (TNT) President, Bob Dockens.

TNT recently received a letter from Dennis Cooley, TxDOT’s District Engineer from Lufkin, stating that the new corridor alternative would still be a part of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) when submitted for approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA).

Just a few months ago, TXDOT announced in a major publicity campaign that they would not be recommending the “new corridor” alternative, but would recommend upgrading U.S. 59 to Interstate status as their “preferred alternative” when submitting the FEIS.

“That was a masterful slight-of-hand by TXDOT,” commented Commission Associate, Connie Fogle. Although TxDOT’s announcement appeased lawmakers and some local officials, TNT officials found an FHA regulation that allows TXDOT to go back to the “new corridor” alternative after the study has been approved by the FHA.

Cooley’s letter to the Commission confirms that the new corridor is still a real threat to the local area stating; “the effort made to evaluate the new corridors will be captured in the body of the Tire One FEIS report as an option considered; however, TXDOT will be only recommending advancing the I69 project along existing highway facilities where practical (emphasis added).”

Cooley’s statement confirms that the new corridor alternative will still be a part of the final study. TNT found the regulation (23 CFR 771.127 (b)) that allows the agency to change their preferred alternative after a study has been approved as long as that alternative has been studied in the original document.

Should the Federal Highway Administration approve the FEIS with both the “existing facilities” and “new corridor” alternatives in the final report, TNT believes TXDOT will use this legal loophole to build a new TTC 69 rather than use existing highways. TNT also points out that the word “practical” in Cooley’s letter gives TXDOT total discretion as to whether they use existing facilities.

“We will have lost the opportunity to have meaningful input into the impacts this will have corridor on our local area and economy once the final FEIS is approved with both alternatives. That’s unacceptable,” commented Dockens.

Trinity-Neches Texas
Sub-Regional Planning Commission
500 W. Church. Livingston, TX 77351
Bob Dockens, President

© 2008 Trinity-Neches Texas

September 19, 2008

TNT Sub-Regional Planning Commission meeting with EPA Rescheduled

KTRE-TV (Lufkin / Nacodoches)
Copyright 2008

The Trinity-Neches Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission's September 16th meeting in Corrigan, with the EPA has canceled due to the hurricane. The meeting will be rescheduled for sometime in October.

© 2008 KTRE:

September 17, 2008

South Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission Meets Next Week

Next meeting: September 23, 2008 2pm. St. Hedwig City Hall Agenda 9/23/08

Wilson County and the City of Saint Hedwig have joined together to create the ninth 391 Sub-Regional Planning Commission in the State of Texas, the first in the ACOG Region 18. We had our first meeting on July 31, 2008.

Commissioners are as follows:

President Kathy Palmer St. Hedwig Planning and Zoning Commissioner
Vice President Mary Jo Dylla St. Hedwig Mayor
Secretary/Treasurer Susann Baker St. Hedwig City Council woman

Ralph Gerhart Wilson County Resident

Larry Wiley Wilson County Commissioner

Judge Marvin Quinney Wilson County Judge

SCTRSPC Press Release

TXDOT Coordination Letter

SA Express News Article


July 08 Minutes

© 2008 City of St. Hedwig:

September 10, 2008

Planning committee meeting with EPA about Trans-Texas Corridor

By Mystic Matthews
KTRE-TV (Lufkin / Nacodoches)
Copyright 2008

GROVETON, TX - The Trinity-Neches Texas Sub-Regional Planning Committee, or TNT, is set to meet with the Environmental Protection Agency next week.

TNT says TxDOT has not given enough thought to the environmental impact of the corridor, and they need the EPA to examine the findings they will get from TxDOT about the TTC.

"We're not in opposition to improvement and expansion. We just want to make sure it's done right because once you cover up rural Texas with concrete you can't change it back," says Connie Fogle with TNT.

The Trans-Texas Corridor is expected to use thousands of acres in East Texas if it's built and TNT wants to make sure they realize the impact that it will have on human and animal life.

TNT says TxDOT'S plan is flawed and they want changes made before they will support the plan.

© 2008 WorldNow and
Highway plans spurs formation of group

Elaine Ayo
San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2008

St. Hedwig has homes on large lots and a longtime tradition of rural living. And folks there want to keep it that way.

“We want to be able to maintain as best we can the reason we moved out here in the first place,” said Kathy Palmer, the city’s planning and zoning commissioner.

But a new master plan and recently updated zoning maps are no match for a proposed route of Trans-Texas Corridor 35 that would slice straight through the city of about 2,000 people and create headaches for several city departments, officials said.

With neighboring Wilson County, St. Hedwig has created the South Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission , the ninth such commission formed in the state since last year and the first in the San Antonio area.

St. Hedwig officials say the commission is a way to ensure the state hears their concerns about the corridor proposal, which follows FM 1518 and cuts across the western third of the town’s 30 square miles.

An alternate route being considered would follow Interstate 35. None of the routes for the proposed network of statewide toll roads have been finalized.

State law allows the creation of such commissions and requires state agencies to coordinate plans with them “to the greatest extent feasible.” “The term ‘coordination’ is actually very important,” said Dan Byfield, president of the American Land Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting property rights. “It creates a great amount of power for the local unit of government, that (the state must) work with them. They can’t ignore them.”

Byfield and his wife, Margaret Byfield , executive director of another property rights organization called Stewards of the Range, have been helping local governments in the proposed paths of two TTC projects running between Mexico and the Dallas-Fort Worth area and between Mexico and the Texarkana-Shreveport area.

Concerns over the corridor route may have sparked the formation of the commission, but its potential impact is broader, Wilson County Commissioner Larry Wiley said.

“What we’re wanting is to put ourselves on a more level playing field with other government agencies, to represent the health, safety and welfare of the city, of our county,” Wiley said.

The South Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission had its first meeting July 31 and has another scheduled for Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. at the St. Hedwig City Hall at 13065 FM 1346.

Board members want to finish devising the structure of the commission before inviting other area entities to join, Palmer said.

“It’s making folks aware we’re not just a little Podunk city and you can’t run us over,” Palmer said. “We have a plan.”

Portions © 2008 KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News: