"Governor's race has become a referendum on the Trans Texas Corridor" says Dallas news station!

See news story here.

Link to video of news story here.

This is critical because it’s Perry’s base of support. You may recall an article on our blog a few weeks ago (see it here) where Perry thumbed his nose at the opposition to tolls and the Trans Texas Corridor in Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and elsewhere because he knows all he needs to win is Dallas and Houston, which are heavily Republican. Now that base is cracking under the weight of the TTC and our grassroots movement!

Trans-Texas Corridor hot issue in governor’s race
October 17, 2006
WFAA-TVFarmers and ranchers flocked to the Capitol in May 2005 to protest Gov. Rick Perry’s Trans-Texas Corridor, which they say is gobbling up their property.

The governor’s race is becoming a referendum on the Trans-Texas Corridor toll road.

Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Perry supports the TTC that would parallel Interstate 35 from Laredo to Oklahoma.

However, it could gobble up 81,000 acres of rural land (our emphasis: just for the first leg, TTC-35) according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Also, a large chunk of the land used would be in North Texas.

Lance Haynes, a Republican, said he wonders if his family’s 68 acres in rural Collin County might be covered in concrete in the near future.

The land lies within the path where the state could route the TTC and he’s worried.

“It has the potential to completely wipe out everything that our family has here,” he said.

With population and traffic congestion growing in Texas and funds tight, Perry said the TTC is the quickest answer.

“We must build more roads and we must build infrastructure that works safely, thoughtfully and that’s economically viable,” he said.

While wide open spaces separate the landowners in the path of the TTC, they are very much together in opposing it and have lots of company. The Texas Farm Bureau, and even the Texas Republican Party, is against the TTC.

Perry’s opponents, Democrat Chris Bell and Independents Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn, are also adversaries of the plan.

Strayhorn attended many of the public hearing on the TTC over the summer.

“They are literally cramming toll roads down Texans’ throats; and the people don’t want it,” she said.

A TexDOT video explains that a private company would finance and build the corridor in return for collecting tolls for 50 years.

Cintra-Zachry, mostly owned by a Spanish company, is designing the TTC and will bid to build it.

“If someone has a better plan bring it to the hearings,” Perry has responded to the criticism.

But opponents, partially financed by Strayhorn, made a web video as well that lampoons the TTC and Perry.

Perry, whose hometown of Paint Creek is north of Abilene, said he is listening.

“I’m sensitive to those landowners,” he said. “I come from a very rural area.”

But many rural voters deeply disagree.

“But doing it in a manner that disregards the concerns of local government and citizens, I can’t endorse that,” Haynes said on Perry’s position.