A citizens’ advisory committee appointed to advise the Texas Transportation Commission agrees with Texas Farm Bureau that the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) concept needs to be scrapped and new avenues explored to meet the Lone Star State's transportation needs, according to TFB President Kenneth Dierschke.
“This advisory committee does not support the TTC concept,” A Citizens’ Report on the Current and Future Needs of the I-35 Corridor, issued Nov. 12, stated. “Instead we recommend a more inclusive solution that respects local communities and private property rights while addressing statewide and local transportation needs.”
Dierschke said the state’s largest farm organization agrees with many of the report recommendations, especially as they relate to minimizing the impact of the proposed transportation project on rural Texas.
“We all recognize the need to address the future transportation concerns of a growing state,” Dierschke said. “However, Texas Farm Bureau members believe common sense needs to be brought into the process and that a healthy respect must be maintained for the rights of private property owners.”
The report said existing rights of way, wherever possible, should be considered first when determining the transportation needs of Texans. When additional right of way is necessary, acquisition should be limited in nature, it said. For new alignments, the report suggested local elected officials be able to fully consider alternatives and decisions so that the “best choices are made for the benefits of all users of I-35.”
“Of great importance to all Texas citizens is the acknowledgement by the committee that all efforts should be made to minimize the impact to private property owners,” Dierschke said. “That’s something Farm Bureau has been preaching from the beginning.”
Specifically, the report recommended that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) should coordinate with “Texas Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups on how to minimize the impacts on the farming and ranching community, as well as improve safety.” The report also recommended that farmers and ranchers, whose land will be divided by a transportation project, be consulted early when determining placement and cost of agricultural crossings to ensure adequate spacing and minimum inconvenience.
The committee is one of two citizens’ advisory committees, representing a cross-section of community and business leaders, land owners, local transportation experts and other interested parties, appointed to advise the Texas Transportation Commission on the planning of the I-35 and I-69 corridors. The I-35 report cites impacts of corridor development, including economic, political, societal and other concerns. A report by the I-69 committee is expected in the next few weeks.