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It appears today that TxDOT has come to its knees — at least for the moment, and we can claim a important though partial victory in fighting the mammoth Trans-Texas Corridor. To be sure, this is TxDOT spin, but it is clear that they are responding to all the pressure and outright public disgust at Rick Perry’s efforts to force a project on Texans, despite the universal opposition. They pledge to scale the project back to 600 (rather than 1,200 foot Corridors), and to slow the process down. This is a good start, but it’s clear they are still intent on the public-private partnership toll facilities that we’ve found so objectionable as they take money from transportation sending profits to investors, rather than plowing those funds back in to transportation needs, including the increasing need for public transit in metropolitan areas. And where are those new Corridors going to be? If we have anything to say about it, it will not be through one of the most important farming area in the world — the Blackland Prairie to the east of IH-35 — which will continue the insanity of depleting our most important natural resource — farm soil!
Here’s the link to the TxDOT site on these matters, but you can see the site is moving quite slowly, possibly due to increased “traffic” (pun intended) on their site at: http://www.keeptexasmoving.com/index.php/ttc
This is TxDOT’s statement:
Innovative Connectivity in Texas/Vision 2009
Major changes are underway for the Trans-Texas Corridor, including the projectâ€™s name, vision and scope, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced today.
Whether in far south Texas, the northeast region of the state or somewhere in between, major corridor projects will be comprised of several small segments no more than 600-feet wide and will no longer be called the Trans-Texas Corridor. Each segment will be referred to by its original name, such as SH 130, I-69 and Loop 9. The changes are detailed in Innovative Connectivity in Texas|Vision 2009, the revised version of Crossroads of the Americas: Trans-Texas Corridor Plan that was released today.
TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz unveiled the revisions during his opening remarks at the Fourth Annual Texas Transportation Forum being held at the Hilton Austin.
â€œThat does not mean that we will abdicate our mission,â€ Saenz said. â€œWe will still develop transportation projects that move Texas forward. We will still partner with local governments and entities, and where appropriate, the private sector, to get needed projects on the ground,â€
The Corridor Advisory Committees and Corridor Segment Advisory Committees, comprised of citizens from affected communities, will guide the development of the project, including the various modes of transportation included in the corridor and their locations. TxDOT officials have stressed that the agency will focus on improving existing and planned transportation facilities, rather than breaking new ground for the project.
On a strictly political note, those who rammed the Corridor and privatized and massive toll projects on Texans, starting with Tom DeLay, Texans have helped put out to pasture. Embattled Texas House Speaker, Tom Craddick, just stepped down to be replaced by Rep. Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who voted for the moratorium bills we all pushed so hard for in the last legislative session. TxDOT is getting a spanking — how hard is yet to be seen. And Rick Perry is still left or should we say “right”. Anyway, we predict Perry will be gone very soon if all ordinary Texans — left, center and right — keep working together for open and accountable government.
We invite you to visit this blog more than once today, for updates on this important issue as we expect more today. And, please share your thoughts in the comments section!