Rick Perry calls his pet project “dead”. But it’s not a dead issue to the Texans whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by his power play.i Although it’s largely been kept under the radar, portions of the project are still alive and well, and plans are underway at this very moment.

As of today, there’s nothing preventing Perry from using our tax dollars to revive portions of the project and ramp up constructionii – something he’s sure to do after he’s reelected.

Our land, homes, and family farms just aren’t safe with Rick Perry as Governor.

The Sordid Details of the Trans Texas Corridor Scandal

In early 2002, without warning the Texas Legislature or getting permission from the citizens of Texas, Rick Perry unveiled what he called the Trans-Texas Corridor, his own personal vision of a giant network of massive roads criss-crossing the state.iii The centerpiece of his plan was the Texas portion of the NAFTA Superhighway – TTC 35. However, Perry’s perverse vision would a nightmare for landowners all across the state.

The huge government land-grab would have paved over 2,400 square miles of prime, productive farmland and displaced a million Texans from their homes and businesses.iv

The project was rife with corruption from the beginning:

  • Perry signed the law allowing free roads to be converted into toll roads.v
  • A former top aide to Perry lobbied for the Spanish consortium – led by CintraConcesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. – that won the lucrative contract to build the first segment.vi
  • Even losing bidders got a government payout, totaling millions in wasted taxpayer dollars. vii
  • Companies who stood to profit contributed over a million dollars to Rick Perry.viii

Citizens of all political persuasions were outraged by this government overreach.ix

The legislature tried twice to stop the TTC boondoggle.

First they passed overwhelmingly a moratorium ending the Trans-Texas Corridor. But Perry vetoed that bill, and he refused to sign the law until he succeeded in forcing lawmakers to slip in exceptions to some of his pet projects – including an exception to allow construction for parts of the Trans-Texas Corridor.x,xi

Then the legislature tried to protect families with a bill preventing eminent domain abuse. The bill would have placed limitations on the government from taking private property for the gain of another private party. Although lawmakers passed these protections overwhelmingly with the support of land and homeowners across the state, Perry vetoed the law.xii

Rick Perry has introduced this threat to Texas families. And he’s allowing the threat of the TTC to live on.

It’s high time Texans tell Rick Perry, “Rick, keep your hands off our land.”

i The centerpiece of the plan, TTC-35, has been truly declared dead, as explained in this Jan. 18, 2010 Politifact Texas piece. (http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2010/jan/18/rick-perry/perry-campaign-says-blog-trans-texas-corridor-dead/) But segments outlined in the original conceptual plan continue to be built, such as I-69 and SH 130.

ii Transportation Code, Chap. 227, Trans-Texas Corridor. http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TN/htm/TN.227.htm

iii “Crossroads of the Americas: Trans-Texas Corridor” http://www.scribd.com/doc/35685365?secret_password=28d3siu6f92uosyo085

iv “Proposed toll road could displace 1 million residents; Report shows $6 billion project would cover 2,400 square miles of prime farm land.” Associated Press, April 5, 2006. http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2006_4092474

v “KruseeTo Leave At End Of Term.” Austin American-Statesman, 11/28/07. http://www.scribd.com/doc/35685366?secret_password=6u79fstpgly02d2ifl9

vi “Trans-Texas Firm Hires Ex-Perry Aide.” The Dallas Morning News, 8/18/06. http://www.scribd.com/doc/35685367?secret_password=voxm2m0j7bkcub1uh2k

vii “The Highwaymen:Even the losers win as Texas rushes to privatize its roads.” The Texas Observer, Dec. 15, 2006. http://www.texasobserver.org/archives/item/14962-2365-the-highwaymen-even-the-losers-win-as-texas-rushes-to-privatize-its-roads

viii Losing and winning bidders contributions: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0At-rSDaqOzMEdGdYM1pXWjFaSC1xQThNOF9qbXpSdHc&hl=en&authkey=CIOBxLoL

ix “Public Meetings Air Worries About Giant Texas Highway Project.” The Associated Press, 1/17/08. http://www.kilgorenewsherald.com/news/2008-01-18/news/014.html.

x “With replacement in limbo, Perry vetoes toll bill.” Austin American-Statesman, May 19, 2007.

xi Enrolled bill summary, SB 792. http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/BillSummary.aspx?LegSess=80R&Bill=SB792

xii “Perry veto leaves state’s property owners exposed: Eminent domain would’ve been scrutinized under bill.” Rep. Beverly Wooley, Houston Chronicle, June 18, 2007. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/4900355.html