Changes For Texas TransCorridor

The protests of small town Texas residents have apparently paid off as the Texas Department of Transportation has announced it will not build the I-69 TransCorridor in rural areas north and west of Houston. Bill Stamps has the story.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst says Texas is the fasted growing state in the country. And because of that we face enormous challenges when it comes to transportation. But he says building a toll road in less populated areas is not the answer.

“We need more roads built. But the truth is you can’t build toll roads in rural Texas, there’s just not enough traffic. That’s why the legislature has to be committed and we are, I am, to put the funds in that are necessary to build literally tens of thousands of new lane miles through the state of Texas.”

The new plan is to widen the 59 with toll lanes, but TxDOT’s Steve Simmons says there’s no need for Houston residents to worry.

“We wanna make it clear that the only tolling would be on new lanes that were added, so if you take 59 you’ll till have four lanes of free capacity, and possibly even more. So only the added capacity lanes would be tolled.”

Dewhurst says the announcement is a victory for small town residents. He personally drove through areas that would be affected by the new highway and believes transportation officials decision to add on to the 59 is right one.

“Almost every house or ranch had on the front gate a sign that said no trespassing by TxDOT. And so by saying that we’re not going to build I-69. We’re going to do the same thing by adding lane miles to 59. I think the local people think that this is a real success.”

Dewhurst says transportation officials need to act fast, because more than 1400 people are moving into Texas every day. Bill Stamps, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.