Thursday, August 24, 2006
Chris Bell on Fighting the Trans Texas Corridor
In 2001, state Comptroller Carole Strayhorn officially recommended that Texas “build more toll roads” all across the state. In 2003, Rick Perry took her up on that recommendation when he rammed through the bill creating the Trans Texas Corridor, a $184 billion land grab that will go down as one of the largest boondoggles in our state’s history. The toll road plan recommended by Strayhorn and passed by Perry will destroy almost 1.5 million acres of prime farmland and will strip Texas landowners of over 150 square miles of privately owned property. All so that Rick Perry could hand out billions of dollars in sweetheart deals to some of his biggest campaign contributors.
I think it’s time we applied something as radical as common sense to this debacle.
Common sense tells us that awarding billion-dollar contracts to major contributors and revolving-door lobbyists just flat out smells. Common sense tells us that it doesn’t pay to pave over millions of acres of some of the world’s richest agricultural land. And common decency tells us that it’s just plan wrong for the government to seize hundreds of square miles of private land and give it to a foreign corporation looking to make a profit on the backs of Texas commuters.
The Trans Texas Corridor is a case study in corruption and cronyism, and one of my first acts as governor would be slamming the brakes on the whole plan and dragging it back into the public light. This deal would never hold up in the light of day. This is corruption you could see from space. Rick Perry just can’t justify giving billion dollar sweetheart deals to his largest contributors. And Carole Strayhorn can pound the podium as loudly as she wants, but she can’t change the fact that it was her staunch and vocal support of toll roads that helped put this ball in motion in the first place. Our leaders have sold us out to the highest bidder, and we need new leaders in Austin if we want to get serious about ending the culture of corruption and cleaning up the Capitol.
Posted by Terry D. Barhorst
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