January 6, 2009

State Officials change Corridor Plan

By Donna McCollum
KTRE-TV (Lufkin - Nacodoches)
Copyright 2008

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX - By trade Larry Shelton is a woodworker. When he's not building cabinets he joins the thousands of East Texas property owners in the fight against the Trans Texas Corridor.

"We were right in the middle of the proper corridor," said Shelton of his rural Nacogdoches County home. The voting member of the Piney Woods Sub Regional Planning Commission is the local voice facing state and federal agencies. He's not easily convinced hearing the news that TX Dot is calling TTC dead. "I'm not really surprised that it took TxDOT 5 years to come to the same conclusion that the people of Texas arrived at immediately," said Shelton.

In Martinsville, the corridor would have sliced right through the school district. Children wrote letters to government offices begging them to reconsider. But the children won't be learning a lesson of victory from their teacher, Jan Tracy, another grassroots advocate against the TTC. "It's very broad," referring to a law passed in 2003 supporting the transportation system. " "And until that law is changed in our legislative session this spring, they can still do whatever they want to do. That's what we're concerned about. "
You'll find the Independent Texans blog claiming "partial victory in fighting the mammoth Trans-Texas Corridor", but writers still call it a "TxDOT spin".

Major corridor projects will now comprise several small segments overseen by local interests. Nacogdoches County Judge Joe English is serving on the segment committee that runs from texarkana to the Angelina River bridge. "In the segment that will go through Nacogdoches County we'll have public hearings on it and get the public's input one more time. "

Like the corridor route, the debate is taking a different direction. You'll hear more opposition concerning toll roads and the use of private public contracts. The issues remain, no matter what the Trans Texas Corridor is called.

Gov. Rick Perry, during a conference call from Iraq, said the smaller version isn't a rejection of his vision. He says his office will continue to work with legislative leaders on building more highways.

Meanwhile, the Piney Woods Sub Regional Planning Commission will meet with TxDOT on January 22nd at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse.

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