Trans-Texas Corridor meetings draw thousands

| 8/16/2006

A spokeswoman with the Trans-Texas Corridor calls the 54 public meetings about the controversial project a success.

“Overall, over five weeks, we had over 14,000 attend, and nearly 3,000 comments submitted at the public hearings alone,” spokeswoman Gabriella Garcia told Land Line Magazine. “We expect many more in writing and on the Internet.”

The comment period lasts until Aug. 21 on the proposed route for the “TTC-35,” a nearly 600-mile intermodal transportation system from Mexico to the Oklahoma border complete with truck-only lanes, railway lines and utility easements.

The Texas Department of Transportation scheduled the meetings along a roughly designed swath of where the TTC-35 could eventually be built.

“Our study corridor is by no means the final corridor,” Garcia said.

“Comments ran the gamut,” she said. “Some were in support of the project. Some wanted the project closer to their cities instead of farther away.”

And, of course, there was opposition.

In Temple, TX, people showed up in droves – about 1,500 strong, according to the official count.

Politicians used the meetings to grandstand for or against Gov. Rick Perry’s proposal for the TTC.

The Texas DOT will now spend several months analyzing the public comments once the comment period officially ends.

“We hope to have an answer from the Federal Highway Administration next summer,” Garcia said.

An approval from FHWA means the project would move to the next round of environmental studies, Garcia said.

Texas has in place a designer and consultant for the first phase of the proposal – Cintra-Zachry – consisting of Cintra Concessiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte S.A. of Spain and Zachry Construction Corporation of San Antonio.

The Cintra name is becoming more familiar to Land Line readers. It is the company that partnered with Macquarie Infrastructure Group of Australia to lease the Indiana Toll Road and the Chicago Skyway.

By David Tanner, staff writer