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OPEN LETTER TO THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE

Quit putting lipstick on your pig!

DATELINE MADRID, May 22, 2009 (A day that will go down in infamy?) – It is insulting to impugn Texans’ intelligence by pretending that the private toll contract for I-69 (officially called Comprehensive Development Agreement) that both foreign and domestic interests alike are pushing the State to sign is NOT part of the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC). Today, the Texas Legislature may vote to seal its fate as the politicians who sold Texas highways to the highest bidder with its eyes wide open, despite near universal outrage by ordinary Texans.

You tried to dupe the public into thinking the Trans Texas Corridor is “DEAD,” but all we have to do is follow the money to find out your true intentions. As the battle over handing our highways to foreign toll operators has continued to heat-up, some lawmakers have tried to quell their colleagues and their constituents’ natural apprehension by making them believe that signing the Trans Texas Corridor contract to privatize our public roadways is simply upgrading Hwy 77 to interstate I-69. But we know better. As long as Rick Perry still occupies the Governor’s office, we live by the old adage: “Trust but verify.”

Both TxDOT and the private concessionaire, Iridium/ACS, use I-69 and TTC-69 interchangeably (until the Trans Texas Corridor brand name became radioactive). The official designation by Congress since 1995 calls the project “high priority corridors 18 and 20″ and it has referred to it as an international trade corridor. Amendment #2 to SB 17 in committee referred to high priority corridors 18 and 20. The project has also been called “corridor of the future,” NAFTA Superhighway, and more. Regardless of the official name, Texans know the TTC when they see it, so quit trying to put lipstick on your pig.

The news release dated June 26, 2008 from Madrid specifically calls the project the Trans Texas Corridor project I-69/TTC-69 and states ACS will choose the route, develop the timelines, and priority activities for the ENTIRE 1,000 km CORRIDOR for the next 50 years, not simply upgrading Hwy 77 to an interstate in the valley. Hwy 77 is called the “first route.”

The news release further further states:

1) ACS Infrastructures Development, the North American branch of Iridium, the concession development company of ACS, and the Texan concessionaire Zachry American Infrastructure have become the successful bidders for the design, planning and development, as strategic partners of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), of the I-69/TTC infrastructure corridor for the next 50 years.

2) The I-69/TTC (Trans Texas Corridor) will connect the Mexican border with the Gulf of Mexico coastline, Houston and major industrial and logistics centres in Texas with the north of the country.

3) The I-69/TTC development project includes, in its initial design, the construction of a 1,000 kilometre network of highways and roads as well as railway lines. Based on this, ACS and Zachry will draft a Master Plan with the Texas Department of Transportation to establish the priority activities as well as the form and deadlines for their execution.

4) With the award of this project, ACS and Zachry, the largest construction group in the State of Texas, have become strategic partners of the Texas Department of Transportation and shall propose the development of specific projects and activities for which they will have a preferential negotiation option without public tender.

5) In fact, the consortium is already considering the renewal of a first route whose concession will be negotiated with the Texas Department of Transportation, the US 77, which shall include the construction of a series of highways under concession regime connecting to it and which shall require an investment of 2,500 million dollars.

DO NOT vote to re-authorize CDAs. SB 404 and SB 17 are mere window dressing for the Trans Texas Corridor and the sale of our public highways, our lifelines for daily living, to foreign interests. Texans don’t want it, and are hopping mad the Legislature is still pursuing this despite the public outcry. I have not met ONE Texan who is FOR this (notwithstanding the highway lobby). Texans won’t soon forget paying homage to Cintra or ACS to get to work for the next 50 YEARS!

Terri Hall is the Founder of Texas TURF. TURF is a non-partisan grassroots group of citizens concerned about toll road policy and the Trans Texas Corridor. TURF promotes non-toll transportation solutions. For more information, please visit their web site at: www.TexasTURF.org.

Contact: Terri Hall, Founder/Director, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF),
(210) 275-0640
EMAIL: terri@texasTURF.org

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