Monthly Archives: May 2007

Trans -Texas Corridor, “The Citizen’s Veto”

Our friendly neighbors to the southeast of us are locked in a struggle over the Trans-Texas Corridor insanity. Linda Curtis the founder of Independent Texans has written the following press release:

For Immediate Release
Dewhurst’s Dilemma
May 21, 2007

 

The Governor’s spin machine is working it today, to make it appear that he’s trying to work out a compromise on the most treacherous issue this session, putting a 2 year moratorium on the Trans-Texas Corridor. Make no mistake. Rick Perry has, so far, successfully thwarted the clear will of a super-majority of ordinary Texans and the Texas legislature, who do not want the Trans-Texas trade Corridor. The only question remaining is where Lt. Governor David Dewhurst will land. Dewhurst appointed Sen. Tommy Williams (R-Woodlands) to chair the Conference Committee that is deliberating on the hot potato bill of the session, SB 792. SB 792 is the second, and last, chance for a Corridor moratorium in the 2007 legislative session.

 

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is being deluged with phone calls, faxes and emails today, asking that he instruct Senator Williams to do the right thing and allow Rep. Lois Kolkhort’s (R-Brenham) Amendment 13, to be attached to SB 792. Amendment 13 closes a loophole that, if not closed, will allow for the Corridor to proceed. State Representatives are also hearing from their constituents. If SB 792 comes to them with Amendment 13, they’re being asked for vote for it. If Amendment 13 is not included, they’re being asked to kill it. The grassroots coalition of groups doing this, led by CorridorWatch.org, are calling this, “The Citizen’s Veto”.


David Stall, co-founder of CorridorWatch says, “I’m sure Governor Perry would like this (SB 792) to become law without amendment 13 so he can blame the legislature when it fails to stop the Trans Texas Corridor. If he can’t get his way this bill may never come out of committee. Either way, the overwhelmingly clear will of the people will have been dismissed in a manner that is an affront to democracy.”

 

Chris Hammell, one of the founders of the Blackland Coalition, the farmer fight-back organization in the richest farmland in Texas, the blackland prairie throughout central Texas says, “As a life-long Republican who just became an independent, I can tell you this. Governor Perry continues to dig a hole for the Republican Party and spur on a populist independent revolt, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in this state since the early part of the last century. If Dewhurst decides to thumb his nose at the people, the Republican Party will lose many more supporters, folks just like me, and the independent movement will rise up out of the ashes.”

 

Linda Curtis, a founder of Independent Texans, one of the organizations that’s worked the hardest to unite the rural, urban and suburban groups fighting both the Corridor and the urban freeway-to-tollway conversions says, “Our rural, urban and suburban coalition, despite Perry and his allies’ attempts to split us up, has only strengthened after seeing the utter treachery of the people happening right under Dewhurst’s nose. Only Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst can come forward now to instruct the conference committee chair that he appointed, to do the right thing. He wants to be Governor, or so we’re told, but he can’t sell out and sell off Texas and do that. This is David Dewhurst’s dilemma.

 

Well over two-thirds of members of both the Texas House and the Texas Senate voted for HB 1892, their first crack at a Corridor/Toll moratorium. However, that bill was vetoed by Gov. Perry, and the Senate has indicated that they will not seek to override on HB 1892, due to what they perceive as a fatal flaw in the bill. The second and last chance is SB 792. However, if SB 792 is ditched, the populist coalition may decide press forward with a move to override the Governor. Stay tuned and don’t be confused in a purposefully confusing situation!

 

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Linda Curtis

Independent Texans

http://indytexans.org

P. O. Box 14294

Austin, TX 78761

512-535-0989 Austin

512-657-2089 cell

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Letter to the Editor

Local Alpine activist, Susan Curry has written a well composed letter to the local media outlets clearly describing our concerns. This letter could be copied and pasted into a letter to your local representative. Please come out for the letter writing/party, June 9, at the Alpine B&B, at 113 W. Holland Ave.

To the Editor:

Some people say it’s a done deal; that MOTRAN has the political clout to have their way; that trucks will be filing down Holland Avenue , spewing diesel exhaust fumes as they inch their way through workday traffic.

At this time, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is performing the La Entrada al Pacifico (LEAP) Corridor Study in order to determine the most efficient location of a potential trade route from Mexico (beginning in Topolobampo, traveling up the Copper Canyon to Chihuahua City and into the United States at Presidio). At the present time the existing LEAP Corridor follows US 67 from Presidio through Marfa and Alpine to IH 10 where it travels along IH10/US 67 through Fort Stockton to US 385 at McCamey before connecting to IH 20 and SH 349 in the Midland/Odessa area.

At the first public meeting of the LEAP Corridor Study set up by TxDOT on March 13, 2007, approximately 350-400 people crammed into the Alpine High School Cafeteria to register their concerns and opposition to this potentially community breaking project.

With this first public meeting, a core group of citizens from Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis , and Marathon began meeting to address the problems we will face due to increased long-haul truck traffic going through our main streets.

As we met and began researching the many angles and various players and ports, we realized that it should not be a “done deal”. If we let it happen without questions being asked and the right answers being given, this whole project could go down as a Texas-sized example of rotten pork at its stinkiest.

Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you donʼt have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.” It seems that a seed sprouted this spring.

Community members from all over the Big Bend began meeting to work on the long-haul truck traffic issue and the Stewards of the Big Bend, a non-partisan citizens’ group of stakeholders who are working together to help determine our own future, germinated. We are prepared to work with our elected officials and TxDOT to find alternatives that will not fill our main streets with traffic congestion, pollution, safety hazards, excessive noise and huge pot-holes. It is no secret that we want tourists crossing our streets, not trucks.

TxDOT says they want our input. Within the project timeline there are two more public meetings scheduled, one in July and the third in January, 2008.

It is at this early stage of the study that out comments are being solicited. The Stewards of the Big Bend (SBB) will host, along with the Bread and Breakfast, a Letter Writing Party/Meeting on Saturday, June 9 from 3-5 p.m. Please join us. We will have things set up for you to send a letter or postcard. If you can’t make it please take the time to tell TxDOT how you feel. You can leave a phone message on the LEAP Corridor Project Hotline at 1-800-517-4652 or you can email TPP_TXDOT-LEAP@DOT.STATE.TX.US. Please check out the web site: www.stopthetrucks.org and leave your comments. If you have any questions call 837-0735 or email the SBB at uptous@sbcglobal.net.

 

Best regards,

Susan Curry

Alpine, Texas

uptous@sbcglobal.net

Good News

The House has voted overwhelmingly to post pone the Bush pilot program that would allow Mexican trucks to drive further than the current 20 mile limit. I would like to see the actual safety inspection criteria used to inspect Mexican trucks that assure compliance to US standards. Will a Mexican truck be turner back should the tractor be shod with retreads?

The criteria for pilot program and safety inspection has been requested by non-profit, Public Citizen of the FMCSA ( Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) but so far the FMCSA has refused to comply. What’s up with that?

Border News

The Border Trade Alliance contains some interesting reading regarding Mexican/US trade issues and “Truckers Fatigue”. Also is an article regarding a proposed inland port in Dallas Ft. Worth. Scroll down about midway to find these articles.

Truck Safety

The latest AP news concerning the proposed pilot program to allow Mexican Trucks to enter the United States, describes a law suit filed to delay the program. In the past a nonprofit group, Public Citizen has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide the safety inspection criteria that will be applied to the Mexican trucks entering the United States. To my knowledge, this safety criteria has never been provided.

So what will the safety inspectors be looking at? Brakes, tires, signal lights? Who knows? Why all the secrecy?

Jeff Davis County Commissioners Court Resolution

The Commissioners Court of Jeff Davis County has issued a resolution, dated and signed April 10, 2007  jeff-davis-county-comm.pdf opposing the La Entrada al Pacifico. The resolution lists in detail potential impacts for Ft. Davis and the surrounding area.