Farm Bureau opposes Trans-Texas Corridor

| Friday, September 01, 2006

The Texas Farm Bureau is concerned the Trans-Texas Corridor will eat up a significant amount of valuable farm land.

The $180 billion corridor of toll roads, railways and utility lines is proposed to cut a 1,200-foot-wide swath through 600 miles of the Lone Star State, from Mexico to Oklahoma, using new and existing highways in proximity to Interstate 35.

“The final proposal is still pending; however, if you consider it’s a 1,200-foot-wide path through some of the best farmland in Texas and some of it (the best) in the nation, it’s significant,” Gene Hall, director of public relations for the Texas Farm Bureau, told The Packer, a produce industry newspaper.

While the Farm Bureau is against the Trans-Texas Corridor, other agricultural groups believe some kind of upgraded road system – not necessarily the corridor – would improve the economy for growers and shippers.

The Texas Produce Association, according to The Packer, says many highways are inadequate for produce haulers. However, the Produce Association has not declared an official position on the Trans-Texas Corridor.

Gov. Rick Perry, who lauds the proposed corridor, has had an offensive launched against him by corridor opponents heading toward the Nov. 7 election.

One opponent in the gubernatorial race, Carol Keeton Strayhorn, calls the corridor a “$184 billion Boondoggle,” according to The Associated Press.

The Texas Department of Transportation held 54 public meetings in July and August to inform people about the proposal and to solicit comments. More than 14,000 people attended those meetings, and TXDOT received 3,000 written comments prior to the cut-off date of Aug. 21.

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