Mayors Defeat Trans-Texas Corridor and TxDoT
On Oct. 8, the Texas Department of Transportation and Gov. Rick Perry announced that the state has officially killed the Trans Texas Corridor by selecting the "No Build" option under the environmental impact statement study.
Selecting that option was exactly what the Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission (ECTSRPC) forced the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) into choosing, according to a press release from the commission.
"Believe me, it wasn't what they wanted to do, it's what we forced them to do," stated Mae Smith, Mayor of Holland and president of the ECTSRPC. The planning commission began a series of coordination meetings in the fall of 2007, by using a state statute that forced the agency to come to Holland, Texas. TxDoT came to Holland on three different occasions when they were asked to explain why the agency was going to destroy five towns and their school districts with a 1,200 foot-wide, 146-acre per mile toll road.
"Through coordination, we forced them to our table and then we used the federal NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) statute to box them in a legal corner out of which they could not escape," stated Ralph Snyder, a local Holland businessman and board member of the ECTSRPC. "That's what forced TxDoT to recommend 'No Build' to the Federal Highway Administration because we had shown how TxDoT, as the agent of the federal government, had violated the federal statute in at least 29 ways," Snyder continued.
Fred Grant, president of American Stewards of Liberty, is the originator of the coordination strategy. "Had we not had five courageous mayors who represent a total of 6,000 people stand up … the Trans-Texas Corridor would have destroyed hundreds of thousands of private acres of prime and unique farmland, as well as, the economies of every community it dissected," stated Grant.
The TTC-35 is just one of the 4,000 miles of toll roads that nine state planning commissions are fighting. "TxDoT can still continue to build 130, TTC-69, and the Ports-to-Plains toll roads, but defeating the TTC-35 is a major victory for the rural people of Texas."