Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Adios Trans-Texas corridor: reflecting on one of Perry's big failures

Perry's TTC would have been owned by Spain

From The Burnt Orange Report
By Adam Schwitters

The first big problem with the TTC was geographical.  The corridor was to be 1200 feet wide and ultimately 4000 miles long.  That is a lot of land! Land that would have required extensive unprecedented abuse of eminent domain  laws for the "state" to acquire.  The full system would have needed over 500,000 acres of land that was usually privately owned and often adjacent to critical wildlife habitats.  
Rick Perry, the supposed champion of minimal government and conservatism, was going to decree, via fiat, that an area of the state larger than New Jersey would suddenly belong not even to Texas itself, but to a Spanish developer, Cintra-Zachary.  
Needless to say, this upset more than a few people. Conservatives objected to the prospect of widespread seizures of private lands. Progressives despised the proposed sale of such a vast region to a company that would have turned Texas into a pipeline for cheap goods from Mexico and Asia and left ordinary Texans watching vast sums of money flow by  while gaining little, if any, benefits.
The TTC was essentially shelved in 2009 as a result of public outrage, yet Perry continues to believe that massive toll roads owned and operated by private developers is the only answer to Texas's transportation woes.  It is not at all clear that privately owned toll roads offer any congestion relief.  A much smaller project built and owned entirely through private funding, the Camino Columbia Toll Road (a bridge between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo), failed as drivers refused to pay its onerous tolls, and it only carried 13% of the traffic it had been projected to carry.

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