Willie's name: Off the road again?

| 4/18/2005

A state lawmaker in Texas wants to name a toll road now under construction to honor singer Willie Nelson. But some of his fellow legislators have other plans.

Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, a Democrat from Austin, introduced SB802. Under the bill, a stretch of Texas Highway 130 now under construction, would be named for the singer. The designation would cover Route 130 through Williamson and Travis counties from Interstate 35 to Texas Route 195, and from state Highway 183 to state Highway 45.

Originally, the measure would have named the entire 49 miles of the road for the singer, the Austin American-Statesman reported. However, Republicans in the Statehouse objected, and now 18 miles of the highway will be named something else.

While at least one Republican mentioned an objection to naming highways for people still alive, the newspaper noted that roads have been named for several people who are still in the “can-fog-a-mirror” category – including Baseball great Nolan Ryan, former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and President George W. Bush.

The bill was approved by the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee on a 7-0 vote.