Meetings, TxDot

As most of you are aware, the TxDot folks are conducting a series of meetings. There have been 4 meetings in the month of March. A meeting with Txdot and HDR Consulting Engineers was conducted in Presidio, March 12, Alpine, March 13, Midland, March 19, Ft. Stockton, March 20.

Bob Schwab of Marfa has requested meeting minutes of these hearings through the Open Records Act. It is troubling that it takes a legal document to obtain public information, but that is the case.

From what I have read in local papers and from what I witnessed at the well attended Alpine meeting of March 13, most of the people of the region are opposed to the trade corridor. So what is going here? We have a proposed corridor that we, the tax payers will pay for, which we do not want, or need and will have the double jeopardy of suffering subsequent environmental and economic impacts.

Based on the road construction/widening already underway on Hwy 90 and 67, it’s no surprise that the local people are skeptical about the public hearing process and it’s true intent. By the way these projects are called “Safety Projects“.Peggy Thurin, TxDOT engineer, emphatically stated at the start of the Alpine meeting “I swear on my mothers 80th birthday that this is not a done deal.”

The public money that has already been spent for the ongoing widening of Hwy 90, between Marfa and Alpine and the curve realignment on 67 could have been spent for furthering the South Orient Railroad line necessary upgrades. In this case I believe action speaks louder than words.

At these public hearings, a study questionaire was made available by TxDot.  For those of you that are interested in submitting to TxDot here is the txdot-questionnaire.pdf

Mail questionaire to:     Attention: Peggy Thurin, P.E.

La Entrada al Pacifico Corridor Study

Texas Department of Transportation

17111 Preston Road, Suit 200

Dallas, TX 75248-1232

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11 responses to “Meetings, TxDot

  1. The “La Entrada al Pacifico” is about the dumbest project every proposed by Txdot. Here we sit with a railroad that, with about 1/10th of the money could be upgraded to a decent railroad. This railroad is on our southern boundry and we would prefer to have this rail noise then the 1000 trucks on Hwy 67 which if 4 miles from us. We, last year, had hour and hours of truck come thew us to for the railroad repairs. An Intermodal system starting in Presidio is the wisest move. Now the only people that will benefit from the “La Entrada…….” project would be Presidio and MOTRAN. Everywhere else there would be a detrimental effect. Intermodal is the only way to go. Presidio would still benefit and with great job prospects. Moreso than truck transportation, noise and pollution.

    Keep up the good work.

    Thank you.

  2. Thank you Kerr for leaving a comment. You are the first comment to the posts on this blog. Congrads.
    You are correct about the utilizing the South Orient existing rail line. It is disturbing for us locals to see significant money being spent for highway construction upgrades, when the rail line is simply growing weeds. All research conclusions point to rail intermodal transport as the most energy efficient, mile per ton method of moving cargo. It is also the safest and and helps mitigate costly damage to our highway system. Welcome to the blog and thanks again for your comment

  3. Pamela James Ancell

    Lets start with how many people will die in accidents with the absurd number of trucks that plan to fly down our one highway? We don’t have a hospital that could begin to handle the mess. Who will handle the massive number of inspections… checking for terrorists and contraband..?What will be the environmental impact? The Mexican trucks may not have proper exhaust systems. Who will be making a financial fortune on this deal..?Why would any of our Congressional Representatives be so eager to sell this part of Texas down the tubes?…. Corruption is the Word…Why should we have to pay for any part of this impending nightmare? I would think one of the big railroad companies could handle this problem…Perhaps the companies are not really aware of this opportunity.

  4. Pamela, thank you for your comments, and welcome to the blog. You are correct, there are many safety concerns related to Mexican trucks. First of all, the FMCA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has still yet to release the inspection criteria for inspecting Mexican trucks prior to entering the US. Refer to the Health Matters post on this blog. The lack of response to the request made by non-profit Public Citizen creates more suspicion.
    We have a big calling now to dispell the rumors and expose the facts. Welcome to this effort Pamela.

  5. Kerr Mitchell

    Its interesting and I don’t belive most people know that the company that leases the South Orient Railroad is CEMEX. Or Cemento Mexicana. Its one of the top 5 or 10 largest cement companies in the world. They have or had 9 cement plants in Mexico. Maybe more now and do billions in sales worldwide. I worked for them at one time.

    I am still looking for a TXDOT address so I can write them e-mails. If you can help please let me know. I really would appreciate it.

    Kerr

  6. Kerr, actually Texas Pacifico Transportation a division of Ferromex, is the current lease holder with TxDot for the South Orient line. Union Pacific owns 27% of Ferromex. Ferromex operates the very popular passenger service through Copper Canyon.
    Txdot can be emailed at http://www.dot.state.tx.us/contact_us/
    Thanks for getting involved in the discussions. There will be more detailed railroad talk forthcoming. The railroad funding is available, if private railroad companies apply for those funds.

  7. Kerr Mitchell

    Thank you. The unfortunate TxDot site requests several locations as to where the e-mail should be sent. Oh, well.

    Presidio County has to get there dog into this fight. I have called them but no response so far. I will keep on plugging away.

    Kerr

  8. Kerr Mitchell

    According to what I have read the feasibility study ALONE is gong to cost $1.5 Billion. Now how much would it take to put the railroad in excellent condition???

    Kerr

  9. http://www.txdot.gov/services/transportation_planning_and_programming/rail_plan.htm
    Refer to page 106 and 107 of the TxDot Rail System plan, dated Oct. 2005. TxDot makes mention of 70 mil required for bringing the system into compliance. My own review of a section just off Hwy 67 on the way to Ft. Stockton, reveals substandard rail (70 lb. per yard, in lieu of the standard 115 lb. per yard),
    Cross ties appear to need replacement. The rail bed ballast has weeds growiing through and would need to be dressed up. All in all a lot of work, but beyond a doubt most freight studies and energy used per ton of freight point to the rail as the solution. Read the attached Rail System Study for more information.

  10. Our southern boundry (we are ranchers) is the South Orient. Last year the work done on it whereby they replaces thousands of ties. There were ties piled in Presidio, Plata and on our place. We had over 4,000 piled here. They also did new ballast (purchased in Mexico). So some work has been done but not near enough upgrade to have faster trains.

  11. Thank you Kerr for the details of upgrades in your area. I wonder how miles of upgrades have been completed on the section between Paisano Pass and Presidio?

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