Politicians claim Trans Texas Corridor dead without any action proving it

Link to article here. During campaign season when politicians have to face the voters at the ballot box, two in particular, Texas Speaker of the House Tom Craddick and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, are claiming the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) is dead to quell the people’s wrath against the deeply unpopular project. However, NO ACTION has been taken by either politician to actually stop it. No law has been changed, no legally binding changes have been made to TxDOT’s environmental documents submitted to the feds, no Transportation Commission Minute Orders rescinded, NOTHING has been changed or revoked to kill the TTC or give a basis for saying the TTC is dead. In fact, it continues to barrel ahead.

Is Trans-Texas Corridor dead or only undead?
By Fred Afflerbach
Published October 31, 2008

Put a fork in it. That’s what two Texas politicians recently said about the controversial Trans-Texas Corridor.“Everybody in Austin knows it’s dead. Everybody across the state knows it’s dead. It’s just something to be talking about,” House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, said at a debate in Midland on Oct. 19, according to a published report.

But folks fighting the corridor here in Central Texas call it election season bluster.

“Yes, they are still planning to do it,” said Mae Smith, Holland mayor. “That’s nothing but political talk. I don’t believe anything Mr. Craddick says, or any politician says prior to election.”

Ms. Smith is also president of the Eastern Central Texas Sub-regional Planning Commission, a group of mayors and school board members who are working to stop the corridor by pushing environmental impact studies. The commission says expansion of Interstate 35 is a viable alternative.

“We’re not denying there is a traffic problem. But keep it in the footprint of I-35 . . . and not destroy our prime farm land, school districts and towns,” Ms. Smith said.

A spokeswoman for Craddick responded Thursday.

“The House overwhelmingly voted to place a moratorium on the Trans-Texas Corridor because of various issues that were raised, such as property rights and toll roads. Currently, the House Transportation Committee, the House Appropriations Committee and the Sunset Advisory Commission, as well as the state auditor, have been investigating these matters. It is clear from what has come back from these committees that the Trans-Texas Corridor will be addressed once and for all in this next session of the Legislature.”

And that worries folks like Ms. Smith. Once the election is over, the Legislature will go back to work pushing the corridor.

Speaking from the Milam County seat of Cameron on Wednesday, State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan – not up for re-election until 2010 – said he agreed with Craddick’s statement.

Copyright © 2008, Temple Daily Telegram