The state’s largest farm organization is in favor of legislation that would terminate the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) in both name and concept.
Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke expressed support for HB 11 by State Rep. David McQuade Leibowitz (D-San Antonio), which repeals the authority for the establishment and operation of the massive transportation project.
“We hope you will agree with us that it is finally time to kill the Trans-Texas Corridor,” Dierschke testified before the House Transportation Committee on April 21.
Although the farm organization recognizes the need to build and maintain Texas’ infrastructure, Dierschke said Texas Farm Bureau policy clearly opposes the TTC due to potential losses of agricultural land and the loss of access to rural communities and private property.
“If new highways are needed, landowners should have reasonable access to their property where farms and ranches have been divided,” Dierschke said, criticizing TTC’s model of limited access. “Or, they should at least be compensated where their property is devalued due to loss of access.
“Of course, as we have learned through the debate on eminent domain, TxDOT does not compensate property owners for diminished access,” he added.
An announcement in January by Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Amadeo Saenz concerning the name change—from “TTC” to “Vision 2009: Innovative Connectivity in Texas”—does not mean the massive transportation project is dead.
“As long as the authority remains in law to construct the TTC, it is merely dormant—like a weed waiting for the right conditions to grow again,” Dierschke said.
If the TTC is in fact “dead,” Dierschke said there would be no further need for the authority under Chapter 227 of the Transportation Code for the establishment, designation, construction or operation of a system of multimodal facilities, including toll roads, rail facilities and utilities.
“The sensible course of action is to repeal these laws,” he suggested. “There are adequate financing tools for new highways and other roadways found in other chapters of the Transportation Code.”