TxDOT Set to Begin Series of Town Hall Meetings & Public Hearings
In response to calls from the public for an expanded role in the shaping of state transportation policy, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will hold a series of 11 town hall meetings and 46 public hearings beginning January 15th. These meetings will provide interested Texans with the opportunity to pose questions to a panel of TxDOT representatives on topics such as the Trans-Texas Corridor, comprehensive development agreements, I-69, and related topics.
"As Texas grows from 23 million to 40 million residents over the next several decades, large scale expansion of our highway system will be needed to ensure a healthy business climate and the continued flow of jobs to Texas," said Senator Hegar. "With this tremendous growth we must take great care in planning to protect our natural resources and quality of life. I do not believe a 1,200 foot wide corridor is necessary in Senate District 18, and I know that many of my constituents agree. That is why I strongly encourage attendance at these extremely important meetings."
While Senate District 18 is protected by the two year moratorium prohibiting TxDOT from entering into new comprehensive development agreements for the construction of tolled roadway projects, much work remains: a legislative study committee will begin meeting in January to address concerns that members of the legislature and the public have regarding the financing mechanism for I-69 and the Trans-Texas Corridor (comprehensive development agreements), TxDOT will conduct the aforementioned 11 town hall meetings and 46 public hearings, members of the legislature and public interest groups will continue to study Texas' current and future transportation infrastructure needs and search for innovative ways to meet those needs, and finally, legislators will begin drafting bills for filing in January of 2009.
"In traveling throughout Senate District 18, questions about toll roads are some of the most frequent I encounter so I am extremely encouraged that concerned Texans will be able to voice their ideas and objections in a formal setting. The input of local residents is of the highest value and must be given the weight it deserves," said Senator Hegar.
To prepare for the upcoming meetings, interested parties can reference the recently released I-69 Draft Environmental Impact Statement by visiting http://ttc.keeptexasmoving.com/pdfs/projects/i69/deis/summary.pdf, learn about the hearings in their area at http://ttc.keeptexasmoving.com/projects/i69/hearings.aspx, and submit their written commentary (at which point it will become a part of the materials submitted to the federal government, who must ultimately approve the route for any new highway) at http://ttc.keeptexasmoving.com/comments_questions/comments_i69.aspx.
Senator Hegar is currently serving his first term in the Texas Senate after serving two terms in the House of Representatives. He is a 6th generation Texan, and earns a living farming rice and corn on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800s. The Hegars reside in Katy, Texas.