May 04, 2005
Trans-Texas Corridor protest

The protest against the Trans-Texas Corridor, which I noted previously, took place as planned, with an interesting cheerleader getting out in front.

Farmers and ranchers flocked to the Capitol on Tuesday with their sights set on stopping Gov. Rick Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor, a huge highway project that rural landowners say will gobble up their property.

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn one of Mr. Perry's potential Republican opponents in 2006 joined the angry rally and called the governor's associates "land-grabbing highway henchmen."

"Governor Perry and his Department of Transportation want to cram toll roads down Texans' throats. He calls it Trans-Texas Corridor. We call it Trans-Texas Catastrophe," she said.

With all the attention paid lately to KBH, it's nice to see CKS remind everyone that she's still around. PerryVsWorld certainly noticed.

A spokesman for Mr. Perry watched the rally and chastised Mrs. Strayhorn for criticizing toll roads. He cited records showing her support for them in the past and said those who criticize should offer their own solutions.

"Would they raise the gas tax by one dollar? ... Would they expand I-35 through our cities, which is some of the most expensive real estate in the state? Or would they do nothing and continue to allow congestion to increase?" asked the spokesman, Robert Black.

First of all, support for toll roads in general has nothing to do with opposition to the TTC. I have no problem with the concept of toll roads - they certainly have their place in the transportation ecology - but that doesn't make the TTC any less a boondoggle. As for the claim about raising gas taxes by a dollar, I've dealt with that before and still haven't seen anything resembling an explanation for its genesis or justification.

Republican and Democratic legislators addressed the rally, urging that limits be placed on the corridor plan.

"The government is out of control. They're trying to take our property rights away from us," said Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville.

Some in the crowd identified themselves as conservative Republicans and said this was the first political rally they'd ever attended.

"I already wrote a note to his e-mail and said he needs to be run out of town on a rail. But that's too good for him," said Betty Meischen of Austin County.

Ms. Meischen said one proposed corridor road would divide the 160-acre farm that has been in her family for generations.

Cattle rancher Leroy Bacak of El Campo and his wife, Laverne, said they have two pieces of property totaling 250 acres. One corridor proposal could place a major highway between the two, preventing the movement of ranch equipment back and forth, Mr. Bacak said.

I continue to believe that the TTC, which is now officially opposed by the Republican Party of Texas, will be a political liability for Rick Perry next year. I'm glad to see Chris Bell is picking up on that. More like this, please.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 04, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

Luckily, CKS got in under the wire, before she'd be subject to the house ban on "overly suggestive" cheerleading.

Not that she'd ever be in violation. Just nice to know she had the freedom to express her spirit however she saw fit.

Posted by: Ellen on May 4, 2005 6:46 AM

Y'all in Houston must be lucky to miss out on the Comptroller's weekly efforts to get in the papers. CKMRS has gotten real friendly with the anti-toll road folks:

Posted by: Jeb on May 4, 2005 10:08 AM