This was yesterday’s press release from the Strayhorn campaign;
Strayhorn Outlines Transportation Plan To TxDOT On Last Day of Comments
Expand Existing IH 35, Implement Ports to Plains, Telecommuting Expansion,
Appoint Inspector General over TxDOT
(Austin) â€“ On the final day the Texas Department of Transportation accepted comment on the Trans Texas Corridor, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Independent Candidate for Governor, today told the agency her administration will expand IH-35 using existing rights of way, implement the ports to plains initiative, expand her successful use of telecommuting and appoint an inspector general to oversee the agency and a transportation ombudsman to talk to Texans.
â€œThis agency is not listening to the people,â€ Strayhorn said. â€œAt 56 hearings over 21 days, TxDOT ignored the overwhelming majority of people who testified against the Trans Texas Catastrophe. They even went so far as to tell Texans that they could not stop this boondoggle â€“ even if they elected a new governor.
â€œWell, they are dead wrong. I will blast this corridor off the bureaucratic books and replace it with a common-sense plan to address our transportation needs.
â€œMy plan is a better approach than the Governorâ€™s secret agreement with a company based in Madrid, Spain, to seize more than half a million acres of private Texas property and build toll roads across the state,â€ she said. â€œThe Governor said if someone has a better idea then lay out that plan. Today, I am outlining a better plan â€“ one that puts Texans first, not special interests.â€
Strayhornâ€™s plan includes protecting Texas farm and ranch land, improving coastal evacuations, increasing capacity of existing freeways and railways, encouraging family-friendly telecommuting, and appointing an independent inspector general over TxDOT as well as an ombudsman to listen to the people.
â€œTexas property belongs to Texans, not foreign companies,â€ Strayhorn said. â€œTo meet our transportation needs we need freeways not toll ways, and we must use existing rights of way and increase efficiency of existing roadways and ports. We must not destroy our precious farm and ranch land.â€
Strayhorn testified against the Trans Texas Corridor at 14 public hearings held by the TxDOT, at which she detailed revenue sources available to the state instead of tolls. The Governor refuses to back off his Trans Texas Corridor plan, despite widespread opposition from Texans at the hearings.
â€œI stood with Texans from the Rio Grande Valley to the Red River who oppose the Governorâ€™s attempt to seize land and build toll roads across Texas,â€ Strayhorn said. â€œI listened to the people of Texas and the people of Texas are overwhelmingly opposed to this $184 billion boondoggle.
â€œTexans deserve to hear the truth,â€ she said. â€œAnd the truth is much of the work to help Texans get from here to there has already been done.â€
Strayhorn submitted three reports to TxDOT â€“ their own 1999 state analysis calling for the expansion of IH 35 using existing rights of way, the Ports to Plains study that will relieve existing congestion by improving transportation from South Texas through West Texas using existing roads, and her recommendation to expand telecommuting.
â€œFamily friendly telecommuting is up to 15 percent in my agency,â€ Strayhorn said. â€œThe employees love it, it keeps folks off the road, and it works,â€ she said.
Â· Increase capacity on IH-35 using existing rights of way without tolls and prioritize the West Texas Ports-to-Plains highway system;
Â· Appoint an independent inspector general and an ombudsman at TxDOT;
Â· Increase the use of Texas ports from Orange to Brownsville and improve rail and road systems from the coast to the interior of Texas;
Â· Improve and increase efficiency of the stateâ€™s rail system along existing rights of way; and
Â· Use telecommuting and staggered work schedules to ease traffic congestion and decrease pollution.
â€œTexas once had and can again have a freeway system that is the envy of the nation,â€ Strayhorn said. â€œI am adamantly opposed to any toll roads in Texas.â€
Strayhornâ€™s transportation plan is part of her Texas First Agenda, a series of initiatives and solutions that she will be releasing in the coming weeks.