Group plans Saturday rally to oppose Trans-Texas Corridor

| 4/3/2008

Opponents of the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor plan to stage a big march and rally Saturday, April 5, at the Capitol in Austin.

Gov. Rick Perry’s corridor plan calls for 4,000 miles of privately financed and operated toll roads throughout the state.

Rally organizer Terri Hall, executive director of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom – or TURF – said if the toll roads are built, truckers will pay a high price.

“They’ll be facing 50 cents a mile minimum truck start toll rates, added onto our already high cost of fuel,” Hall told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio.

“This will be an absolute disaster for the trucking industry that already operates at a very thin margin of profit, if not now running at a loss with the gas prices we’re seeing.”

The Trans-Texas Corridor protest march is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday in Austin, with the rally at the south steps of the statehouse scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Click here for carpool times and locations posted by members of TURF.

Invited speakers at the rally include representatives of the Teamsters, Eagle Forum and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility in addition to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, R-VA, Oklahoma state Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, and several Texas lawmakers who are not named in the TURF press release.

Gov. Perry proposed the Trans-Texas Corridor in 2003 as a way to meet the next 50 years of transportation needs in Texas.

Transportation needs in the Lone Star State are being driven partially by population growth.

Phillip Russell, TxDOT assistant executive director for innovative project development, including the Trans-Texas Corridor, recently told the Texas Senate Finance Committee that the state needs to expand on its 80,000 miles of public highways to keep up with population growth and public demand.

Thousands of people are calling Texas their new home each day, he said.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that Dallas-Fort Worth is the fastest-growing U.S. city and that Houston, San Antonio and Austin are in the Top 10.

– Staff Writers Reed Black and David Tanner contributed to this report.