It was Amadeo Saenz, the executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, who not quite two years ago, proclaimed to the Dallas Morning News, “Make no mistake: The Trans-Texas Corridor, as we have known it, no longer exists.”
But it’s been exhumed, now appearing on numerous government and industry alliance websites as the new and separate projects that are known as the I-35 Corridor and the I-69 Corridor.
Moreover, the Texas agency appears to have made a strategic decision to begin first with the I-69 Corridor portion that had received less attention during the battle that raged over the mega-highway project called the Trans-Texas Corridor from 2006 to 2008 when George W. Bush was president.
That the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Obama administration continues to harbor the dream of Mexico-to-Canada NAFTA superhighways is made clear by the Federal Highway Administration website that proclaims the “Corridor: Interstate 69 (I-69) – Texas to Michigan” is to be fully operational under the following project description: “The 2,680-mile international and interstate trade corridor extends from Mexico to Canada.”
The DOT even proclaims the I-69 Corridor under the original understanding of the TTC as an inter-modal automobile-truck-railroad corridor:
“This application [I-69 Corridor] includes freight and passenger movement through a portion of the country that is experiencing both demographic and freight movement growth. The current infrastructure from Texas to Michigan already handles a large flow of goods and this corridor has the potential to shift cargo patterns to relieve existing and projected congestion along existing routes (e.g., I-40, I-65, I-81). This corridor has already been identified by Congress as a high priority corridor, is one of the farthest along in clearly defining its project list, and has the political support of all the states involved.”
The Federal Highway Administration further says many of the states have done developmental work and there are 32 separate segments, “all of which are in varying stages of development from acquisition of right-of-way to environmental review and design.”
A screen capture of the Federal Highway Administration discussion of the I-69 Corridor
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s main website also affirms plans to proceed with the I-69 Corridor, describing under the headline of “Interstate 69 (I-69) Corridor – Texas,” that:
“The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) is a proposed multi-use, statewide network of transportation routes that will incorporate both existing and new highways, railways, and utility right-of-ways. The Interstate 69 corridor is one of the first elements of the TTC to be developed. The proposed I-69/TTC corridor extends from Texarkana/Shreveport to Mexico, a distance of approximately 650 miles.”
Here is a screen capture of the relevant U.S. DOT website
A notice in the Fort Bend Star for a planned I-69 Corridor presentation makes clear that the dream of a Mexico-to-Canada NAFTA superhighway being built through Texas remains live and well.
A report discussing a planned presentation by Fort Bend County Judge Robert Herbert scheduled for the December 15 meeting of the Infrastructure Department of the Central Fort Bend Chamber Alliance notes that, “Once constructed, under present plans, the I-69 Corridor will create a transportation artery from Canada to Mexico crossing through southern Texas and eastern Michigan.”
A screen capture of the Ford Bend announcement
The Fort Bend Star makes clear that the I-69 Corridor in its full Mexico-to-Canada dimensions has been divided into 32 segments of Independent Utilities, of which 16 are in Texas.
Still, wanting to distance the I-69 Corridor from the TTC designation, the article notes, “Now separated from the controversial ‘Trans Texas Corridor’ that kept it in Limbo for a few years, I-69 seems imminent for Texas.”
The TxDOT website provides further confirmation that rather than end altogether the TTC agenda, the agency simply has rebranded the project to include the I-35 Corridor and the I-69 Corridor, with the tactic of further dividing each project into segments, organized around multiple SIUs, with the plan to form Citizens’ Advisory Committees for each corridor segment.
A map on the TxDOT website illustrates how the I-69 segments operate geographically to divide Texas into discrete SIUs from the border with Mexico, running along the Gulf coast, to the northern tip of the Texas border where Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana converge:
At the same time, TxDOT appears to have removed the former TTC website, KeepTexasMoving.com, a step evidently taken by TxDOT to re-enforce the impression the TTC project is dead.
A website created by a trade group organized under the name “Alliance for I-69 Texas” provides a map that details the Texas cities are involved in the I-69 Corridor project:
The Alliance for I-69 Texas website makes clear that I-69 is a combination of two federally designated High Priority Corridors: (a) Corridor 18, extending from Michigan and Illinois, south through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, terminating at the end of U.S. 77 and U.S. 281 in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and (b) Corridor 20, designated as U.S. 59, from Texarkana to Laredo.
The website further points out that the I-69 border crossing points from Laredo to Brownsville, Texas, handle 49 percent of the total U.S. truck-borne trade with Mexico.
In January 2009, WND’s Red Alert newsletter warned that Texas Gov. Rick Perry was attempting to engage in a public relations effort to distance TxDOT from the TTC project, while continuing to include on the TxDOT website detailed discussions of TTC-35 and I-69/TTC projects.
As WND has been reporting since 2006, the original Trans-Texas Corridor project was launched by TxDOT as a 4,000-mile network of four NAFTA superhighway consisting of automobile-truck-railroad corridors that TxDOT planned to build over a 50-year period.
The original TTC designed called for TTC-35 to be built as a 1,200-foot-wide corridor of new highways, designed to run parallel to the existing I-35 and to include separate north-south lanes for automobiles, trucks and trains, with included pipelines for oil, water and natural gas.