January 21, 2005
More Trans Texas Corridor stories

I'm glad to see stories skeptical of the Trans Texas Corridor being run, especially on the TV news. There's quite a bit that's good in this KHOU piece from earlier this week, but before I get to that, I need to getan annoyance off my chest first.

It's no secret that Texas is in a jam -- a traffic jam.

Freeways are overcrowded and the state can't afford to build new ones. It can barely maintain the ones we have.

One might get the impression from this that the reason the state can't afford to build more roads or maintain the existing ones is something beyond its control. Which is bollocks - the Legislature and the Governor have made a choice, and that choice is to not raise the gas tax, which is where road funding comes from. The state of Washington made the opposite choice, but Texas did not, and so here we are with the $175 billion pie in the sky toll road plan. Does KHOU not have an economist in their Rolodex who could give them a sound-bite-friendly opinion as to how much we'd have to raise the gas tax to deal with our highway congestion problems?

Having gotten that off my chest, I'll say that the rest of the story did a good job hitting on the main points of contention with the TTC. More like that would be nice.

Elsewhere, the NBC affiliate in Waco has a piece on the skeptical response that the TTC got from McLennan County commissioners.

The Trans-Texas Corridor is one of the boldest highways ever proposed, but what will be the economic impact be on McLennan County? That's what commissioners tried to figure out from state transportation officials at their weekly meeting.

Many of the concerns surrounded the county's tax base because as much as 4,000 acres of rural land would be taken to build the highway. That's tax money the county would lose.

Commissioners are also concerned the county and the state may not have the final say because a private company is building the highway and development of I-35 could be slowed if the focus shifts to the Trans-Texas Corridor.

County Commissioner Wendall Crunk says, “Just about everything I've looked at has been negative for McLennan County.”


TxDOT officials and county commissioners talked for about two hours, but in the end, some commissioners were still not convinced the Trans-Texas Corridor is the best thing.

Commissioner Lester Gibson says, “I did not get any specific answers. The gentleman tried to answer, but it was still vague.”

I'll say it again: The TTC is a big, fat opportunity for whoever carries the Democratic banner in the 2006 gubernatorial election. The more we talk about it, the better.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 21, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

This is more hubris, no highway contractor left behind. With the kind of tolls they are planning to charge, the people who are big enough suckers to buy bonds to finance these roads will probably lose their entire investment. The Houston Press has a revealing article on this boondoggle two weeks ago:

Posted by: Mike Harrington on January 22, 2005 9:54 AM

At least if they do build the thing, we'll at last have something worthy of naming after George W. Bush.

And when it inevitably goes bankrupt, the appropriateness of that name will be overwhelmingly self-evident.

Posted by: Mathwiz on January 26, 2005 5:27 PM

Before exultations on using the TTC as an election issue in 2006 (or ever!!), look at the documents that will be out soon and see how many Democrat bigwigs have a part of the action.

In fact, has anyone looked at the Texas 130 bond documents? I doubt it. We will be in for some surprises.

Posted by: Oh, My! on January 27, 2005 1:30 PM

Craddick's new congressional districk has begun to skim off the fact that it has most of the oil, most of the water, most of the cattle, most of the finest people in texas, and includes both Luckenback and Lowake! Now here comes the trans texas corridor. The foreign corporations building the thing will, (after taking possession of the comdemned land), begin drilling for oil, gas, water, and who knows what else, including sand and gravel, dirt, and ever arrowheads! They will suck out all of the oil, water, and gas that they can get out from underneath the pvivate landowners for miles and miles on the sides of the corridors all over texas.

Posted by: concermed citizen on February 22, 2005 3:00 PM