TTC-35 Formally & Finally Terminated
TxDOT Cancels Contract with Cintra-Zachry
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has delivered the very welcome and long awaited news that plans for a Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) toll road parallel to I-35, TTC-35, have been scrapped. Citing the overwhelming public opposition to the plan, TxDOT has sent word to the Federal Highway Administration that it now favors the "no action alternative," a move unprecedented in recent memory and one that clearly sounds the death knell for the long embattled and fiercely opposed TTC-35 project.
"Today offers proof that when Texans band together and deliver a firm message, their voice will be heard," said Senator Hegar, "For many years I have led the chorus of concern surrounding the use of TTC concepts and toll roads in rural areas, and I relish today's victory for our future generations. While we must remain vigilant in our oversight of TxDOT, today's announcement is unquestionably welcome and long overdue news for the great state of Texas."
The cancelling of TTC-35 reaffirms what thousands of Texans had already determined: that the construction of a parallel TTC roadway to I-35 is neither economically feasible nor practical. Senator Hegar is of firm mind that the same conclusions hold true for I-69, a long-sought project to improve SH 59 to interstate quality whose public support faltered as a result of the ill conceived TTC concepts. In the summer of 2008, he welcomed the good news TxDOT delivered regarding the I-69 project:
- that it would abandon efforts to construct a tolled facility parallel to SH 59 requiring a wholly new footprint,
- that no future contracts would contain "non-compete" clauses that prevent the construction, expansion, or improvement of adjacent roadways,
- that the use of existing right of ways would always be considered in the planning of new roadways,
- that all state highway facilities will continue to be wholly owned by the state,
- that no comprehensive development agreements will be entered into without inclusion of a "buy-back" provision,
- and that no existing free roadways will be converted to tolled roadways.
"I have been very encouraged by the willingness of the department to revisit its plans and give Texans' voice the weight it deserves in the planning process, but you can be assured that I will continue to exercise close oversight to ensure that the needs and desires of rural and suburban Texans are heard," said Senator Hegar.
Senator Hegar's fresh appointment as Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Commission affords him the unique and coveted opportunity to keep alive the close scrutiny of the Texas Department of Transportation that led to today's announcement. TxDOT's charter, and thus its very existence, must be reaffirmed through the passage of a Sunset bill by the 2011 Legislature, a situation that compels the department to remain responsive to both the public and the legislature.
Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. Senate District 18 is made up of nineteen counties and spans over 16,000 square miles. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming rice and corn on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800's. He currently resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.