Meet TTC-35, the planned mega-toll road corridor between Dallas and Laredo.
The Trans-Texas Corridor toll road twin to Interstate 35 will flank the freeway to the east from Dallas to San Antonio, include the Texas 130 turnpike in Central Texas and go to Laredo rather than Brownsville, according to a draft environmental report that state officials released Tuesday.
The centerpiece of the 4,300-page, 2-foot-thick draft report is a fat blue line showing an approximately 10-mile-wide area from Gainesville to San Antonio and a thinner line running south, delineating what has been a much-anticipated path for the turnpike. The road, to be called TTC-35, is part of Gov. Rick Perry's plan for a network of intrastate toll roads, railroads and utility easements.
Rural Texans, in particular, have been waiting to see whether their lands would fall in that blue swath — indicating that they might have to sell their land someday for the road. Even if a particular parcel lies within that corridor, however, the tale is far from being told.
The draft environmental impact statement is still subject to review, more public hearings and tinkering over the next year.
Then, for particular road segments or rail projects, the state will conduct a second-tier study that will narrow the path to a few hundred feet in width
"We looked at (the map) and said, 'That kills us,' " said Will Lowrance, mayor of Hillsboro, noting that the blue swath is at least 15 miles away from his town on I-35. "That's too far east."
As for the [Texas Farm Bureau], spokesman Gene Hall said, "We're still opposed to it, and we'll do everything we can to stop it."
The 10-mile-wide corridor leaves plenty of room east of Texas 130, which is under construction and should open in 2007, for rail lines.
But, significantly, the recommended corridor does not go far enough east to include an existing Union Pacific line that runs north-south through Elgin and Bastrop.
State officials happily announced last week that Cintra-Zachry, the partnership in line to build the TTC-35 toll road, has submitted a proposal to build a rail line along the corridor from Oklahoma to Mexico.
Cintra-Zachry, composed of the Spanish toll road builder Cintra and Zachry Construction Corp. of San Antonio, has said it would spend $6 billion on a four-lane turnpike from Oklahoma to San Antonio, paying the state $1.2 billion in concession fees.
The recommended route:
- Contains more than 2,400 square miles of prime farmland, 13 square miles of parks and 63 landfills.
- Area includes almost 1 million residents, almost half of them minorities and almost a quarter below the poverty level.
- Could affect the homes of 46 threatened or endangered plant and animal species.
- Includes five federally recognized historic sites of 23 acres or greater.
- Would traverse three major and six minor aquifers.
If you live in the area within this corridor - you can check here for the full draft plan - be on the lookout for those public meetings if you want your voice heard on this. As Eye on Williamson notes, there's a strange reluctance to bring toll road matters to the public's attention.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 05, 2006 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack