Public hearing, protest rally center on Trans-Texas Corridor

| 2/28/2007

Texans are getting a chance to speak their minds on proposals such as the Trans-Texas Corridor and other toll roads at a public hearing Thursday, March 1.

And on the following day - Texas Independence Day - opponents of the corridor have scheduled a rally to protest the proposed 4,000-mile network of toll roads, railway lines and utilities.

Both events are scheduled at the state Capitol in Austin.

The Texas State Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security has scheduled a public hearing from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday in the Extension Auditorium in the state Capitol. The three topics listed on the agenda are the Trans-Texas Corridor, public-private partnerships and toll roads.

"Except for a few expert witnesses, the hearing is dedicated to listening to public concerns," committee chairman Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, stated in a press release.

Carona, like other fellow Texans who want to pull back on the reins on such projects, has said there has not been enough public input into the proposed 4,000-mile Trans-Texas Corridor network of toll roads, railway lines and utilities.

Forms to sign up to testify at the hearing are available at the committee office, (512) 463-0067, by fax at (512) 463-2840, or by e-mail at

The day after the hearing, several grassroots groups have plans to participate in a protest rally against the Trans-Texas Corridor.

The Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance, Corridor Watch and Citizens for a Better Waller County are involved in the rally, dubbed "Don't Tag Texas."

They intend to parade up Congress Avenue on Friday, March 2, toward the state Capitol. Some people will have their livestock and farm equipment in tow to protest not only the Trans-Texas Corridor, but a government proposal to tag all livestock through the National Animal Identification System, according to promotions on the groups' Web sites.

With March 2 being Texas Independence Day, the grassroots groups vow to celebrate their independence by protesting the proposed toll network and government control of their farms and farmland.

"The TTC stands to be the largest land-grab and eminent domain project in the history of this country," 2006 Democratic candidate for Texas Agricultural Commissioner said in a press release for the Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance.

- By David Tanner, staff writer