By Tedd Peck &
Dallas, Texas – Poll after poll shows that a majority of Texans are dead set against the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TDOT) agenda to build toll roads that are tied into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) highway. According to Lou Dobbs of CNN there is a plan, Security and Prosperity Partnership, to connect Mexico with Canada via the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC). This corridor is planned to start at Laredo and head toward Dallas and Houston then north parallel with Interstate 35 and on into Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and all points north. It has been reported that the Bush Administration is deeply involved with this master agenda but he scoffs at the mention of a superhighway. Go to http://www.nauwarroom.org and do your own research regarding the prime movers of a North American Union.
The incongruities of the majority of Texans not wanting new highways and TDOT pushing this concept through are abundant. Cash strapped Texans say they want their gas tax dollars used to repair old roads, not in building new toll roads run by foreign entities. However, the politicians controlling this nefarious agenda are spending money to plan and design this unwanted superhighway. If the citizens of a democracy are against this plan why is it going forward and who is moving the agenda? What about public opinion?
The Hidden Agenda of Senator John Carona
One person, who has the power to control the unfolding of the NAFTA highway, letting public opinion be damned, is Texas State Senator (District 16) John Carona. As chairman of the Transportation Committee, in close company with TDOT, it has been reported that he is a strong supporter of TTC-69 and 35. Those in opposition to his stance for a master highway plan, avers it will allow eminent domain to run-amuck in rural Texas in pursuit of tax revenue. Most of the proposed route, to be managed by Cintra Group of Spain and the Macquarie Group from Australia, would be toll roads, adding costs to already high gas prices for Texans.
Carona makes it sound like a progressive idea to eliminate future gridlock for Texans. To the undiscerning eye it might be, but to those property owners facing eminent domain proceedings resulting from these toll road projects, it is a plan from hell. The corridors to be built are 1200 feet wide containing twelve lanes of traffic, right-of-ways for railroads, pipelines and power lines. Contrary to interstate highways being required to provide overpasses over existing county roads and include ingress and egress ramps every few miles for local traffic, corridors are only required to provide overpasses for U.S., state, interstate highways and they ignore local access to the superhighway, thereby literally cutting communities in half. A rancher living a few miles from a school, hospital or public safety provider would be cut off due to the impassability of the corridor. Fire fighters would be forced to drive thirty miles to cross the highway in order to fight a fire one mile away as the crow flies. Carona has written articles appearing in the Dallas Morning News presenting his concern regarding wasted man hours and wasted fuel caused by gridlock on freeways without addressing the dark side of their vision.
Carona’s handling of two legislative bills aptly demonstrates his true agenda. HB 1892 would have mandated a solid two year moratorium on all facets of the TTC, providing needed time to carefully study the impact of such a plan and to give both sides time to state their respective cases. After all, public opinion is at stake here but unwanted if it flies in the face of the power elite like Carona and friends. Although Carona praised HB1892 in public he was one of the few that voted against it in the Senate. Having passed both houses with overwhelming majorities it was reported that Governor Perry held the bill until the last possible moment before its death by veto.
Transportation Commissioner Ric Williamson said this: “Once the Governor decided that this is where we needed to head, he wanted to remove it from the political flow of the state, he wanted it to become policy as opposed to politics, and that was one of the reasons he asked us to move so fast, and we’ve done an admirable job. . . .” Is it any wonder why Perry presented his bill SB792 to his chief sycophant Carona, chairman of the Transportation Committee, with the threat of calling the legislature back into special session again and again until they capitulated to his will? Carona dutifully passed SB792 through his committee with three readings in the same day in order to comply with legislative rules and ensured the bills passage, thereby gaining favor with campaign donors in his upcoming reelection bid. Always follow the money and forget about your constituency when expedient.
Hank Gilbert from Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (TURF) described this bill as, “A junk bill since the only moratorium in that bill was for certain sections of TCC-69 and stopped nothing on TCC-35 and lower TCC-69.” All projects connected to these two routes in the metroplex counties surrounding DFW were exempted in both bills by Carona and his hometown delegation. Not only doing away with the moratorium language, the bill presented a new way to determine toll rates by a process called “market valuation.” This is a euphemism for what ever the market will bear, instead of paying off the cost of the indebtedness of the toll road. State Highway 130 circling Austin, TX is a foreign run toll road that charges $.25 per mile in some locations and $2.50 per mile in other segments.
Carona’s main financial supporters are people connected to the North American SuperCorridor Coalition (NASCO). Some of these people, not unlike Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and NASCO board member Judge Glen Whitely, were reported by Mr. Gilbert to be strong promoters of the NAFTA Superhighway. The same highway Carona now says he is against. NASCO, “is a non-profit, trade and transportation coalition working to make international and domestic trade more efficient and secure…running north and south through the central U.S., Canada and Mexico” according to its website. Similar to the NAFTA Highway and North American Union (NAU) these organizations are strongly endorsed by George W. Bush and his close friend Governor Perry and are incrementally being set into stone through contracts, thereby avoiding the U.S. Senate oversight necessitated by formal treaties. International contracts are placing American soil into the hands of international interests for the sake of private profit at our citizens’ public expense, aided and abetted by men like Carona and Perry.
Recently, during a meeting regarding TTC-35 in Fort Worth all of the people present spoke out against the proposed project except Moncrief and Whitely. It was reported that these two men were booed out of the coliseum. They were definitely in the minority but yet their master plan prevails. The problem, therefore, must be with politicians who say one thing but take countermanding action.
Where there is a will, there is usually a way and in this situation Carona’s opponents found a glitch in the state law in the form of State Statute 391, which allows for the formation of governmental entities called sub regional planning commissions. Gilbert reports that two of these commissions have been formed on the TTC-35 corridor and five commissions on the TCC-69 corridor, basically shutting them down. Proponents of the corridors, including Carona are throwing fits because they did not know this statute existed. “More of them are springing up like flies,” states Gilbert and he reported that Perry wants to do away with this legal impediment when the state legislature comes to order. With this possibility looming on the horizon the citizens against toll roads are organizing commissions as fast as they can so they will be grandfathered, in defiance to the Governor’s master plan that involves policy at the expense of public opinion. In addition, the commissions are enlisting the Environmental Protection Agency in demanding revised impact studies.
When asked what Carona will do to assist Perry, Gilbert states emphatically, “No matter what kind of legislation is necessary to do away with the 391 committees, Perry will have to introduce it through Carona’s Senate transportation committee and Carona will fast track it through the Senate. Carona is completely sold out; he’s nothing but a mouth piece for the transportation lobby.” He went on to add, “It has also been written that Carona is against the TTC, which goes to the heart of the matter by illustrating his duplicity by working diligently to promote the highway at the bidding of the transportation lobbyists.” Is he now publicly against it because the issue has become a hot potato which columnist and commentator Alan Stang wrote in a February 17, 2008, article about Governor Perry and his Republican friends’ intentions to steal property via eminent domain to build this ill thought out super highway?
So in the latest tally the majority has won or at least slowed down the assault of the minority. Can their majority be maintained – only time will tell? Policy vs. Politics!
Why Would Texas Trial Lawyers
In the up-coming race for Texas State Senate, District 16, the trial lawyers have backed their pal John Carona, with time and money. So this reporter asks, why a Republican and not one of their own? A logical explanation would be he is more like them than the Democratic candidate. What we do know is that Carona is clever almost to a fault. As mentioned above Carona has sold out to the highest bidder and used his office to enhance his property management company, pillaging Homeowner Associations (HOA) – another story waiting to be told.
If the majority of Texans against toll roads, corridors and international corporate interests don’t win this battle it may be the impetuous for a forced retreat back to the Alamo and doing battle against the armies of special interest led by John Carona. On the other hand maybe ousting a few entrenched politicians is a more practical solution. Since Carona is facing reelection it may be to the betterment of Texans and lovers of property rights to see him exorcized from office. Politics would then trump policy!