Doggett challenges Trans-Texas Corridor
U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett, in questioning U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters, blasted the secretive process by which the State of Texas and the federal government have collaborated to promote the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC).
“I’ve seen the signs on fence-posts and talked with people Caldwell County concerning the Trans- Texas Corridor,” Doggett s
aid. “While we want an adequate transportation system, it should not come at the expense of our property rights and our way of life.”
At a recent hearing of the House Budget Committee, Doggett told Peters that, “The Administration seemingly wants to encourage a secretive process to build a 10-mile-wide highway – perhaps built by a foreign firm – that would separate someone’s century-old farmhouse or ranch home from their pastures and fields. Our farmers and ranchers are treated as roadkill when it comes to participation in the process. I think we have some responsibility to taxpayers to safeguard property rights, and involve the public in the decision making process.”
In further questioning, Doggett raised the issue of adding tolls to existing federal highways in Texas.
“We cannot allow Texas to add tolls to highways that taxpayers have already paid for,” Doggett said. “We have a Governor in Texas that seems to have never met a highway that he didn’t think he could toll. If the Governor had his way we would have toll roads blossoming like Texas wildflowers in the spring.”
Doggett also stated his continued opposition to a Bush Administration budget proposal to create incentives for states to add toll roads.
Some are concerned that the TTC is the first link in a possible “NAFTA Superhighway” – running from Mexico to Canada. Congressman Doggett noted that in July, the House approved an amendment to prohibit federal transportation dollars from funding the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a trilateral initiative linking the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
“I am greatly concerned by the Secretary of Transportation’s indifference to the concerns many of our neighbors have been raising about the Texas-Trans Corridor,” Doggett said at the end of the hearing. “I will oppose letting states like Texas buy back highways that taxpayers have already paid for and then selling them to foreign companies to run as for-profit toll ways.”
(Courtesy of Wyeth Ruthven)