written by Sheila Cox, Cooke County, Texas
The band is on the Austin stage and the fiddler keeps playing a lively rendition of the Trans-Texas Corridor Two-Step. Step one put the left foot forward with plans for massive corridors dancing across Texas with voracious appetites to devour private property ownership rights. In vibrant harmony the voices of Texans rose in opposition to the plan. From the Red River to the Rio Grande, from the Piney Woods to West Texas, from the Sabine River to the Gulf Coast, from the Panhandle to Laredo, and from all points in between, the voices of Texans continue to clearly sing out and to demand a new song.
Step two took a half-step with the right foot forward by declaring that the TTC was dead. However the fiddler sang out that the corridors would be built, even though the TTC had been pronounced dead. Instead of a burial, the TTC was given the new name of Interconnectivity Plan and it underwent cosmetic surgery for a new look.
The fiddler sang about scaling down the obese corridors that had widths of 1200 feet and were bulging with modes for trucks and cars, railways for freight and passengers, utility modes for transmission of all utilities, as well as hotels, restaurants, and gas stations. Texans sighed with relief, but only briefly. The corridor liposuction merely redistributed the fat by separating the modes to be positioned in different locations. A proposed facelift calls for greenbelts outside the edges of the corridors that would result in the taking of even more properties. Texans began to sing the blues with the realization that the loss of so many homes, businesses, farms, and ranches would result in adverse effects on the Texas economy. Texans realized the impact would waltz across Texas and empty their pockets due to job losses from displaced businesses, and inevitable tax increases due to tax roll losses of businesses and properties.
The fiddler has wasted many years and has cost Texans truck loads of tax dollars in attempts to make his TTC Two-Step a big hit. Meanwhile, traffic problems continue to put the brakes on most Texas highways and Texans are not able to scoot their boots because they are stuck in gridlock. For the solution to the TTC two-step, Kay Bailey Hutchison has said she will kill the Trans-Texas Corridor once and for all if elected governor. And one of her first actions will be to issue an “emergency declaration” to have the Legislature consider her Private Property Protection Plan in the first 60 days of the session. While the fiddler vetoed popular eminent domain reform legislation supported by the Texas Farm Bureau, Hutchison has always fought for landowners and will continue to be a friend of Texas landowners in the governor’s office.
Recommended reading: (1) Republican Party of Texas platform (2008, 2006, 2004) and the Texas Democratic Party platform (2008, 2006): both parties criticize the TTC and abusive eminent domain. (2) Texas Transportation Code: Chapter 224 describes property acquisition/eminent domain and cost burdens to counties; Chapter 227 defines the Trans-Texas Corridor. (3) A Citizensâ„¢ Report on the Current and Future Needs of the I-35 Corridor: prepared and released by the I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee, November 12, 2008. About the author: Sheila Cox resides in Cooke County and serves on the I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Texas Federation of Republican Women and serves as Legislative Chairman with the Cooke County Republican Women. She has received national recognition in two fields: in teaching as a recipient of “Outstanding Secondary Educators of America”; and in real estate marketing as an inductee into the “Merrill Lynch Realty Leading Edge Society”. Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org