The debate in Texas over a proposed 4,000-mile network of toll roads that will parallel the state’s existing highway system is heating up
More than 10,000 people have attended public hearings across Texas to discuss the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor, which has also been dubbed the “NAFTA superhighway.” It is a project that is expected to cost an estimated $183 billion over 50 years. (hear audio report)
Terri Hall with the group Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom warns the project will create widespread eminent domain abuse and involve foreign control of public infrastructure. “They’re taking huge swaths of land, up to a million acres of private Texas farm and ranch land,” warns Hall. “Some of it is prime agriculture land … and they’re going to take that land and hand it over to private entities for commercial gain.”
Hall accuses Congress of pulling a “bait and switch” when they promised Texas taxpayers a free interstate. “They designated this corridor route an international trade corridor back in 1995,” argues Hall. “So for Governor Perry, or any of those folks who are trying to push toll roads here in Texas, to try and say that this road stops at the Texas border … that it’s not a NAFTA superhighway … it is an international corridor and it has been designated as such.”
Hall alleges that Governor Perry is “representing the interest of private industry over the public good,” noting he has accepted more than $1 million worth of campaign contributions from road contractors and the “road lobby.”
But the Republican governor is dismissing the concerns of some state residents who are upset the proposed 4,000-mile Trans-Texas Corridor running from Laredo to Canada will turn operation of the public highway system over to private, if not foreign companies. (hear part two of audio report)
Critics of the proposed highway project claim it was never approved by voters, and Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), CNN’s Lou Dobbs, and others call the project a “NAFTA superhighway” and warn it will be part of a “North American Union” between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
Governor Perry calls critics of the Trans-Texas Corridor “unenlightened.” “Here’s what’s more important rather than all of the black helicopter … conspiracy theories,” argues Perry. “We have many, many multi-national groups that run various things … in the United States as we do in other countries, and nobody is going to roll up our highways and carry them back to Spain.”
According to Perry, there is a reason CEO Magazine selected Texas as the number-one state to do business. “… [U]nderstand you have to have a transportation infrastructure system in place so that people can get from point A to point B, and they don’t spend all their time in gridlock instead of being with their kids at soccer practice or back home with their families,” Perry explains.
Governor Perry maintains the controversial transportation network is necessary to “move [the state’s] people and product around” and reduce road congestion.