Trans-Texas Corridor draws public comments, outcry

| Friday, March 02, 2007

A state Senate committee in Texas has extended the deadline to submit public comments relating to toll roads, privatization and the Trans-Texas Corridor.

The state Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security extended the deadline by a week following a public hearing Thursday, March 1, in Austin. A staff member said the committee had received more than 1,000 written comments so far.

Dozens of the people who signed up to speak at the hearing were critical of the Trans-Texas Corridor, a proposed 4,000-mile network of toll roads, rail lines and utilities. Among other things, they said they don't want to see the project break up their land or be operated for profit by foreign investors.

Cathie Adams was one of about 125 people who signed up to speak at the public hearing. She not only testified at the public hearing Thursday, but also took part in a protest rally Friday in Austin on behalf of the Texas Eagle Forum, of which she is president.

"Our gasoline taxes have been pilfered," Adams told Land Line during a phone interview Friday. "If those funds would not have been pilfered, we would have had more money in them."

Adams, whose organization fights for family values, said she understands that excessive tolling in Texas would hurt truckers and the economy.

"You all as truck drivers have got to pass that on, so we're paying," Adams said. "We're paying tolls, we're (spending) gas taxes on things like state-employee pay raises. I mean, come on - quit it."

To submit a written comment about the Trans-Texas Corridor, toll roads or privatization, click here and then scroll down to the "Public Hearing Witness Registration Form."

Send comments by mail to:

Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee
PO Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711

Fax comments to (512) 463-2840.

Questions about filing comments should be e-mailed to: john.webb_sc@senate.state.tx.us or called in to (512) 463-0067.

Archived video from Thursday's public hearing is available on the committee's Web site at http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/commit/c640/c640.htm. The hearing lasted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which included about six hours of comments from the general public intermingled with statements from transportation and elected officials.

– By David Tanner, staff writer
david_tanner@landlinemag.com

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