Monday, July 25, 2005

Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) Update

TTC News Archives is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to keep up with the latest on the TTC. The two latest articles posted on that site are very interesting.

The first one is about how Williamson County Rep. Krusee is trying to make he gets everything the way he wants it on toll roads other than the TTC. They post this article, Of pigs, pythons, doughnuts and eminent domain, from today's Statesman in it's entirety. It's a story of toll roads, commercial facilities and that recent "hot button" topic eminent domain:
What's interesting about it, at least for this column, is language inserted by Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, that would prohibit the Texas Department of Transportation from condemning land to build anything in the median of a toll road other than a convenience store or service station.

If this language survives in a future eminent domain measure -- and both houses said yes to it in SB 62 -- it would cancel to some degree law that the Legislature just passed in May.

Way back then, two months ago, lawmakers said in House Bill 2702 that it would be OK for the Transportation Department to acquire land, either with a willing seller or through condemnation, for an "ancillary facility" on a tollway, including "a gas station, garage, store, hotel, restaurant, or other commercial facility."

Commercial facility, of course, brings in just about anything an entrepreneurial mind can conjure up.

That provision, however, did not apply to the Trans-Texas Corridor, Gov. Rick Perry's proposed 4,000 miles of intrastate toll roads, railroads and utility lines. Rural folks had raised enough of a stink about the idea of losing farm acreage for a Hilton Hotel or a doughnut factory on state land that the corridor was slapped with the gas station/convenience store limitation.

Not so the rest of the state's roads (with or without tolls), mostly because the sponsor of HB 2702, state Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County, wanted it that way.
Not because it's the best thing for Texans. Not because it's what makes sense. Not because it's what's right. Just because Mike Krusee wanted it that way.

The next story is just to remind all of those involved in trying to change what will happen with the TTC. Anything passed this session will not change anything for those in the way of the current TTC route. Here is the story from the Taylor Daily Press, Legislation will not save property in path of TTC:
While lawmakers say they want to limit the ability of all levels of government to take private property, they've steered away from protecting land needed for public projects like highways and railroads. Any legislation that passes might protect citizens from having their property condemned so it can be re-sold to private developers, but it won't offer protection from condemnation to build highways, railroads or similar infrastructure.



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