Saturday, June 2, 2007

NASCO - NORTH AMERICA’S SUPERCORRIDOR COALITION, INC and its role in changing Texas and US Transportation Law

By Faith Chatham= crossposted on Texas Kaos, Daily Kos and Burnt Orange Report
Governor Rick Perry has used campaign contributions from his Texans for Rick Perry committee to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, today to address the secret Bilderberg Conference, “a meeting of about 130 international leaders in business, media and politics.” Read more:
Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, international leaders met at the Worthington Hotel in a NASCO conference hosted by TxDOT, Tarrant County, The City of Fort Worth and NASCO. Several leaders of the NCTCOG RTC are board members of NASCO.

For more than 12 years North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition (NASCO) and its members have stood at the forefront of driving public and private sectors to unite to address strategically critical national and international trade, transportation, security and environmental issues.
Our focus is on maximizing the efficiency of our existing transportation infrastructure to support international trade. We recognize the extraordinary implications for our nation’s long-term economic prosperity of our transport system’s ability to sustain that growth.
NASCO, a non-profit group initially founded in 1994 as the I-35 Corridor Coalition, represents member cities, counties, states, provinces and private sector members devoted to maximizing the efficiency and operations of the existing U.S. Interstate Highways 35/29/94 (the NASCO SuperCorridor) and the intermodal inland ports NASCO has inspired to sprout along them. Never
have our efforts been more needed or been more urgent.

They site projected growth as justification:

As U.S. Federal Highway Administrators and state road association leaders clearly understand, the U.S., in general, and our Corridor through its heartland in particular, face daunting challenges in adapting to absorb the coming tsunami of burgeoning cargo freight tonnage. U.S. studies forecast national freight tonnage to increase nearly 70 percent by 2020. General cargo tonnage is projected to more than double, with some key freight gateways expected to see a tripling in freight volumes between 1998 and 2020.

Despite evidence that America now exports more raw material than finished goods and imports most finished goods, they write:
As the demand for freight transportation grows, so will its overall contribution to the nation’s economy and its challenges to highway capacity, congestion and the local environments. In 1970, international trade represented just 12 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By 2000, trade surged to 25% of U.S. GDP. U.S. economists, however, expect trade to leap to 35% or more of U.S. GDP by 2020.

They acknowledge their role:
From almost immediately after the Jan. 1, 1994 entry into effect of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), NASCO has sought out and backed Corridor-related initiatives to enhance border security, safety and the operational efficiency of the existing transportation infrastructure.

This is something that they nailed!

NAFTA’s reduction of import tariffs and trade barriers in North America powerfully stimulated trade that strengthened the economies of its partner nations.

However, this statement is rather controversial:
Rather than the great fears of NAFTA job losses of 1994, today, in the U.S. and in NASCO Corridor states, net job creation and net employment have grown to and stayed at or near historical highs. Since NAFTA took effect, total U.S. employment grew to 136 million, up from 112 million then, with U.S. unemployment dropping to today’s 4.5 percent of the work force (a five-year low), from 6.6 percent then out of work, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics for the period.

They fail to mention that the growth is in low paying jobs and the loss is in skilled high paying jobs!

NASCO uses the term "SuperCorridor" to demonstrate we are more than just a highway
coalition. NASCO works to develop key relationships along the EXISTING corridors we
represent to maximize economic development opportunities for all affected by the flows.
NASCO’s reach helps coordinate the development of technology integration projects, inland ports, environmental initiatives, university research, and the sharing of "best practices" across North America. NASCO’s forte is in spurring coordination of efforts by local, state and federal agencies and the private sector to integrate and secure a multimodal transportation system along the existing NASCO Corridor.As of late, there have been many media references to a "new, proposed NAFTA Superhighway.”

They have been really skilled at identifying "stakeholders", "change agents" and "opinion leaders" among local city and county elected officials and incorporating them into their organization. They also have encourged cities and universities to join and share in the financing of their lobby efforts.

Little consideration is given to the direct conflict of interest of the elected official serving on the NASCO board. Although he can no longer render "fair and impartial consideration to issues coming before the body he is county commission or city councils he /she is elected to, because as an officer or board member in NASCO, he has a stake in forwarding the goals and objectives of NASCO, he usually squeeks through because he is serving on the board of an organization which is supported financially by his city or county government!

While NASCO and the cities, counties, states and provinces along our existing Interstate Highways 35/29/94 (the NASCO Corridor) have referred for years to I-35 and key branches as 'the NAFTA Superhighway,' the reference solely acknowledged and recognized I-35’s major role in carrying a remarkable portion of international trade with Mexico, the United States and Canada. In actual fact, there are no plans to build “a new NAFTA Superhighway.” It already exists today as I-35 and branches.

They aren't referring to the citizen-taxpayer when they refer to "our people":

A decade ago, NAFTA captured the headlines of international trade. But today international trade is global trade. It requires even bolder and more aggressive efforts by our organization and our leaders to meet the challenges and to extract maximum economic benefit for our people from exploding global trade.

Here they list the players who are lined up to benefit from these massive infastructure private public partnerships:
For more than a decade, NASCO has encouraged the boldest thinking on adoption of trade processing systems, logistics systems and information technology. Eighty percent of NASCO members have 10 years of active service.

To me, this is the classic statement in their entire website:
The subject of trade and transportation is much too important to leave to the uninformed.

Seems like they are saying that taxpayers and citizens who object to their schemes are just too dumb to understand their big picture!

They continue:
Here are the REAL facts:
In the 21st century, the U.S economy increasingly runs on trade and our trade runs on
transportation. Trade and the transportation facilities that sustain it are tied together. Future economic growth and job creation in the U.S. require a constant effort to enhance our business climate, environment and transportation infrastructure to sustain our world-class leadership in world trade. NASCO’s aim is to continuously, diligently upgrade the efficiency and security of our transportation systems to sharply increase the efficiency of our transportation infrastructure on the Corridor to drive down the cost of doing business and enhance our ability to do international trade in the central U.S. Our future quality of life and prosperity depend upon ever-greater efficiencies and competitiveness enhancements in the heartland of North America.
In reality, greater moves toward oversight, inspection, regulation and enforcement of each of the three countries' national laws are leading to a strengthening of national sovereignty in each of the three countries.

Talk about stuff that could come out of the tail end of a far from constipated elephant! Do they really expect people to buy that???

They are clear about some of their objectives:
* NASCO advocates for balancing increased border security and trade and
transportation efficiency.
* NASCO exists to facilitate solutions to trade and transportation challenges and to
stimulate economic development, job creation and prosperity.
* NASCO is a nonprofit advocacy group, not a government agency. NASCO does not
set transportation policy, build highways or set up customs facilities.
* NASCO is not building or encouraging the creation of ‘a NAFTA Superhighway.’
I-35 and key crossing interstates already exist and have been described as ‘a
NAFTA Superhighway’ due to the loads they bear since the 1994 passage of
NAFTA. They require attention to support future growth and trade.
* NASCO does not encourage the elimination of international borders.
* NASCO does not focus on or have any intent to effect Federal immigration policy

Read more

Federal Legislation Overview:
For over ten years, NASCO has been developing a strong coalition of cities, counties, states, Canadian provinces, and private sector companies to lobby for federal funding and promote a "SuperCorridor" to address the transportation, trade and security needs of the three NAFTA nations.

We have succeeded in bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to the NASCO I-35 Corridor, resulting in High Priority Corridor status for I-35 in 1995 under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). In addition, we successfully lobbied for the creation of two new categories under the Transportation Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) – the National Corridor Planning & Development Program and the Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program.

They state:

The NASCO "SuperCorridor Caucus" was formed on Capitol Hill to promote corridor development and to help secure NASCO legislative initiatives in both the authorization and appropriation processes.

We continue to be recognized as the strongest International Trade Corridor Coalition on Capitol Hill, and we are the only Corridor Coalition with true international representation from the three NAFTA nations.

They actively:
Support for Multi-state International Corridor Development Program

North America's SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc. supports the Multi-state International Corridor Development Program in S. 1072

NASCO supports Sec. 1825, the Multi-state International Corridor Development Program, new language initiated by NASCO, authorized in 2004’s Senate passed version of S. 1072, the “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2004” and asks the House to consider supporting this language in their bill or to accept the language in conference.

They explain:
This program would develop international trade corridors to facilitate the movement of freight from international ports of entry and inland ports through and to the interior of the United States. NASCO supports the Senate language regarding selection criteria for corridors including:

Must have Significant levels or increases in truck and traffic volume relating to international freight movement [NASCO truck traffic has increased 42.6 percent from 1996 to 2001 ]

Connection to at least 1 International Terminus or inland port [NASCO has an international terminus in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo; Manitoba; and Windsor, Ontario and serves 3 inland ports including Detroit; Laredo and Pembina, N.D.]

Corridor must traverse at least three states;[NASCO traverses 11 states including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois ] and

Identified by Section 115 (c) of the Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-240; 105 Stat. 2032) [NASCO is High Priority Corridor #23]


NASCO supports the Senate proposed program because it would provide a solution to the over subscribed “Cor Bor” program by creating a separate, dedicated program for a small number of true international trade corridors that meet the proposed criteria. It would provide the opportunity for significant and targeted infrastructure improvements along these most important trade corridors resulting in tremendous economic benefits for communities along these corridors and for the nation as a whole.
However, the Senate passed language did not authorize funding for this program and without it this program cannot realize its potential. Therefore, NASCO respectfully requests that the provision be granted sufficient funding. In a 1996 study done for NASCO, it was estimated that the corridor needed $2 billion per year in infrastructure improvements over an 18-year period. NASCO supports as high a funding level as possible for the Multi-state International Corridor Development Program to operate as intended.

Read more

Conference in Fort Worth May 30-June 1, 2007 Hosted by NASCO, Tarrant County, City of Fort Worth and TxDot.

Board members of NASCO include NCTCOG RTC Chairwoman, Cynthia White of Denton County, City of Denton Mayor Pro Tem PETE KAMP, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, (NCTCOG Executive Board Member and leading member of the RTC), TxDOT Deputy Director Steven E. Simmons (who implements and manages TxDOT policies and programs), Dallas attorney Rider Scott, (who has also served as co-counsel to the Texas Attorney General on certain local highway condemnation projects under special arrangement), Blake Hastings (Executive Director for Free Trade Alliance San Antonio, a non-profit organization dedicated to making San Antonio a center of trade in the Americas), Alliance developer Russell Laughlin, Bell County Commissioner Tim Brown, and Coby Chase, Director, Government and Business Enterprises Division
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Coby's career highlights include steering TxDOT TxDOT’s participation in the 103rd through 109th sessions of the United States Congress and through the 74th through 79th sessions of the Texas Legislature (sessions where more of the Texas Transportation code was changed than had been enacted in 4 decades!). Coby Chase's resume continues: Succeeded in bringing new flexibility, better financing options, and strengthened funding formulas to the Texas transportation system in the federal Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Represented the state’s interests in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21), ensuring highway-user fees would be spent for transportation, and securing increased annual federal funding for Texas, and Worked during the 78th and 79th Session of the Texas Legislature to help deliver HB 3588 and HB 2702, which completely altered the methods used to deliver infrastructure in Texas and are national legislative models for the next generation of transportation development.

(House Bill 2588 and HB 2702 are referred to at the CDA/TTC enabling legislation).
Several other board members had ties with the Kansas City Smart Port and Kansas City de Mexico (NAFTA) Railroad.

For the complete list of board members and their resumes click here.

Are they effective? Definitely.
They have succeeded in getting state and federal transportation code changed to allow exercise of eminent domain for private development and profit. They have succeeded in getting "valuation" language inserted into key legislative initiatives. They have succeeded in infiltrating local and county governmental bodies who oversee RTCs with their board members. They have succeed in getting legislation passed in the Texas Legislature which transfers control of state highway funds from Legislative appropriations oversight to RTCs in the form of "surplus toll revenue" and toll road concession fees.
They have succeeded in eliminating many of the advantages to the public of toll projects.

They discuss passenger rail and traffic congestion but their focus is totally on moving freight. They work to achieve their object by siphoning off funding from commuter transportation projects and prioritizing freight moving corridors. They work to insure that private citizens pay the cost for developing improved transportation corridors for moving freight.

In the DFW area, many of the transportation projects are PILOT PROGRAMS breaking ground with public private partnerships, valuation, and utilization of special federal governmental tax free bond programs for private business entities (such as Cintra) who bid on and secure state highway toll contracts.

RTC Fails to Comply with Federal SAFTEA-LU Public Participation Law

Message sent to Cynthia White, Chair of the NCTCOG RTC on May 29, 2007 by Faith Chatham

Is the RTC deliberately attempting to minimize participation and to violate SAFTE-LU and its own Public Participation Plan? By scheduling only 3 hearings on Revisions to the TIP and Funding, RTC fails to implement its PPP. The RTC has betrayed the trust of the people by shutting most of the citizens of this area out from these hearings. Three sites in a 12,800 sq. mi. area is insufficient access for citizens from all over the region. It is appalling that transportation planners selected these times and sites!

Hearings after work should be scheduled on Transit Lines in both Dallas and Fort Worth. There should be well-publicized shuttle service from Centerport Trinity Rail to the NCTCOG office for the Arlington meeting. To "PROACTIVELY SEEK PUBLIC PARTICIPATION" you must communicate with the GENERAL PUBLIC Requiring the public to drive to adjoining counties for public hearings eliminates economically challenged and infirm people from the process.

There has been no coverage in the main stream media. Sending 6000 postcards (mainly to elected officials, planners and contractors) is insufficient to communicate with 6.5 million citizens. Burying meeting notices 3 tiers down on your website does not give public meetings visibility. To rectify this situation, I urge you to BLITZ the main stream media to publicize these hearings, announcing additional meeting sites and times. Tell the public HOW the TIP and FUNDING directly impacts them.

More sites and times are necessary to accommodate transportation deprived, handicapped, economically challenged and working citizens throughout the region. Failing to schedule meetings after work in Tarrant, Dallas and Denton counties is unacceptable!

Perry addresses secrete Bilderberg Conference in Turkey

He'll speak about federalism at elite global conference
By CHRISTY HOPPE - The Dallas Morning News - Thursday, May 31, 2007

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry is flying to Istanbul, Turkey, today to speak at the super-secret Bilderberg Conference, a meeting of about 130 international leaders in business, media and politics.

The invitation-only conference was started in 1954 and named for the Dutch hotel where the conference was first held. Those who attend promise not to reveal what was discussed, security is tight, and the press and public are barred.

The conference has been the subject of conspiracy theorists and even Christian groups who wonder about its influence.

Robert Black, the governor's press secretary, said the governor was invited to attend and speak about state-federal relations. Mr. Black dismissed the conspiracy theories.

"He's looking forward to learning the secret handshake," Mr. Black joked.

He said that Mr. Perry is paying for the trip and host hotel, usually among the top in the world, out of campaign contributions from his Texans for Rick Perry committee.

Previous speakers at the conference have included such GOP stalwarts as outgoing World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz and former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Last year, the conference was held in Ottawa, and the Toronto Star reported that it had received an unsigned press release saying that the 2006 group included David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Queen Beatrix of Holland, New York Gov. George Pataki, media moguls, high-level officials from Spain and Greece, and the heads of Coca-Cola, Credit Suisse and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Bilderberg chairman Etienne Davignon, a former Belgian diplomat, granted the British Broadcasting Corp. a rare interview two years ago in which he brushed aside myths surrounding the organization.

"When people say this is a secret government of the world, I say that if we were a secret government of the world, we should be bloody ashamed of ourselves," Mr. Davignon said.

Mr. Black said that the governor was going because he was invited. "He looks forward to talking to them about the system of federalism here in the United States," he said.

Read more

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Trinity Park or Trinity Toll Road - Get the Facts!

Trinity Vote wrote:
We love facts. Can't get enough of 'em. But our opponents? Not so much. Here, we set the record straight.

This is an extensive fact sheet. Only brief excerpts are shown here. Please see Trinity Vote for more.
Also, refer to RIGHT SIDE BAR: Specific Toll Projects - Trinity Parkway
When the roadway bond proposal was put to voters in 1998, the parkway was to be a 45-mph road with left-turn lanes allowing motorists to exit directly into the park. But the state, which was to foot most of the highway bill, said it couldn't tackle the project for at least a decade. So the city asked the tollway authority to consider building the road as a tollway."

--Dallas Morning News, Feb. 27, 2000

"Officials have proposed posting a 45-mph speed limit and banning trucks on the new road. They also have promised that the highway will have plenty of on- and off-ramps leading to parks along the river and nearby commercial areas."
--Dallas Morning News, May 13, 1998

The Trinity Parkway reliever route would comprise of an eight-lane split parkway...with a posted speed limit of 45 mph....The Trinity Parkway reliever route would be constructed a s lower speed parkway design rather than a freeway design, allowing left turn exits towards the river floodway...The parkway design would incorporate access locations directly from the parkway lanes into the adjacent park area, serving ingress and egress at several locations as determined by the City of Dallas.

--Texas Department of Transportation Major Transportation Investment Study,March 1998S

So it does sound like in 1998, the Trinity Parkway was planned "to be a low speed access road for the park."
But we're fascinated by the opposition's logic. According to them, the City knew all along the "parkway" was really going to be a high-speed toll road. Luckily for voters, opponents of the 1998 bond referendum (not the City, mind you) put ads in the DMN stating the "Parkway" was really a toll road. So, apparently referendum opponents are arguing that voters shouldn't have trusted what the City was saying about the toll road back in 1998. To get the truth, voters should have listened to the opponents. Sounds reasonable.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Angela Hunt calls D Magazine Publisher Wick Allison on Trinity

Angela Hunt Sends Wick Allison a Note; Smelled a Little Like Vanilla Maybe?
by Robert Wilonsky-The Dallas Observer - Tue May 29, 2007
On Friday, Jim Schutze had a little sumpin-sumpin to say about Wick Allison's D mag editorial in which Allison claims Angela Hunt's TrinityVote toll-road petition drive is nothing less than "a wrecking ball [aimed] at the largest public works project in Dallas history." ...
Hunt spent the end of last week debating the Trininty toll road with Trinity Commons Foundation's executive director Craig Holcomb; there's some video from the Thursday-night Belmont Neighborhood Association-sponsored shindig after the jump, and you can find plenty of it right here, courtesy Avi Adelman. This week, Hunt sets her sights on Allison as well: Yesterday on TrinityVote, she posted an open letter to Allison, in which she "humbly offer[s] to bring Mr. Allison up to speed on a few facts that he may wish to correct in his next editorial." Only there's nothing "humbly" about the letter, which is also after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky

An Open Letter to D Magazine's Wick Allison from Angela Hunt
Monday, May 28, 2007

If you picked up the June issue of D Magazine, you no doubt read the editorial by its publisher, Wick Allison, in which he claims that a public vote on moving the proposed Trinity toll road out of our Downtown Trinity Park "is to aim a wrecking ball at the largest public works project in Dallas history."

Now, we know a little bit about publishing. We are aware that it takes months of effort to put together a fancy, glossy magazine such as D. We understand that Mr. Allison likely wrote his editorial months ago, long before critical facts contradicting his assertions became public.

So we humbly offer to bring Mr. Allison up to speed on a few facts that he may wish to correct in his next editorial.

After years of embracing the Trinity toll road, Mr. Allison has finally acknowledged what TrinityVote has been saying all along: the planned toll road is a monstrosity, and we will end up with an ersatz North Dallas Tollway cutting through the last great expanse of nature in our city. Mr. Allison observes:

"I was driving back to the office the other day on the Dallas North Tollway after having listened to Angela Hunt speak against the design of the Trinity parkway. The speed limit on the Tollway is 55 mph, and I was doing 70. Looking at the six lanes of concrete over which I was speeding, it dawned on me that Hunt is right. The engineers want to build a Dallas North Tollway down the middle of the Trinity floodplain."

Mr. Allison is absolutely right on this point: The "Trinity Parkway," which was sold to voters in 1998 as a low-speed reliever route with direct park access, has become a high-speed toll road with no park access. Where Mr. Allison misses the mark is in his conclusion that the high-speed toll road "is not going to happen," and that with a little elbow grease, we'll get a terrific little park road. Mr. Allison is confident that we can fix this abomination if we all go back to the drawing board. He suggests we "lock the traffic engineers in a room and tell them not to come out until they have a parkway the entire city can embrace."

No doubt this method works splendidly at D Magazine's offices. However, in the context of designing the "Trinity Parkway," it will not. Mr. Allison seems certain that the toll road's high speed and lack of park access is somehow the fault of stubborn traffic engineers who simply refuse to sit down and discuss the design of this road. He seems to believe that if only these engineers had an eye for design, we'd have a lovely parkway.

But the fact is, engineers and designers have been planning this road for nine years. And after nearly a decade, they have been unable to resolve the fundamental conflict between a low-speed access road and a high-speed toll road: The North Texas Tollway Authority, the entity that will construct and operate the toll road, must generate tolls to pay for the road. To generate tolls, the NTTA needs lots of cars to travel on the toll road. To ensure a lot of cars travel on the toll road, the cars must go fast. So a low-speed route is out of the question. But what about direct park access? Unfortunately, that costs too much money and would slow down motorists, according to the NTTA's traffic engineers. All the good intentions in the world will not change these fundamental facts. Therefore, we’re stuck with a high speed toll road with no park access.

The toll road’s current plans did not result from the lack of a “context-sensitive” design, but from the NTTA’s practical need to generate tolls. The resulting design does not reflect the parkway voters approved in 1998. So why shouldn't we vote on this?

According to Mr. Allison, it would be unwise for Dallas residents to vote on the toll road because "The Trinity is the only place to build [the toll road]" and "The entire Trinity project is premised on the federal money the parkway attracts." We can only assume that Mr. Allison drafted his editorial before certain facts came to light and did not have time to make revisions before going to press. Unfortunately for Mr. Allison, with such a long lead-time, one risks looking foolish in the face of facts that are clearly contrary to one's assertions.

To Mr. Allison's claim that "The Trinity is the only place to build [the toll road]," we point out that the NTTA disagrees. They are currently investigating other locations for the toll road outside the levees: "An alignment outside of the levees is one of the alignments we are studying along with several alignments within the levee." (Kevin Feldt, NTTA Director of Project Planning and Development, on KERA radio May 16, 2007.)

Mr. Allison also states that "The entire Trinity project is premised on the federal money the parkway attracts. Without the parkway, the whole project could collapse." We find this claim curious, since U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson – who has been Dallas’ champion of the Trinity River Project – disabused referendum critics of that notion two weeks ago: "I'm never anti people doing a vote. It hasn't been voted on before. So I guess that's the right of people if that's what they want to do. There really is no impact because what we're doing through water resources [federal funding for levee improvements] is different than what is being discussed about the tollway."

As to Mr. Allison's claim that the petition will "aim a wrecking ball at the largest public works project in Dallas history," we are unclear as to his meaning. Surely he does not mean that the Trinity River Project would be delayed if we have a vote, since both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the NTTA recently have stated that is not the case:

Gene Rice, Trinity River Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: "The vote or the proposed vote, we don't think it wouldn't have a large impact on us as we have made some assumptions that keep moving along with our project."

Kevin Feldt, NTTA: "As far as the timing goes, the project is moving forward with or without the pending petition and pending election."

So we welcome and look forward to learning exactly what Mr. Allison means by his statement that TrinityVote’s petition effort will wreck the Trinity River Project. We would love to hear some specifics, rather than baseless rhetoric.

Mr. Allison concludes his editorial with the statement “Egocentrics make bad listeners and good populists. Because they won’t listen to facts, the facts never get in their way.

Read more and view Angela Hunt debunking the lies on You Tube.

Jim Schutze of Dallas Observer debunks Trinity Lies and biased DMN coverage

Do Lies Come with that Shake?
by Jim Schultz - The Dallas Observer Blog, Tue May 29, 2007

Colleen McCain Nelson was a crackerjack City Hall reporter for The Dallas Morning News before becoming an editorial writer. ..
Sorry, but to set this up, I have to recap. The News is a huge backer and partisan promoter of putting a big fat honking high-speed highway through the new park we’re trying to build along the river downtown. They’re terrified that their side, the road whores, will lose a proposed referendum on the road. So they’re trying to convince everybody that voting is a really, really bad thing that just makes trouble.

It’s not that they want us to vote in favor of the road. It’s that they do not want us to vote. Period.

So two weeks ago, under the shrieking headline “Tug too hard, and Trinity project could unravel,” The News told its readers that a referendum could cost the city, among other things, “more than $500 million in future federal funds, which will provide flood protection and a range of other improvements. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Pete Sessions have been effective advocates for the Trinity plan. But their work could be for naught if Congress senses dissension about the project.”

SCARY! If we vote, the Feds will punish us to the tune of half a billion dollars. And they’ll flood us! Oh, my gaaaaawd!

But then on May 17 on KERA-FM (90.1), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who represents the district where the Trinity project will be built and who chairs the House water resources subcommittee, said it wasn’t true: “I'm never anti people doing a vote,” she said. “It hasn't been voted on before. So I guess that's the right of people if that's what they want to do.”

She went on to state categorically that there will be no financial penalty if Dallas votes on the road, even if we vote the road down: “There really is no impact, because what we're doing through water resources is different than what is being discussed about the tollways."

To us and, I assume, to The News, Johnson’s office has been firm: This project is about flood control. The money for it is flood control money, not road money. In the post-Katrina era, Johnson cares about flood control. She doesn’t care where the road goes or if there even is a road. She’s not going to take away flood control money because of some spat over a road she doesn’t care about.

So for a week and a half, The News simply refused to cover her remarks, even though her remarks directly contradicted what the paper had been asserting in editorials and in its news columns -- especially the idea that the proposed road was somehow paying for the rest of the project.

It’s an absolutely absurd assertion. It’s the big lie. The road is sucking wind financially, it's enormously under-funded, and it's gobbling up resources from other parts of the project. Why? Because it’s a bad road. It’s not where it needs to be. It won’t generate enough traffic to pay its own way, either as a free public highway or as a toll road. As a toll road, it’s an even bigger loser than it would have been as a free road.

The statement that the road is going to pay for other elements of the plan is a lie. Johnson’s remarks illuminated that lie. The most important thing she said is that the money for the rest of the project is not linked to money for the road. You can kill the road dead tomorrow, and it won’t cost the rest of the project a nickel, and it won’t slow the rest of the project down a day
Read more


SH 121 - Funding:
The $200 million, 17 mile, SH 121 project is in the process of being funded. The funding for this project represents a collaborative effort by the affected cities (Grapevine, Coppell, Lewisville, Carrollton and The Colony) and Denton County to provide monies to support this project. The local funding provides monies to leverage additional State and Federal funding (through coordination with the North Texas Council of Governments and TxDOT) to bring this project to reality much sooner than originally planned. The funding mechanism also makes use of the State Infrastructure Bank which was created by federal legislation in the early 1990's for use in helping local agencies advance critical projects and implement them sooner than expected. Through these innovative financing techniques, the combined efforts of Denton County, the affected Cities, TxDOT and use of the State Infrastructure Bank have moved this project ahead of schedule by at least 10 years.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dallas County Residents - Didn't get to sign the Trinity Toll Road Petition - It's not too late

During the May 12th election, Dallas citizens many Dallas citizens signed petitions opposing the plans for the TRINITY TOLL ROAD. If you are a registered voter in Dallas County, you have opportunity to sign the petition. The cut-off date is June 29.

Trinity Vote, A Community Movement to Reclaim the Trinity River Project, includes simple instructions for citizens to collect signatures from their neighbors, co-workers, and relatives.

Instructions and all necessary materials are supplied on the Trinity Vote website.
Volunteers are urged to download the petition and collect signature. If you want to sign the petition but do not want to collect signatures, you can go by the Trinity Vote Office: Turley Law Center, Suite 100
(Central Expwy. at University Blvd.)
Sign the petition or get your petitions notarized!

Monday, May 28 - Sunday, June 3
Monday: Closed (Memorial Day Holiday)
Tuesday: 11am - 1pm
Wednesday: 3pm - 7pm
Thursday: 11am - 4:30pm
Friday: 11am - 1pm
Sunday: 9am - noon

Office of Ron Patterson - 814 W. Davis - Every Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm


The Trinity River Project has changed dramatically from the plan approved by Dallas voters in 1998. The magnificent urban park, complete with lakes and promenades, is nowhere to be seen. A high-speed, limited access toll road is planned to be built within what was supposed to be our Central Park.

The toll road is more than $600 million over budget. Due to safety concerns, it has recently been moved even farther into the park, further reducing parkland and lakes.

Given these significant changes, we believe Dallas voters deserve the opportunity to vote on whether we want a toll road in the Downtown Trinity Park.

We are TrinityVote, a broad-based coalition of Dallas residents who believe that our Trinity River Project is off-course and needs to get back on track.

Our coalition includes neighborhood residents, developers, environmentalists, urban planners, architects, and others who believe that putting a toll road in our park will irreparably destroy the opportunity to create an incredible signature park on the edge of Downtown Dallas.

Join us. Help us reclaim the Trinity River Project.
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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Who held the line in the Texas House against Perry's demands

Who held the line in the House and didn't cave to Perry
By Faith Chatham
These are the House Members who refused to accept a butchered moratorium bill. Without Amendment 13 guaranteeing that the TTC stayed in the moratorium, there was no point in passing the bill. With Perry's demands that MARKET VALUATION be applied to Texas Transportation projects, SB 792 had more disadvantages to the public than advantages. These Representatives stood firm against Perry and refused to vote to pass SB 792.

14 Democrats and 5 Republicans held the line.

From the NCTCOG - DFW area 6 voted against Perry's Market Valuation Scheme
DFW NT Region - 2 Dems + 3 Republican

Burnham (DFW REGION - Fort Worth)
Veasey (DW REGION - Fort Worth

Miller (DFW REGION - Stephenville)
Paxton (DFW REGION - McKinney)
Laubenbert (DFW REGION - Rockwall)

In the ALAMO COG Region 8 voted against Perry's market valuation scheme:
San Antonio Alamo Region - 7 Dems plus 1 Republican

Castro (San Antonio)
Puente (San Antonio)
Villarreal (San Antonio)
Martinez-Fischer (San Antonio)
McClendon (San Antonio)
Leibowitz (San Antonio)

Straus (San Antonio)
Macias (Bulvedere - Comal - Kendall Counties)

In the CAPITOL COG - AUSTIN REGION 1 voted against Perry's Market Valuation scheme.
1 Democrat - No Republicans

Farias (Austin)

In the HOUSTON-GALVESTON COG Area 4 voted against Perry's Market Valuation scheme
Houston - 4 Dems no Republicans

Coleman (Houston)
Farrar (Houston)
Hernandez (Houston)
Thompson (Houston)

In the East Texas COG Area 1 voted against Perry's Market Valuation scheme.
1 Democrat No Repubicans

Frost (ET - New Boston) - a Democrat in a highly Republican district

The above analysis is based on UNCERTIFIED VOTE of the House on approval of the Senate/House conference committee version of SB 792. Senate final vote has not been posted. When certified returns are posted this will be revised to reflect any changes.

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Content is being archived weekly. Many pertinent articles regarding Transportation in the DFW Region are in the archives.

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. - Thomas Jefferson

The Opnions On this Site are Diverse

DFW Regional Concerned Citizens attempts to examine issues from all directions. When a story says "By Faith Chatham" it contains my viewpoint. When it is by others, but posted by Faith Chatham, it is from someone else's viewpoint. When I discover contents which is on topic for this site, I frequently link to other sites. Usually those sites contain content which differs from my viewpoint (and frequently that of other members of DFW-RCC).